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Cusack, Martin (1827–1912)

from Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld)

Martin Cusack, who was the last of the 40th Regiment that was engaged in 1854 in the fight with the early diggers of the Eureka Stockade, died in the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum last week.

In the attack on the stockade in the early morning the 40th Regiment was assisted by two companies of the 12th Regiment, which was on service in Australia, while both bodies received the support of a number of naval men lying in Hobson's Bay. Cusack, who was 85 years of age, was of opinion that the revolt was a great mistake, and was not justified. Cusack, in conversation with a representative of the Age some days ago, said:...

"We of the 40th Regiment marched against our will. The Ballarat diggers, we knew, were our own kith and kin, and we felt it would be a poor hour of day if we were ordered to fire at them. Many of us prayed during our march through the bush that the men of the Eureka would see that there could possibly be no hope for them in a battle with well-trained Imperial soldiers, such as the 12th and 40th Regiments. Their brush with us was a forlorn hope, and we all wished to avoid meeting them. We quietly agreed among ourselves that if we had to shoot we would fire high as I have said, were our own kith and in order to frighten the diggers, who were kin from England, Ireland, Scotland, and America. Just as we were marching on Ballarat, however, a thing occurred that greatly exasperated the soldiers. We were marching in fours near the Red Hill, when a digger (a coloured man) stepped out of his tent, and picking up a quartz boulder he threw it at our flank, killing our little drummer boy. When the poor little fellow collapsed and rolled over his drum, we all swore we would revenge his death by showing no quarter in fair battle.

The veteran, who enlisted in the 40th Regiment, in Ireland in 1850, had been confined to his bed in the Benevolent Asylum for seventeen years.

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Citation details

'Cusack, Martin (1827–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cusack-martin-1410/text1796, accessed 21 October 2019.

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