The incident known as the 'Eureka Rebellion', and the stockade where
some 150 poorly equipped and ill-trained miners stood their ground against representatives of a
corrupt and greedy system, is now a major part of Australia's history.
In 1854 a group of disenchanted Ballarat miners defended their rights
and liberties from the scant protection of a log stockade on Eureka Hill. They
were protesting against oppressive methods of Gold License fee collection, corruption
among goldfields officials, and the brutality and cursory attitude of troopers
enforcing the laws. Their dawn stand against troopers, police and cavalry resulted
in the deaths of 22 miners and 6 soldiers, and the taking of 114 prisoners,
on the 3rd. Dec. 1854.
Details of this historic event will be found at many places around
Ballarat. The Eureka Stockade Centre in the park at the site in Eureka Sts. details the events
and the battle.
The Eureka Memorial and Park, near where the events occured, features
a coin-in-slot diorama and dialogue about the uprising. In the Ballaarat Fine
Art Gallery, in Lydiard St. the remains of the Eureka Flag, depicting the Southern
Cross, now hangs in its own gallery. At the old cemetery on Creswick Rd, a monument
erected in 1856 remembers the fallen miners, and nearby, another in honour of
the soldiers who lost their lives.
The Sovereign Hill Historic Park operates a laser-light show
of an evening 'Blood on the Southern Cross', which takes the audience through
a realistic re-enactment of the whole series of events which have become known
as the 'Eureka Rebellion', Australia's only organised rebellion against authority
in its 200 year history.
An excellent brochure 'Eureka Ballarat' explains the events leading
up to the rebellion in detail and is available free from tourism operators and
most of the accommodation houses in Ballarat. Maps in this guide will pin-point
the major places of interest to visit, including the actual stockade, about
300 metres along Eureka St. towards the city, from Eureka Park.
A major interpretive Centre will be found in the Eureka Park.
by Pete Wilkins.