Eureka should not be politicised, it should be celebrated

TODAY Ballarat commemorates 160 years since the battle of the Eureka Stockade with appropriate pomp and ceremony, yet outside our city not enough will know, or get involved.

It might be unfair to suggest that Eureka does not, or will not, continue to resonate for many Australians.

The almost age-old debate about its influence on Australian democracy and it’s influence on the culture that exists in Ballarat to this very day is always controversial.

Yet it is poorly understood outside a small circle of modern-day followers.

Ballarat is in part to blame.

This year marks an important milestone, yet funding for the commemorations was difficult to obtain and support for activities less than enthusiastic at local levels. 

Not by those who are attached to the story – and there are plenty in this category who remain active in Ballarat – it must be said. 

But there is a sense that community leaders don’t have the same connection to Eureka as once existed.

While we own Eureka on many levels, we get a sense that it is encumbered by the diversity of minorities that claim parts, or all of it, for their own.

Instead of rejecting the events of  1854 on this basis because it is too hard to understand or because their are too many differing opinions, it should be integral to Australian history education in schools, and it should be identified and celebrated by state and federal parliaments on a much deeper level.

We should support with greater gusto the institutions that tell the story.

We cannot forget that people died standing up for a cause, and others in defence of the state, during the battle.  Eureka is not a political plaything that can be categorised or symbolised. It is an event that must be recognised by each and every Australian and those who are thankful for the society we live in today.

Let’s hope the commemoration of Eureka 160 years on is a catalyst for a greater appreciation of those involved and the legacy they have left for the generations to come.

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