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22 June 2005
 
Eureka Stockade
 
Find out about a famous event is known as the 'Eureka Stockade'.


GEOFFREY BLAINEY, HISTORIAN: I think Eureka was important in Australian history in the first place because, in the 19th century, people argued that a nation couldn't have a history unless there was an battle in it.

And since Australia had no real military history, the Eureka Stockade was a godsend to the nationalism of the time.

RON EGEBERG, DIRECTOR, EUREKA CENTRE: I believe Eureka was the birthplace of the Australian spirit and, in saying that, I'm saying that spirit of the want for fairness and a fair go.

TOM HARLEY, CHAIRMAN, AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE COUNCIL: We've got all our major politicians saying, "I want a fair go for X or Y", and I think that's what the miners were really on about.

They felt unfairly dealt with by the colonial administration and were really protesting against that.

HEATHER EWART: The Federal Government has now declared it will place Eureka on its National Heritage List, forever preserving the site where more than 30 diggers lost their lives at the hands of the Queen's men and six troopers died in the name of duty.

TOM HARLEY: It's a dramatic flashpoint.

It was from Eureka that you can trace many of the experiments that were introduced by the colonial parliaments.

Universal manhood suffrage - that's one man, one vote - not having to own property to be able to vote, and eventually granting women the vote.

Australia did this before most other countries in the world.

HEATHER EWART: The Heritage Council argues it's the legacy of Eureka that matters just as much as the rebellion itself.

But that legacy means different things to different people and always has.

GEOFFREY BLAINEY: It's one of the most argued about events in Australian history and, to some people, it symbolises a demand for a fair go.

For others, it highlights the importance of revolution.

For others, it highlights the danger of an interfering, regulating government.

I mean, this is one of the reasons why it lives - because it's got so many messages.

HEATHER EWART: The tattered flag was restored in the 1970s by a woman whose great-great-grandmother helped make the original.

She also created a replica for the gallery.

And that's the other thing you learn about Eureka devotees - many have some historic connection to the event.

Was it a well-made flag in the first place?

VAL D'ANGRI: Oh, beautifully made.

The seams are only five milimetres in thickness and the stitching is perfect.

I really feel we must salute those ladies for what they did on the goldfields while still bringing up children and feeding their miner husbands.

HEATHER EWART: The Eureka Centre offers education to students nationwide on the build-up to Eureka and the battle and has helped organise part of this week's celebrations, but perhaps it still has some way to go.

STUDENT #2: The blue's what they wear, the stars are the Southern Cross and the white's the, um, unity.

HEATHER EWART: So there!

The symbolism of Eureka really can be however you choose to see it.


story notes

 stockade
 
The word stockade means to a strong wooden fence built around an area to defend it.

 Australian spirit
 
Here, spirit refers to the general character or mood of something.

 fair go
 
A fair go is a slang way of saying reasonable opportunity.
 
Example: Most people can succceeed if they're given a fair go.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 on about
 
talking about; meaning
 
Example: I don't know what he's on about half the time.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 felt
 
Here felt is the past tense of the irregular verb feel.
 
more information: feel

 unfairly dealt with
 
badly treated

 trace
 
To trace means to follow the development of something.

 experiments
 
Here, an experiment is a test of a new idea.

 colonial parliaments
 
Colonial is an adjective. It means of or relating to a colony. A colony is a country that is controlled by another country. Australian was once controlled by Britain, so it had colonial parliaments or governments.

 universal manhood suffrage
 
Universal means involving everyone. Manhood just means male And suffrage means the right to vote in an election.

 eventually
 
Eventually means after a long time.

 granting
 
Granting means giving.

 symbolises
 
Symbolise means to represent or to stand for.

 highlights
 
To highlight means to show, or to emphasise.

 revolution
 
A revolution is the overthrow of a government.

 interfering, regulating government
 
Someone who isinterfering is meddling, they get involved in people’s lives in an annoying and unwelcome way. And regulating means to controlling or making something work in a certain way.So an interfering, regulating government, involves itself in people’s lives and tries to control them.

 whose
 
Whose is the possessive form of who. Be careful not to confuse it with who's.
 
more information: whose & who's

 Southern Cross
 
The Southern Cross is a constellation, or cluster of stars, which can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
 
 
The miners used it on their flag.