A NEW battle has erupted over the Eureka Flag, with prominent journalist and historian Peter FitzSimons pushing for it to also become the national one.
Speaking in Ballarat yesterday, only weeks out from the 158th anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion, Mr FitzSimons said the iconic Southern Cross best represented modern Australia.
“The Eureka flag represents justice, egalitarianism and multiculturalism – three things that define Australia now,” Mr FitzSimons said.
However, Val D’Angri, who in the 1970s restored the flag her great-great grandmother helped sew on the Ballarat goldfields, said while she didn’t think it should be the national flag, she would love to see the Eureka Flag used more.
“It’s a difficult one. The further from the actual date of the event, the more the flag gets these magical properties,” Ms D’Angri said.
“Each generation seems to think more highly of it.”
Art Gallery of Ballarat director Gordon Morrison said the Eureka Flag was a tremendously important historical artefact, but didn’t want to weigh into the debate about it becoming the Australian flag.
“We are proud to be custodians of an object that was a central part of the events of 1854 in Ballarat,” Mr Morrison said.
“It is significant both because of its association with those events but also because it is a remarkably beautiful surviving example of 19th century needlework as practised on the Victorian goldfields.”
Ballarat MP Catherine King said she didn’t think the Australian flag should be changed but the Eureka flag should have much more prominence because of its special place in Australian history.
“That is why I am pleased to hear the flag will be the centrepiece of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka,” Ms King said.
Ballarat mayor John Burt also said he didn’t believe the flag should be changed.
Mr FitzSimons was in Ballarat to talk about his latest release, Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution.
He said the Eureka Stockade was fundamental to how Australian society has developed.
Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution sold 5000 copies in its first 10 days on sale and the former Wallabies’ test player hoped his book would lift tourism in Ballarat and ultimately raise awareness of the Eureka story.
Dinner with Mr FitzSimons attracted 110 people at the New York Bakery in Sovereign Hill on Thursday night.