In 1854 there was growing disquiet on the goldfields of Ballarat. Miners were required to pay a monthly gold licence regardless of how much gold they found. Without voting rights, the miners were powerless to change or protest against these laws. As the year progressed and events unfolded, this disquiet became a rebellion - known as the Eureka Rebellion, which came to a head at the Eureka Stockade at 4 am on Sunday 3 December 1854.
The events surrounding the Eureka Stockade happened at a site that is now known as Eureka Stockade Gardens. The people of Ballarat set the Eureka Stockade Gardens aside in the 1870s as a reminder of the events that took place in 1854, and in 2004 the Gardens were given further recognition by inclusion on the National Heritage List.
The National Heritage List has a set of nine criteria by which all potential inclusions on the List are measured. These criteria were created to ensure that all of the places that are on the register help us to tell stories about people or about the land. These places should have ‘outstanding heritage values’ and help us to understand something about the nation’s past.
The Eureka Stockade Gardens have been assessed against the below criteria, and accepted on the basis of the following:
The site’s national importance in Australia’s cultural history – The Eureka Stockade has become a symbol of democratic protest and national identity.
The site carries evidence of a rare aspect of Australian cultural history – Excluding Indigenous resistance to colonisation, it is rare to find other examples of organised insurrection in Australia’s history.
The site’s potential to contribute further to our understanding of Australia’s cultural history - Through a wealth of archaeological evidence.
A strong and special association for a group for cultural reasons – This rebellion - the things that it opposed and the things that it changed - is celebrated by many Australians as the catalyst for a move towards more egalitarian and democratic state and universal suffrage.
The place has a special association with the life of a person important to Australia’s cultural history – Wounded at the site was rebellion leader and subsequent parliamentarian Peter Lalor.
Preservation of the site will help future generations to interpret the past and the present, and help us better understand an event that has had an enormous national impact.