On one level the Eureka stockade was a dispute over mining licences at Ballarat gold diggings in 1854. However when we look at the people that made up the rebellion and the allegiance they swore to each other, we can see that it was more than that. A comrade has pointed out that the intial dispute was over the refusal of landowners and commercial interests to pay any tax which the governor then had to get entirely from the miners.
Was Eureka about one class rebelling against the laws of the ruling elite in Victoria or was it part of a movement for a better world, a stuggle for democratic rights?
The rebels certainly took on the state and were overwhelmed by brute force, many losing their lives as a result. The survivors defended charges of treason and were acquitted by a jury of their peers as told in “The Eureka Stockade” by Raffaello Carboni.
Since 2002 a unique celebration has been organised to commemorate this event to defend the original ideals that the Eureka rebels, women and men, stood for. In 2010 we were a group of stalwarts led along the streets of Ballarat by Joe Toscano who ironically referred to our homage as the “Stations of the Southern Cross”.
Meanwhile Ballarat went on about its business only stopping for a moment as we marched by.
If 2014 was little different, it is still worth it!