Anarchists kick off Eureka 160th anniversary ceremonies

AS dawn broke on Wednesday morning, flames burnt bright at the Eureka Stockade memorial just as they had done 160 years earlier.

A crowd of just more than 30 gathered to commemorate the anniversary at the site at 5am to view the burning of a cardboard effigy of  ASIO director Major General Duncan Lewis - this year's "greatest oppressor of Australian rights and liberties", if you ask Ballarat anarchists.

While the effigy burnt, anarchist Professor Joe Toscano spoke about the Eureka Stockade and urged people to keep it's spirit strong.

"The fact that you are here is showing that you are reclaiming the spirit. Eureka is about rebellion and revolution," Professor Toscano said.

Behind him, a flag emblazoned with the Eureka Oath overlooked the ceremony.

We swear by the Southern Cross 

To stand truly by each other 

And fight to defend

Our rights and liberties.

Effigy creator Graeme Dunstan said the burning was to bring fire back into the commemoration.

"On the morning of the stockade, there was the smoke of gunpowder, smoke of the diggers fires," Mr Dunstan said.