The Eureka Stockade was a critical event in the history of Ballarat with consequences for the State of Victoria and ultimately for the Australian nation. The Ballarat community, The State Government of Victoria and the Federal Government all have a responsibility to see that those events are remembered and reflected upon forever. The current arrangements whereby the Ballarat City Council does all the heavy financial lifting is untenable. The cost needs to be shared with the State and Federal Government. It is not reasonable to argue as Catherine King did in Parliament, that we paid to set it up, the running costs are yours. Such an argument does not apply to hospitals or schools and should not apply to art galleries or museums. At the Federal level, our government needs, at this time in our history, to do more, a lot more, to promote an understanding of how our Democracy was achieved. Here is their chance. Steve Bracks tells us that Eureka was the birthplace of Australian Democracy. Would he be happy to see it closed or tuned into office space for bureaucrats? At the State level, surely the Member for Buninyong would not want to see a museum devoted to the story of how men gave their lives to extend the rights of the common person, closed. The miners of Ballarat deserve better. The Ballarat community also needs to throw its support behind the Eureka Centre. I suggest that the Ballarat City Council provide every rate payer with one free family pass to Eureka when they pay their rates. Ballarat people should then visit Eureka. They should make a donation, they should peruse the gift shop and they should eat at the cafe. They should also 'shout' their visitors to the experience of Eureka. The Eureka Centre deserves support from the community of Ballarat and from all levels of government.
Doug Bradby, Tutor, U3A Local History Class
I could scarcely believe what I was reading. The museum MADE to close unless funds could be found! What a disgrace! God only knows how much revenue the council pours into hosting events that have little or no cultural or historical value. And to the citizens of Ballarat, why aren't you here in droves? The facility is family-friendly, educative and sits in beautiful surroundings. The cafe is affordable, caters for various dietary needs, have friendly staff and is doggy friendly. So, as a fairly recent arrival to Ballarat, I can comfortably say I am dismayed. If this was Melbourne, this facility would be utilised to the maximum. Question to Council and Board: Why was this facility not offered to the Organ Festival? Not only does it have a theatre, but it also boasts a natural outside amphitheatre. Why is everything weighted to the other side of town? The grounds here could be used for regular summer and autumn events, theatre productions, outdoor cinema, and craft and food markets. There is nothing more pleasant than enjoying the arts under an open sky. Artists could come to some financial arrangement with the museum. I also think back wistfully to the dog walking groups in Melbourne and their organised walks culminating in refreshments at a dog-friendly cafe. Doggy chinos being part of the course. Why doesn't the council hold Australia Day celebrations at MADE, and new citizens being welcomed can learn of the struggles of our early settlers and the Eureka Uprising. I am sure this would resonate strongly with many of the folk we welcome, some leaving countries where democracy has not been realised. So come on Ballarat, lift your game! Don't sit back and let this unique place close, adding to your unemployment problems. Show some civic pride and put your heads together to save this wonderful and underutilised venue.
Irna De Loche, Ballarat East
Barnaby, just walk the plank mate. You have done a huge amount of damage already to your wife, your children, your lover, your electorate, your party, your government, and the Federal Parliament of Australia. We are not the Italy of Silvio Berlusconi or the France of Francois Hollande. We deserve better of our Deputy Prime Minister. For the sake of all those personally involved - and for the sake of the country - just do the right thing now and just walk.
Craig Barrett, Creswick