Eureka Stockade

November 30, 2018

On 3 December 1854, the Eureka Rebellion had built to fever pitch and the Battle of the Eureka Stockade erupted over punitive taxes between miners and colonial troops – with 27 killed, over 100 arrested and 13 tried for high treason. The conflict and its aftermath was a defining moment in Australian history – a key event in the development of Australian identity, suffrage and democracy.

  • Although a one-off, and on a smaller scale, the Eureka Stockade has close parallels with the Boston Tea Party colonial revolt in the 18th century – a pivotal event in the American Revolution with its key theme of free-enterprise individuals resisting encroaching tyranny, fighting for greater freedom and “no taxation without representation”.

The Eureka Stockade remains the sole instance in Australia’s history where an armed uprising resulted in a change to an unfair law. Sadly, however, this legacy has been hijacked by the union movement, who have used the Eureka flag as a symbol of the collective against free enterprise.

Yet the Eureka Stockade's purpose was to enable enterprising miners and hard working, entrepreneurial individuals to get ahead. They relied on their own intuition and skills, stood up for themselves when taxes became exorbitant and were denied their rights. The Eureka flag represents freedom and liberty, not the collective.

Commemorate Australia’s most celebrated and pivotal rebellion – the Eureka Stockade – by:

  • (if you are in/near Ballarat) visiting the Eureka Stockade Memorial
  • viewing these short history clips on our famous rebellion against a political establishment (based in Melbourne central) increasingly out of touch and going rogue
  • reading further about Cory Bernardi's successful Senate motion about the Eureka Stockade, the stockade’s impact on Australian colonial life and political evolution (identity and democracy/suffrage, with close parallels to the theme “no taxation without representation”)
  • educating the populace of the true “free enterprise and spirit” meaning behind the Eureka flag and seize the symbol back from the collectivist Left
  • running a social media campaign, inviting a speaker to give a lecture on the importance of the rebellion and/or setting up a stall to hand out Eureka flags to students and those passing by
  • listening to the theme song of “Rush” – a mid-1970s Australian TV series (historical drama) set during the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s
  • going out of town to do some fossicking in “them there hills” with the kids or your mates, and/or
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, conservatives, classical liberals, freedom fighters and those that believe in smaller government, lower taxes, free enterprise and less red tape regulation.

Further details of the Eureka Stockade and implications

At Eureka Lead – on the gold fields of Ballarat (east) during the huge Victorian gold rush of the 1850s – 500 miners (diggers) took up arms and stockaded against the Victorian colonial authorities for the draconian mining tax they had recently and strictly imposed.

  • The mining tax was an exorbitant licence fee to mine or fossick, regardless of how much value the miner found/produced (in many cases, very little).

In the resulting battle – where colonial troops stormed the stockade, at 3am Sunday (the Sabbath for the predominantly Irish Catholic rebels) – an estimated 22 diggers and five troops lost their lives, with over 100 arrested.

This Eureka Stockade (or Rebellion) was the first and only time Australians stood under opposing flags and faced each other on a battlefield.

  • The Eureka Flag was a starred white cross in the middle of a dark blue background, depicting the Southern Cross constellation always prominent in the Victorian night sky (although some also say it depicted the Irish flag’s white cross too), with no British Union Jack present.

The incarceration of those arrested, however, was short lived. Public support for the diggers was overwhelming. Only 13 were put on trial and all were acquitted.

While blood was shed and lives lost on both sides, it was not in vain. Soon after, the Victorian government passed the Electoral Act 1856, mandating full white male suffrage for elections in the lower house. The mining tax was also scrapped.

Contrary to how unions and the Left like to paint it, Eureka Stockade was a revolt of small, capitalistic miners against big oppressive government – the proud, self-reliant individual versus the burgeoning state (almost the antithesis of unions and collectivism).

Eureka is a significant event in the development of Australia’s representational structures and attitudes towards democracy and egalitarianism.

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