John Basson Humffray

Many of us have travelled down Humffray Street in Brown Hill, but how many of us know about the man behind the name?

John Basson Humffray was born in Newtown, Wales, in 1824. He travelled to Australia in 1853, leaving behind his practice as a solicitor to chase the dream of finding gold.

He began making history in 1854 by making public speeches on behalf of the Ballarat Reform League about the political system in Ballarat and Victoria at the time. This time was pretty terrible for the diggers on the local goldfields because most of them couldn’t afford regular necessities, let alone paying for a mining licence. John Humffray wanted the diggers to be recognised and represented in government.

In the Eureka Rebellion, Humffray chose not to involve himself in the fighting but rather to represent the diggers later. After the rebellion, he was elected to represent electorates in and around Ballarat. In 1860, he was selected as the Minister for Mines.

Humffray represented Ballarat proudly for many years, but after a long time he lost his money and died in 1891.

For images and more information, visit

Amelia Strait, Woodmans Hill, a campus of Ballarat Secondary College

First published in Edition 7 of the Brown Hill Newsletter, June 2017.