John Basson Humffray

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John Basson Humffray
Born (1824-04-17)17 April 1824
Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Died 18 March 1891(1891-03-18) (aged 66)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Known for Leader of the Ballarat Reform League, defender of those arrested at the Eureka Stockade and Politician

John Basson Humffray (17 April 1824 – 18 March 1891)[1] was born in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales and became active in the Chartist movement before migrating to Victoria, Australia in 1853, arriving in Ballarat in November that year.

From rural Wales to Australia[edit]

At the meeting of over 10,000 diggers at Bakery Hill on Saturday, 11 November 1854, Humffray was elected secretary of the Ballarat Reform League. He was a member of the three person delegation which met with Governor Hotham in Melbourne on Monday, 27 November 1854. The miners' demands for economic and political reforms were rejected. After a particularly vicious licence hunt, a meeting of the Ballarat Reform League was held on Thursday, 30 November 1854 in which the miners rejected those such as Humffray who advocated "moral force" and embarked on the "physical force" route by electing Peter Lalor and deciding to meet force with force and build the Eureka Stockade.

Humffray was not part of the rebellion but played the role of peacemaker in the lead up to the battle on 3 December 1854. He represented the interests of aggrieved diggers at the Commission of Enquiry into the discontent on the goldfields.[2] Humffray was a vocal defender of the 13 miners who were charged with High Treason for their role in the rebellion. He was the editor of the short-lived Ballarat Leader, first president of the Ballarat Mechanics' Institute; and passed first-year law, University of Melbourne (1860). Humffray was an Anglican and died a pauper on 18 March 1891.[2]

Political career[edit]

When the miners were granted the right to vote and representation in 1855 Humffray was elected unopposed as the member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Ballaarat (1855-1856); then Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for North Grant (1856-1859)[1] then Ballarat East (1859-1871).[1] He served as Minister for Mines (November 1860 to November 1861) and Chairman of the Royal Commission on Mining (1862).[1]


Humffray Street, one of the main roads leading into Ballarat was named after him sometime prior to 1858.[3]

He was buried in the Old Ballarat Cemetery near those who had died in the Eureka rebellion, a headstone was erected by the people of Ballarat.[2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Humffray, John Basson". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Corfield, Justin; Wickham, Dorothy; & Gervasoni, Clare, Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004, pg 281
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Council
New creation Member for Ballaarat
Served alongside: Peter Lalor
Original Council abolished
Victorian Legislative Assembly
New creation Member for North Grant
District abolished
New creation Member for Ballarat East
Served alongside: John Cathie
Succeeded by
Charles Jones
Preceded by
Charles Jones
Member for Ballarat East
Served alongside: Charles Dyte
Succeeded by
John James