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A humorous but informative summary of Eureka Day events in Ballarat at the Eureka Dinner at the Eureka Stockade Hotel by Adam Elliot.

The 159th anniversary of Eureka Stockade rebellion was commemorated with a day long series of events organised by the Anarchist Media Institute from a 4am dawn vigil, Eureka Awards ceremeny at Bakery Hill, a long march through the streets of Ballarat to the Old Ballarat Cemetery, a visit to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka to see the Eureka Flag finally brought home to it’s origins in Eureka Park, the site of the Eureka Stockade; and concluding with a dinner at the Eureka Stockade Hotel with a guest speaker: Dr. Anne Beggs-Sunter on the topic of ‘Eureka plays and films over the years’.

Related: Eureka Curse on Maurice Newman in Effigy burning | Eureka Day and the City of Ballarat | 2013 Eureka Medal Recipients (PDF)

It is a long day for those who participate in all the events, yet it highlights the importance of the Eureka rebellion in 1854, the sacrifice of those who fought to defend their rights and liberties, and the activism of people today in a myriad of struggles to fight and defend the rights and liberties of present and future generations. The event continues to cause ripples through Australia’s past and present in Ballarat and Australia.

This year about 60 people attended the 4am Dawn Vigil, including interstate and international visitors.

Several West Papuans attended providing entertainment as well as being there when Jacob Rumbiak, the most senior representative of the West Papuan independence movemnet not in an Indonesian jail, was awarded a Eureka Australia Day medal at Bakery Hill. Other award winners included Elizabeth Conolly, Gwen Goedeckie, Ruth Martin, Gary Foley, No Maccas in the Dandenong Ranges, and International Organisation for a Participatory Society (IOPS Victoria).

The City of Ballarat, Federation University based in Ballarat and many local businesses utilise the symbolism of the Eureka rebellion to attract tourism and make money. But as visitors to Ballarat found on Eureka Day, there was no bunting or sign of official events to commemorate the day, although there was a Ballarat Trades Hall Council hosted a lecture on Eureka Day at Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka by Canberra Labor MP Andrew Leigh – you can read the full Eureka lecture on his blog.

Eureka Dawn Vigil and social media

Eureka Eve with sunset over Lake Penhalluriack and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. Yes, that is a Eureka Flag flying over a metal sculpture on the left.

Graeme Dunstan, lantern banner and effigy maker, sets up the Eureka banners at sunset of the eve of Eureka Day

Graeme Dunstan does an amazing job building these effigies. The Effigy of Maurice Newman is ready to go. Read Graeme Dunstan’s Eureka Curse on Maurice Newman.

It is pretty dark at 4am as people gather for the Dawn vigil.

From my digital camera I captured the dawn vigil under the southern cross constellation

A better picture of the Dawn vigil from my SLR:

Flames engulfing Maurice Newman Effigy

Maurice Newman effigy up in flames:

Maurice Newman effigy burns at Eureka Dawn vigil, December 3, 2013

People continue to arrive. By 5am I do a head count of 60 people. For the very first time police have been in attendance in a patrol car since 4am, but their presence in the background and non-intervention in the day’s events has been negotiated.

There are several distinct groups at the Dawn Vigil, the No Maccas in Tecoma have come colour co-ordinated with T-shirt messages and posters

West Papuans sang a song of Freedom and Justice to entertain us all

Eureka and the fight to save Ballarat Civic Hall, December 3, 2013

The No Maccas crew (again):

A Magpie heralds the sunrise from the top of the Eureka monolith, as light illuminates the Eureka Oath banner

The role of women has consistently been underestimated and is often forgotten as part of the Eureka Day story. Clare Wright’s book gives new insight. Eureka is not just a story about the male diggers and miners of Eureka, but about people: men and women and their families striving against injustice to “fight to defend their rights and liberties”

Long Day of events commemorating Eureka Day:

Bakery Hill and Eureka Australia Day Medal awards

For several years the Anarchist Media Institute have awarded a Eureka Australia Day Medal to activists and organisations that have highlighted by their actions the oath, principles and values of the Eureka Rebellion. Recipients in 2013 included

  • Elizabeth Connolly, a Stalwart on the No Maccas In The Dandenong Ranges / Hills / Tecoma picket line
  • Gwen Goedeckie, A tireless advocate for justice and a fair go for seven decades, now in her mid 80s.
  • Ruth Martin, A tireless political and community activist now in her late 70’s.
  • Jacob Rumbiak, The Foreign Minister in exile of the West Papuan Independence Movement. The most senior Minister of the West Papuan Independence Movement currently not in an Indonesian jail. A hard working man who was imprisoned for over a decade and tortured by successive Indonesian governments. In Australia he is at the forefront of the struggle for an Independent West Papua, representing his people in forums around the world.
  • Gary Foley, indigenous activist and historian from the 1970s to the present
  • No Maccas in Tecoma campaign: A truly inspirational direct democratic grassroots movement that has brought one of the
    world’s corporate giants to its knees. Irrespective of whether their struggle to prevent McDonald’s gaining a foothold in Melbourne’s pristine Dandenong Ranges is successful or not, McDonald’s will think twice about building outlets where communities don’t want them.

  • IOPS Victoria: International Organisation for a Participatory Society, a group of young dynamic activists who have met the corporatisation, deregulation, privatisation and globalisation head on by promoting the idea ultimate political authority in a truly democratic society rests in the hands of the people, not the state, the government of the day or the corporate sector.

Official Citation: 2013 Eureka Medal Recipients (PDF)

2013 Eureka Australia Medal award winners

2013 Eureka Australia Medal award winners

At Bakery Hill

The Eureka Flag at Bakery Hill:

No Maccas in Tecoma campaign accepts Eureka Australia Day medal, December 3, 2013

Two young people from International Organisation for a Participatory Society accept the Eureka Australia Day medal

Jacob Rumbiak West Papuan independence leader accepts Eureka Australia Day medal

Flag Raising at Ballarat Town Hall?

No Official Flag Raising outside Ballarat Town Hall

Bill Deller gave a rousing speech outside the Ballarat Town Hall. Enough is enough, time for fundamental changes. Speech on Eureka day 2013

Flag raising Forgotten…

Australian flag atop Ballarat Town Hall as if Queen Victoria still reigns

Australian flag atop Ballarat Town Hall as if Queen Victoria still reigns

Diggers and Soldiers memorials at Old Ballarat Cemetery

So were there flowers on the Diggers memorial?

Joe Toscano on the national shame of Ballarat and level of respect for the Eureka Diggers

Jacob Rumbiak on the meaning of Eureka and West Papua independence

History rewritten in the Soldiers Graves Monument

History rewritten in the Soldiers Graves Monument

Dr Joe Toscano explaining how the victors attempt to rewrite history in the Soldiers monument

Dr Joe Toscano explaining how the victors attempt to rewrite history in the Soldiers monument

Ballarat Trades Hall President, Brett Edgington, attended the Eureka Graves Ceremony at the Ballarat Old Cemetery at 12pm Sat Nov 30th 2013. He said that it would be wonderful to see considerable Union attendance at this event in future “to mark the fallen of the Eureka Stockade and the first spark of Democracy in our Nation.” Some people attend in period costume, including dressed up as Redcoats from the British 40th regiment. See Photos on Facebook by Ballarat Trades Hall Council.

Eureka Flag at Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka

Museum of Aus Democracy at Eureka

Eureka Flag at last back at the Stockade site at MADE

Eureka Flag at last back at the Stockade site at MADE

Eureka Commemoration Dinner

Some great entertainment with a message from our West papuan brothers and sisters at the Eureka Stockade Hotel for Eureka Dinner:

Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter on ‘Eureka plays and films over the years’ at Eureka dinner 2013. In an acknowledgement to the No Maccas Tecoma group, Anne pointed out at the start that she was part of the successful campaign to stop a McDonalds franchise being built on the Bakery Hill site in 1976, although they built next door. The McDonalds chain is not invincible.

Unfortunately my camera battery died about two thirds of the way through Anne’s speech, so you will have to research the more recent Eureka cultural events and films yourself.

Adam Elliot’s humorous but informative summary of Eureka Day events in 2013

The West Papuan Black Orchids – Song of Freedom at Eureka Day dinner 2013

Photos from the 159th Anniversary Commemoration

The following morning I made the short trip back to MADE to buy Clare Wright’s book: ‘The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka’ before driving home to Melbourne.

That afternoon I processed and uploaded these 73 photos from December 2 to December 4 covering the 159th anniversary events.

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