Patrick Carroll

This Irishman, Paddy, Carroll, unwittingly helped shape the course of Australia’s history.

Patrick Carroll was a simple workman. Born in 1816 at Castleconnell, County Limerick, Ireland. He arrived here in 1842 with his wife Margaret and son John, aged 22 months. That same year their second son, Michael was born.

Patrick at first worked as a Government labourer, helping build the Yarra Street pier among other projects. In 1853 his wife died from a stroke.

Patrick remarried to Catherine Mullins, and with his two sons, started a courier business, ferrying supplies to and from the Ballarat goldfields.

That was how, in 1854, he saw the battle at the Eureka Stockade where many diggers and some soldiers were killed and Peter Lalor, the rebel leader, was wounded.

It was Patrick and his son Michael who drove the dray that took the hidden Peter Lalor from the stockade to safety in Geelong, under the noses of the British Redcoat soldiers, and despite there being a £400 ransom on his head. This was a fortune at that time.

Peter Lalor was later pardoned, became a politician and that Eureka Stockade uprising is now recognised at the beginning of Australia’s democracy. And at one point it was all down to the loyalty of an ordinary Irish workman. Paddy Carroll now lies quietly with his wife in an insignificant grave in our cemetery.

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