In 1854, the Eureka Rebellion by gold prospectors in Victoria protesting against extortionate taxes and mining licence fees, was ruthlessly suppressed by British troops. However, the British government was shaken from its complacency and reluctantly recognized the need for devolved powers. The Colony of Victoria Act (1855) granted representative government, with similar concessions effected in Tasmania, where a two-chamber parliament held its first sitting in 1856. In the same year, South Australia became one of the earliest pioneers of secret ballots. Economic progress was not confined to the south: the first wool was shipped from Moreton Bay near Brisbane in Queensland in 1851, and by 1859, it was sufficiently prosperous to be granted independent colonial status. However, Western Australia still lagged economically, and a petition (1859) for its own measure of self-government was declined. Originally a free settlement, the remote Western colony became the new favoured destination for penal transports.
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