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Eureka Stockade Memorial

 

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The Eureka Rebellion was a revolt in 1854, instigated by gold miners in Ballarat, Australia who revolted against the colonial authority of the UK. It culminated in the Battle of the Eureka Stockade, which was fought between miners and colonial forces on 3 December 1854 at Eureka Lead and named for the stockade structure built by miners during the conflict. The rebellion resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people, the majority of whom were rebels.

The rebellion was the culmination of a period of civil disobedience in the Ballarat region during the Victorian Gold Rush with miners objecting to the expense of a miner’s license, taxation via the licence without representation, and the actions of the government, the police and military. The local rebellion grew from a Ballarat Reform League movement and culminated in the erection by the rebels of a crude battlement and a swift and deadly siege by colonial forces.

Mass public support for the captured rebels in the colony’s capital of Melbourne when they were placed on trial resulted in the introduction of the Electoral Act of 1856, which mandated suffrage for male colonists in the lower house in the Victorian parliament This is considered the second instituted act of political democracy in Australia. Female colonists of South Australia were awarded suffrage 5 years later on condition of owning property, much in the way men did not have full suffrage in the absence of property ownership. As such, the Eureka Rebellion is controversially identified with the birth of democracy in Australia and interpreted by some as a political revolt.

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