A symbol of the collective movement of workers needs to be on display, says union hall

Update: Ballarat City Council has stated it will not be bidding for the remnant.

Victorian Trades Hall Council is launching a fundraising drive in an attempt to buy a remnant of the Eureka Flag.

Going to auction: the descendant of a stockade member, Adrian Millane with the fragment of the Eureka Flag going to auction on Monday. Victorian Trades Hall wants to buy the piece. Picture: Jeremy Bannister.

Going to auction: the descendant of a stockade member, Adrian Millane with the fragment of the Eureka Flag going to auction on Monday. Victorian Trades Hall wants to buy the piece. Picture: Jeremy Bannister.

The professionally-verified fragment of the historic symbol is being auctioned on Monday in Melbourne.

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A descendant of the original owner of the flag remnant says his forebear was given the 85mm x 40mm piece personally by Peter Lalor. Adrian Millane says his great-grandfather, Francis William Joseph Breen Hanlon, was a ‘bosom friend’ of the Stockade’s leader.

Luke Hilakari is the secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall.

He says he wants Trades Hall to buy the tiny piece of cloth and put it on permanent display.

“Our view is that Victorian Trades Hall, established five years after the Eureka uprising, is the home of worker’s rights and collectivism in Victoria,” says Mr Hilakari.

The Eureka Stockade was the first time workers in Victoria took democratic, collective action against unfair and discriminatory practices at their workplace. What they fought for is what we still fight for today.

Luke Hilakari

“As such, any available piece of our movement’s flag should be safely couched within the walls of Trades Hall, where it can be displayed, protected and admired by all of the public. We want it to hang in the People’s Parliament, where every day, workers continue the struggle for rights and justice.”

Mr Hilakari says the piece of the Eureka Flag should not be in the collection of a private buyer, where its value and significance may not be appreciated or shared. 

He’s launched the campaign on  fund-raising website raisely.com and approached union members to donate to the cause.

“This piece belongs at Victorian Trades Hall – but it’s going to cost a small fortune. I am going to the auction on Monday and need as much money as I can to make sure I can return to Trades Hall with something special,” he says.