They Swore an Oath beneath the Southern Cross
The Battle at the Eureka Stockade was the most significant conflict in Australian colonial history.
There had been other small and scattered rebellions, but the gold diggers of Ballarat shaped the character of the country, particularly in Victoria.
I'm proud to be a descendant of two men who embraced the Spirit of the Stockade.
Australian Democracy was born at Eureka
The Eureka rebellion, was a key event in the development of Australian democracy and Australian identity. Our principles of mateship began here, and the term 'digger' was later adopted by the ANZAC soldiers in World War I.
The miners on the goldfield, known as diggers, opposed the taxation on gold licenses, but they had wider-reaching demands of political reform.
Want to know more? You can read the History of the Eureka Rebellion
Swearing Allegiance by the Southern Cross
They Swore an Oath
On Saturday, 11 November 1854 a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 miners gathered at Bakery Hill, directly opposite the government encampment. Many of the miners had been involvement in the Chartist movement and the social upheavals in Britain, Ireland, and continental Europe during the 1840s
In setting its goals, the Ballarat Reform League used the British Chartist movement's principles and passed a resolution
"that it is the inalienable right of every citizen to have a voice in making the laws he is called on to obey, that taxation without representation is tyranny".
The meeting also resolved to secede from Britain if the situation did not improve.
Oath of Eureka
We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and to defend our rights and liberties
My Connection to Eureka
My great grandmother, Mary Irwin, lived a long life. I knew her well.
Not many of us are fortunate to know our great grandmothers, sometimes even their names are forgotten, but I knew Mary until I was a month short of my tenth birthday. I spent a lot of time with her and she regaled me with stories of her childhood in the 19th century, fascinating tales of a past almost beyond my imagining.
She told me of her father, a rebel from the Stockade, and of her husband's father, a publican in Ballarat and a supporter of Eureka..
It was Mary, my great grandmother, who impressed upon me the importance of that oath.
Song for Eureka
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