Eureka rebellion anniversary

The Eureka rebellion was a revolt against excessive taxation, corrupt officials, and a lack of individual rights – and forms a significant part of the cultural and political heritage of Australia.

With the advent of widespread gold discoveries, people flocked to the goldfields to seek their fortunes. However, the government placed an unfair and heavy tax upon both the miners and goldfield shopkeepers; on top of this, there was corruption amongst local officials and the goldfields police (which included many ex-convicts). Being subject to corruption and government heavy-handedness produced a lot of frustration and anger amongst the miners.

The culmination of these troubles was the creation of the Eureka Stockade, which was overrun by police and military troops on the morning of the 3rd of December 1854.

As with so many uprisings, there were wrongs committed by both sides. However, the cause of the rebellious miners was seen as just by the majority of the public and all of the miners charged and brought to court were acquitted, following trial by jury.

Peter Lalor, the leader of the miners, even went on to become the Speaker of the Victorian parliament. From being the most wanted man in the colony, he became one of its most important politicians – a transition which was perhaps the ultimate expression of democratic freedom and the rights of individuals to participate in democracy in Australia.

To be even-handed, we must respect the courage and devotion to duty shown by the police and troops that lawfully did their duty in quelling the Eureka rebellion. After all, what would have happened if the miners were left to run rampant? Already, the miners were “requisitioning” supplies by force. What would have been the final outcome if they had not been reined in on that day? A state of semi-anarchy, the building of a much larger rebel force, and several battles that might have ensued?

But this does not diminish the value of what the rebel miners achieved. What Australia gained from this episode was a deepening support for popular democracy, a hardening against government interference, and a greater respect for the rights of individuals.

The anniversary of the Eureka rebellion is a good and timely reminder that freedoms are not granted; they have to be fought for – a lesson which it seems today’s Australians generally fail to appreciate. Our individual democratic rights are slowly being eroded bit by bit, drip-by-drip, by anti-freedom laws and “nanny state” legislation; whilst we are over-taxed everywhere we go; and corrupt governments and officials subvert our electoral laws and other pillars of our democracy.

A dark and terrible storm may yet bring good in its wake – and on this day we remember the miners of Eureka, for their courage in demanding their rights and helping to strengthen the future of democracy in Australia. We hope that today’s Australians will have their courage in the face of the current anti-national establishment and mainstream media, in the modern-day fight for our rights and freedoms.

Comments

  1. After reading some of the aforegoing comments, which I disagree with but can understand, it's most unfortunate the way Jim Saleam and his ilk have hijacked and tainted the Eureka flag.

    • Eureka doesn't resonate with our people like, say, the Anzac tradition does.

      We need get over the Eureka stockade and stop trying to give it a credibility and standing it doesn't enjoy.

  2. David Jordan says

    I cant believe some of the crap I read here. We live in a country where our Govt is so corrupt it leaves the African countrys way behind. Who gives a s*** if you dont like the Eureka Stockade flag, WAIT to see what happens to our flag and country when we keep allowing more aslamic, islamics, towel heads into this country. We all as Australians should be taking up arms against the Govt and any one else that tries to stop the way we used to live.

    • The Realist says

      Your call for an armed uprising is 1) not practical, 2) unlawful, and 3) not very bright to be doing it in a public forum where you can easily be tracked down.

      1) An armed uprising is not practical because Australia is too large, the population too scattered, the citizens have been widely disarmed, and any revolutionary army would require massive amounts of logistic support, communications equiptment, money, and supplies. Where are these going to come from? The support base of hungry downtrodden people needed for a rebellion does not exist. What you are talking about is purely political revolt. I am unaware of a successful political revolt at any time in the history of this civilisation. I will give you two quotes that I think apply to your comment.

      "Revolutions often throw up worse governments than they throw out"

      "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics"

      2) An armed revolt is illegal. I believe the penalty for such is life. The political system we have is the one we are stuck with until someone comes up with a better idea. Your idea of rebelling and setting up your own goverment – imposing your will and ideas over the rest of the population – makes you no better than a Muslim extremist.

      • David Jordan says

        I was just ranting a little, I a wine grape grower who has not made money in three years because of an American company who refuses to pay, yet all I ever see is the unemployed trash and refugees getting more than Ive seen for a long while. Im also tired of the fact we seem to have lost that ANZAC way of dealing with things, we now sit back and watch our country be over run and our Govt give money to country's who hate us. The Govt we have havent got the balls to arrest me for the things I say. I have also just bought the Eureka stockade flag.

        • The Realist says

          Firstly, I think there is something you need to understand. The Goverment has just prosecuted 5 Muslims for plotting terror attacks. 3 of them were convicted. If they will go after the "sacred cows" they sure as hell wont be too worried about coming after you.

          What you call the "ANZAC" way of doing things is actually the way things used to be done outside the major population centres. The attitude of getting the job done, working for a living, not putting up with rubbish, helping out your mates and neighbors, respect for authority, respect for the elderly – all these are an anathema to the left wingers whose social engineering has produced the mutated excuse for a society we now live in. And the easiest way for these armchair experimenters to destroy this way of life was simply to import as many people as they can who do not share these ethics. Western and European nations do, so lets get immigrants from elsewhere.

          I am sorry to tell you this, but the Australia that I, and probably you, grew up in was slowly strangled to death in the last 35 years. It is a wonderful place, full of interesting people, and they do things differently there. Its gone now. In a few years most of us will wonder if it ever existed at all.

  3. The Eureka stockade would only rate a footnote in the history of an older country. I say we should just forget about it, and worry about Australia Day and the Anzac tradition.

    • Nick Folkes says

      What a stupid thing to say.

      The Eureka rebellion is very relevant esp. when you consider we are now facing a similar situation faced by the Australian worker and tax payer. Also this event is part of our history.

      Sure, Australia Day and Anzac Day should be celebrated but so should the Eureka rebellion.

      Give Labor and Greens another 6-8 months and the citizenry of Australia will be out in the streets due to the introduction of a fraudulent carbon tax.

      History does repeat itself.

      • After being a member of Australia First I'm very anti the Eureka Stockade.

        Very angry indeed.

        • Don, I believe I understand where you are coming from on this. However, one commemorative article on Eureka does not make it an obsession here, it is just a part of our history – and I think the article gave it a balanced view.

          You mentioned that we need to be commemorating Australia Day and the Anzac tradition – maybe you could write a couple of paragraphs on these for APP, so they can be used for an article when those days come up?

          Australia Day is not too far away, after all.

  4. This is what blacks are doing to white in South Africa, it is very graffic. And these are the racist murderers that our 'leaders', social commetraitors and journalist's think are adding 'a vibrant culture' to Australia?



  5. Glorifying the Eureka Stockade makes me very angry. Very angry indeed. I joined this party to get away from Eureka.

    We'll have the rebel flag draped from the lecturn at our party conference like Australia First soon.

    • APP believes that the only national flag of Australia is the current flag which symbolises our heritage perfectly.

      Reminding people of their history is hardly glorification and if the only reason you joined APP was to 'get away' from history, then you joined the wrong party.

    • Don, it might be worth reading it again.

      The article points out that the rebels seized people’s property and poses the question (which hardly anyone ever does) about what might have happened if they had won, “A state of semi-anarchy, the building of a much larger rebel force, and several battles that might have ensued”.

      It also says “we must respect the courage and devotion to duty shown by the police and troops that lawfully did their duty in quelling the Eureka rebellion”.

      This article is hardly glorifying Eureka, but rather is giving it its due place in our history.

      Many events in our history will have negative aspects to them. It is up to us to point out the positive aspects and what our nation gained from them.

  6. Walter Horsman says

    Isn't it a pity that today's Youth and their elders no longer have the GUTS to stand up to to bullying ,and BULL we accept from our elected (superiors)

    Time we also had a Eureka .or a full scale no or public refusal, to show them that enough is enough

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