Saturday, July 5, 2008

The battle of Eureka Stockade, Ballarat

Ballarat was occupied by indigenous people until the 1800's when European settlers began to arrive and establish pastoral properties. In 1851 gold was discovered and a gold rush ensued that the town infrastructure was unable and unprepared to cope with. The Governor sent police and troops in and imposed a policy of gold mining licences ( £2 for every 3 months prospecting).

The diggers rebelled against the licence police and demanded a tax on discovered gold to replace it. The upshot was a rebellion at Eureka when the diggers shut themselves into a stockade and an ensuing massacre by police and troops in 1854. It is seen as a significant event in Australian's history, and is outlined in the Eureka Museum in Ballarat.

The cynics amongst us would suggest that the trigger factor was a drunken brawl followed by a witch hunt which has been glorified over the years to suggest it was a victory for the underdog against the oppressors, but as I am not at all cynical.....

Meanwhile...back to Lake Wendouree . There is a 1919 Melbourne tram which has been restored and the tram line runs around the lake.

The tram driver looks like a man who was born to drive vintage trams or steam trains (probably the Hogwarts Express).

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