In the cold and early hours of December 3 2013, people will gather in Ballarat to commemorate the 159th anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion. It was a battle lost at the time in 1854, a slaughter by troopers and police of those who stood their ground for basic rights, but it sent ripples through the colony of Victoria and across Australia at the time. Indeed the event was talked about internationally. Like a rock skipping upon a lake it continues to ripple through time affecting how we interpret rebellion, protest, the social democratic and direct democracy traditions here in Australia.
The 4am vigils at the Eureka Monument on the morning of December 3 usually attract about 50 people, from around Australia and even a few international visitors. Over the last few years West Papuans have joined the vigil and the activities during the day. The events have a raw meaning in their fight for justice and independence for West Papua.
As in previous years, the vigil will be broadcast live on Melbourne community radio 3CR from 4am to 6am.
This year larger numbers of the West Papuan Independence Movement will be involved in all
facets of the celebrations. Mr. Jacob Rumbiak, the Foreign Minister in exile, will be coming to Ballarat to receive a Eureka Australia Day Medal for the personal sacrifices he has personally made (imprisoned for 10 years, tortured by the Indonesian authorities). He fled to Australia in 1998. He is the senior member of the West Papuan Independence Movement who is currently not in an Indonesian prison.