Call to boost Eureka's 160th anniversary celebration 

STATE and local government leaders are being called on to boost the profile of Eureka Day by making plans for a significant 160th anniversary celebration.

Former Eureka Centre director Ron Egeberg, Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight and City of Ballarat councillor Samantha McIntosh have each called for appropriate funding and a program of events to mark the anniversary on December 3 next year.

Mr Egeberg said Eureka was one of the most important events in Australia’s history and should be celebrated.

“Eureka is much more than a historic event; its significance in the development of the country’s democracy must be implanted in the psyche of Australians as was seen during Eureka 150, in 2004,” he said.

“Whilst Ballarat is the custodian of Eureka, Eureka belongs to the nation and therefore should be the responsibility of all three tiers of government on behalf of a grateful nation.”

Low crowd numbers and a lack of events in Ballarat prompted criticism of this year’s Eureka Day participation.

Mr Egeberg said it was disappointing, and all tiers of government needed to encourage 160th anniversary celebrations to spark the imagination of the community.

He said Eureka was what set Ballarat apart from any other city in Australia.

In state parliament last week, Ms Knight called on Premier Denis Napthine to support a program of events and activities.

She said the day was nationally and internationally significant.

“The 150th anniversary was supported by the then Bracks government, which provided funding and created events and activities that engaged the participation of not only Ballarat residents but people across the state and nationally,” she said.

Cr McIntosh raised Eureka at last week’s Ballarat City Council meeting when she called for planning to begin “with plenty of time that we as a city could have the opportunity to prepare for an event of such national significance”.

City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the council was in the process of putting together a program of events for the occasion.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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