Signor Carboni Raffaelo writes funny [& true!] anecdotes, the progress of history, some mediocre poetry, and an ability to communicate his own passion. To sketch out the events in the book loosely; it begins with Raffaelo’s visit to Australia, his discovery of several ounces of gold, then his gradual engagement with local affairs. He & his fellow gold-diggers are repressed by a licence scheme, there is a murder-later revenged by vigilantes, fire, (mild) abuse of clergy, and the climax is a bloody rebellion against the colonial government (which at the time was terrified of democratic revolution), finally trails off with his trial and departure to Rome.
My own impression was of his own sincere belief in a Christian God, his belief in equality beyond race or religion (although scarcely mentions Australian Aboriginals), his awareness of world affairs (such as Field Marshall Lieutenant Haynau) and of a sense of alienation from the colonial world. He was a visitor, not any type of colonist. His trial, which I believe to be directly transcribed, has shockingly bizarre & absolutely hilarious speeches.
Signor Raffaelo records various Australian lingo, some now fallen out of pop. use, and peppers his book frequently with, “Great-Works!”. “Spy Goodenough”, occurs frequently and took me quite a while to grasp. It was rewarding to expand my awareness about national caricatures-‘John Bull’; his pleasure in flames, and so deeply attached to commerce.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in Australia, this event even now carries social momentum (in the form of the Eureka Flag).