|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (08/12/2004)|
|Place File No||2/03/122/0058|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
The Eureka Stockade Gardens are of outstanding heritage
value to the nation for their association with the Eureka Stockade Rebellion of
3 December 1854. The goldminers’
revolt against the goldfields administration, and particularly the lives lost
as a result of the insurrection, is a crucial event in Australia’s political
and social history. The rebellion
was motivated by discontent with the mining licence, which the diggers claimed
was taxation without representation and a tax upon labour. More generally, the uprising was
underpinned by a desire for fair treatment for all, and an egalitarian spirit
which pervaded the goldfields. The
rebellion led to fairer legislation for the goldfields with the licence replaced
by the cheaper Miners Right, which also gave the vote to miners. Various other political changes were
achieved, helping the process of democratizing colonial government in Victoria
and more widely the Australian colonies.
The Eureka Stockade uprising is part of the national experience.
Except for Indigenous resistance to colonial dominance, rebellion has been a rare occurrence in Australia’s European history. Eureka in Victoria, Castle Hill/Vinegar Hill in NSW, First Government House site (Rum Rebellion) in NSW, and Norfolk Island are the major sites of significant uprisings against government authority (as distinct from places of riot or resistance, against non-government entities, such as the Barcaldine Shearers Strike Camp, Wave Hill, the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ site etc). While there is little or no above-ground evidence of the event that took place at Ballarat, and while the exact location is not agreed upon, the Eureka Stockade Gardens are of outstanding heritage value to the nation for their association with this uncommon and highly significant event in the nation’s past.
The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of its potential to yield archaeological evidence of the rebellion of 1854. There is a likelihood of underground deposits or artefacts associated with Eureka and participants in the battle. The Eureka Lead, the auriferous deposit being worked by the diggers at the time of the rebellion, is also located under the place.
The Eureka Rebellion as an historical event is well known among Australians. The principles that the miners at Eureka stood for – equality, fair treatment by government, and the right of those governed to take part in the democratic process – have become sacred to Australians, and to large numbers of Australians Eureka is a byword for these concepts. The Eureka spirit is often invoked as a synonym for democracy, and the Eureka or Southern Cross flag has come to symbolize what Eureka was about and has been used by many to further various causes – from striking Barcaldine shearers in the 1890s to the Builders Labourers Federation in the 1970s. Eureka is ingrained in Australian culture through its representation in prose, poetry, art, theatre and film.
Of all the individuals associated with the Eureka Rebellion, Peter Lalor is the best known. As leader of the rebelling miners, this Irish-born digger was wounded during the battle and lost an arm. He subsequently entered the Victorian Parliament where he made a major contribution and subsequently served as Speaker almost until his death. His life reflected the Eureka story – of brave opposition to an oppressive government administration, and success in accessing the power of government for the good of his fellows.
The 12-acre Eureka Stockade gardens is the site of a
defining Australian event, the bloody clash in 1854 between gold diggers and
government forces, yet it contains no visible relics of the event. Long
recognised as an important place for imagining and commemorating that event and
its consequences, the site has also been put to a practical use as a recreation
space in an urban area.|
Below ground lie the course of the Eureka gold lead and site of the Free Trade Hotel, key determinants of the battle scene and the Eureka Stockade. There is a strong possibility of buried archaeological deposits or relics associated with the battle, its participants, and related sites.
Above ground are features that commemorate or promote understanding of the Eureka Rebellion. The feature of earliest date is the gardens itself (1869), followed by the Eureka Stockade Monument (1884). The latest feature on the site is The Eureka Centre, interpreting the events of 1854, which opened in 1998 and, with its enormous Eureka sail, in the shape of a mining wind-sail, is itself a landmark. A walking trail, which follows the 1854 route of the government troops from their camp to the battleground, terminates at the Eureka Stockade. The Diggers march follows the route taken by the miners to the Stockade. Further, there are plans to erect an interpretive sculpture to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion in 2004.
Many features on the gardens, however, are associated with its development, since 1912, for recreational purposes. These components have changed periodically over the course of 90-odd years, but they currently comprise a hall, swimming pool, caravan park, ornamental lake, tree plantings, garden beds and lawns.
1852-54: The Eureka Lead (a gold-bearing deposit following
the course of a deep-buried creek bed) was discovered. Mining activity
progressed gradually along the lead, to reach the vicinity of the present-day
Eureka Stockade gardens in 1854.|
October 1854: Fortunes on the Eureka Lead were at a low ebb. Diggers had to dig deeper and spend more to find gold, but still they were limited to claims that were too small to be viable and still they were required to take out an expensive monthly gold licence, payable in advance and irrespective of whether they found gold. The licence had been a 'temporary' measure introduced by the government in the heat of the initial gold rushes in 1851. It was resisted by the diggers then and since, but three years later it was still in place and prosecuted more vigorously than ever. Those without a licence were remorselessly 'hunted' by gold commissioners and police, many of whom were tinged with petty tyranny and corruption. Long-standing enmity between diggers and goldfields officials at Ballarat reached flashpoint when the accused murderer of a Eureka digger was acquitted by a corrupt magistrate. Following a protest meeting, the accused murderer's hotel on Eureka Lead was burned down. Several diggers were arrested by authorities determined to stem the diggers' riotous mood.
November 1854: A series of protest meetings at Ballarat resulted in a delegation to the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Charles Hotham, in Melbourne to demand not only the release of the Eureka rioters, but abolition of the gold licence, revised mining laws, and votes for diggers. Sir Charles had arrived in Victoria just six months earlier, with instructions to subdue the diggers. He objected to the delegation's use of the word 'demand' and sent them away unsatisfied.
November 29: At a monster meeting on Bakery Hill, Ballarat, to receive the delegation and to protest at recent roughshod licence-hunts, the Southern Cross flag was raised for the first time.
Nov 30-Dec 2: Determined to bring hostilities to a head, the Ballarat authorities (now bolstered by a garrison of soldiers) ordered a particularly provocative and aggressive licence-hunt. In response, thousands of diggers spontaneously massed on Bakery Hill. They chose an Irish digger, Peter Lalor, as their leader and several hundred diggers took up arms, vowing beneath the Southern Cross flag to fight together for their rights and liberty. A rough stockade, built of mining timbers, was constructed on a hillside at Eureka Lead. Within it, battalions of diggers drilled and gathered weapons for the purpose of repelling the next licence-hunt. Emissaries were sent to nearby goldfields, to call more diggers to the fight.
December 3: At dawn, government troops stormed the stockade and a battle lasting less than an hour ensued. An estimated 30 diggers and bystanders and four soldiers were killed. The diggers were subdued, the stockade largely burnt, and more than 100 prisoners taken to the government camp. Thirteen of them would be charged with treason, a capital offence.
February-March 1855: The trials of the Eureka prisoners were held in Melbourne. All thirteen were acquitted.
March 1855: The Commission of Inquiry into the Goldfields, set up after Eureka, released its report, upholding the diggers' complaints. Before the end of 1855, the gold licence system would end, replaced by the annual Miner's Right which gave diggers voting and residential rights. The diggers were also granted greater access to land and control in framing and enforcing local mining laws through own Mining Boards and Courts.
1855-69: Extensive mining on the Eureka Stockade site.
1869: Ballarat East Borough Council sought to determine the site of the stockade and, in commemoration, reserved the land believed to contain the greater portion, if not the entire site.
1884: A most vigorous attempt to locate the exact site of the stockade occurred when a commemorative monument was proposed for the gardens. Several hundred old-timers gathered at Eureka Street and, after heated debate, agreed to disagree and voted on a compromise site in the south-east comer of the gardens.
1885: The gardens were officially gazetted as the Eureka Stockade, under the control of Ballarat East Borough.
1891: Council erected a high picket fence around the gardens, carried out tree plantings and created Lake Elsworth (later filled in to make way for the swimming pool).
1912: Residents living in the vicinity formed the Eureka Stockade Memorial Committee, to assist in the improvement and protection of the reserve. (in 1986, it became the Eureka Stockade Memorial Park Committee.)
1912-80s: Over this period, the gardens boundaries were extended and additional features introduced, such as Lake Penhalluriack, a rotunda, nursery, tree plantings, formal gardens and paths, drinking fountain, small and large halls, memorial gates, swimming pool, caravan park, diorama, various recreational facilities, and 'life-sized' replica of the Stockade. (Several of these features no longer exist.)
1997: Eureka Stockade Centre completed, opened in 1998.
2000: Eureka Stockade Reserve listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
|Condition and Integrity|
The Eureka Stockade gardens and all its components are
maintained in good condition by the City of Ballarat.|
About 6ha, Eureka Street, East Ballarat, being an area
bounded by Eureka, Stawell, Charlesworth and Rodier Streets, and comprising Allotments
18B, 18C, 18D, 19 and 19C, Eureka.|
Annear, R. 2004, Fly a
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 1994, Eureka: the Event and its Continuing Impact on the Nation
Bate, W. 1978, Lucky City: The First Generation at Ballarat 1851-1901
Carboni, Raffaello, 1855, The Eureka Stockade
City of Ballarat, 2001, Eureka Stockade Reserve, Conservation Analysis & Master Plan, John Patrick Pty Ltd Landscape Architects
Clark, V. Excavations at the Eureka Precinct, Ballarat, 1996-19
Harvey, J. 1994, Eureka Rediscovered
Logan, William, et al, 2003, Creating an Australian Democracy
MacFarlane, I. (Ed) 1995, Eureka - From the Official Records, Public Records Office Victoria
Molony, J. 1984, Eureka
Pike, Douglas, ed, 1974, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 5
Searle, Geoffrey, 1977, The Golden Age
Toplis, S, 1993 (unpub) Eureka Stockade Historical Precinct, Main Report
Withers, WB 1887, History of Ballarat
Report Produced Sun Jul 27 04:45:30 2014