A legend of the Ballarat goldfields has a new memorial.
Morgan Lee, who was a Eureka rebel before going to direct mining companies and take part in various other enterprises, has a new grave in the Ballaarat New Cemetery.
His great great grandson Ron Egeberg said it had long been a plan to renew the gravesite of him and his son, which had been unmarked.
“It’s something my mum and I had talked about a long time ago,” he said.
Mr Egeberg said his mother was too affected by Alzheimer’s disease to see the monument, but he was happy to have finished it while she was still alive.
Members of the Lee family came to the cemetery on Saturday to see the grand unveiling – from under a Eureka flag – and the consecration of the grave by St Alipius priest Father Adrian McInerney.
Mr Egeberg said his ancestor’s work at Eureka and in the years following it extended beyond just Ballarat.
“It’s just important for me to acknowledge family, and also acknowledge the contribution of Morgan Lee and really the people of Eureka who made such a difference to the Australian way of life,” he said.
Mr Egeberg’s mother Eileen did contribute to the ceremony, even if she couldn’t be there.
He read out a prayer she had transcribed for him.
“May there always be work for your hands to do, may your purse always hold a coin or two,” he said, with words that would have also resonated with Mr Lee, who through his own labour became Ballarat’s first millionaire.
But the grave will not just be a monument to Mr Lee, who died in 1883 at the age of 72.
Mr Egeberg and his partner Brent Thomas will also be buried there.
He described it as getting the burial arrangements “out of the way”.
They have left room on it for inscriptions for the two men and their dog.
The story of Morgan Lee is symbolic of many who brought their entrepreneurial spirit to Ballarat.
Mr Egeberg prepared a history of his life before the unveiling on Saturday.
“After the tragic loss of his wife and child during the 1840s Irish potato famine, (Mr Lee) came to Australia as a fugitive from those tragic circumstances to start a new life,” he said.
“He arrived in South Australia and worked on a farm for a year before venturing to Ballarat, where he became a digger and a Eureka Stockade rebel, and later, a mine owner, a gentleman and a community leader.”
The new epitaph notes his various roles in Ballarat but also gives him a fitting and final statement.
“At rest beneath the South Cross.”