Peter Finta Lalor (5 February 1827 – 9 February 1889) was the leader of the Eureka Stockade rebellion, one of Australia's few armed uprisings and often characterised controversially as the "birth of democracy" in Australia.
Lalor led the miners' opposition to the incompetent and often brutal administration of the goldfields, and was elected to lead the men of the stockade, in which he was wounded and, ultimately, had his arm amputated. A warrant for Lalor's arrest for sedition was initially sought, but he was taken from Ballarat and hidden in Young Queen Hotel of South Geelong by supporters until juries had found a number of other miners involved in the stockade not guilty of sedition in May and June 1855. The warrant for his arrest was withdrawn.
Lalor was described in the reward notice issued in 1854 as being:
Legislation was passed to give miners a the right to vote; a new form of licensing of Miners Rights costing £2 per year later reduced to £1. The monthly gold tax was abolished. All miners, the three of Bentley's Eureka Hotel fire and the 114 of the Eureka Stockade Ballarat were set free including Peter Lalor, now an amputee who had been in hiding at his fiancée's Geelong home.
The enormous political changes after the Eureka Stockade saw Lalor appointed to the Victorian parliament's Legislative Council in 1855. In 1856, under the new, more democratic constitution (featuring near-universal non Aboriginal, non female suffrage) Lalor was elected to the Legislative Assembly (lower house) seat of North Grenville (Ballarat West) and in 1859 he transferred to the seat of South Grant, which he was to hold for the rest of his life.
He was postmaster-general (August to October 1875) and minister for trade and customs (May 1877 until March 1880) both positions in the ministry of Sir Graham Berry from 1877 to 1879, and chairman of committees.
As successor to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, his most effective political post was probably that of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, a post he held from 1880 until 1887 until illness forced his retirement; he was awarded a retiring pension of 4,000 pounds by parliament.
Alicia Dunne living in Geelong with her parents, her uncle was Father Patrick Dunne who was chaplain of Pentridge Mission (now known as Coburg) and was moved to Geelong in 1853, she moved with him to become a teacher at St. Mary’s School. Peter Lalor's fiancée since June 1854 they married on 10 July 1855 in Geelong. On 5 May 1855 they both returned to Ballarat to bid for land on sale. Their first child was their daughter Annie born in Prahran in 1856 and their son Joseph was born at Sandridge on 18 December 1857 (Sandridge is now Port Melbourne). Annie married Thomas Lempriere in 1882 and died in 1885 of pulmonary phthisis aged 29 years, buried in the Lalor Grave at New Melbourne Cemetery; Joseph became Dr Lalor and married Agnes McCormick of Dublin, Ireland.
After a short illness, expected to be terminal by the application of Catholic anointings, Alicia died on 17 May 1887 aged 55 years. After Ann's death, Lalor took leave from Parliament to travel to San Francisco. He died 18 months later at his son's home on 9 February 1889 aged 62 years.
The northern Melbourne suburb of Lalor is named for him, as is a federal electorate, the Division of Lalor, and Lalor House in Richmond where he lived. There is also a secondary school called the Peter Lalor Secondary College in Melbourne.
His grandson, Captain Joseph Peter Lalor born 12 August 1884 at Richmond, Melbourne carried the sword of his grandfather into the Battle of Gallipoli, Turkey on Sunday 25 April 1915; he died that day aged 30 years,. He was survived by his wife Hester née Loughrey of Hawthorn.
Lalor was the author of the oath of allegiance used by the miners at the Eureka Stockade which he swore to their affirmation.
"We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties"
A reward was placed on Lalor's head for creating an uprising among the diggers at Ballarat against the police and the licence to mine and the fee that came with it.
The diggers made a stockade that was stormed by the police, and they killed up to thirty or more diggers and taking over one hundred prisoners.
Additional sources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography: