Wednesday, December 03, 2003

*Ø* Blogmanac | Eureka Stockade Day, Australia

1854 The Battle of Eureka Stockade, an uprising of gold miners against the State of Victoria, Australia; six troopers and 34 miners died in the civil revolt by gold miners against the officials supervising the gold-mining regions of Ballarat. Although the revolt failed, it has endured in the collective social consciousness of Australia.

Eureka has been variously described as the birthplace of Australia's democracy, republicanism and multiculturalism. Its heroes include an Italian writer, a freed American slave, a former German soldier and sundry American democrats, Irish rebels and British chartists.

The miners held a series of huge peaceful meetings demanding fairer treatment (their main complaint was about miners’ taxes), but following the murder of a miner, those calls for non-violence were pushed aside. A 27-year-old Irishman, Peter Lawlor, who'd never before addressed a public meeting was thrust into leadership; his first word: “Liberty”. The flag the miners flew, bearing the Southern Cross constellation, is still a national symbol of anti-authoritarianism.

More at the Wilson's Almanac Book of Days, every day. Click today's date when you're there.


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