It was revolution - small in size, but greatly politically; it was a strike against injustice and oppression. It was the Barons and John over again; it was Hampden and ship-Money; it was Concord and Lexington; small beginnings, all of them, but all of them great in political results, all of them epoch-making . . . It adds an honourable page to history; the people know it and are proud of it. They keep green the memory of the men who fell at the Eureka Stockade. Mark Twain, 1897
History is full of examples of rebellions and revolutions, some big, some small, but all, where motivated by a desire for freedom, contributing to the general well-being and progress of people everywhere.
The Rebellion of the Eureka Stockade in Australia in 1854 can be celebrated as one such example. Like the letter de cachet of the French Revolution and the Tea Tax of the American War of Independence, the Eureka rebellion was sparked by what could be considered a minor issue, in this case the Gold Licence.
But of course there was very much more behind it.
The Rebellion was the culmination of many years of agitation against the impositions of British colonial rule. It was a democratic protest against intolerable oppression.
The Southern Cross was the flag of Australian independence and democratic revolution, recognised as such by those who wished to destroy it and all it stood for as much as by those who fought beneath it.
The Rebellion of the Eureka Stockade was a milestone in Australia's history and its significance continues to grow. It has left Australia with an inspiration to continue along the long and arduous road to her full realisation of 'independence and democracy'; a spirit best summed in the words of the poet Henry Lawson:...