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Eureka - The Political Legacy

The events of Eureka reveal the complex political culture of diggings society during the 1850s. It could be argued that the local political culture that emerged in central Victoria during the 1850s continued to define community attitudes until Federation – 50 years after both the monster meeting in December 1851 at Golden Point, near Chewton, and, more notably, the events at Bakery Hill in December 1854. After all, the people of the Mount Alexander region returned a higher vote for Federation (and greater independence) than any area in Australia.

Although they may have been just echoes, half a century later, the political attitudes of the miners formulated in the 1850s are said to have found expression on the Kalgoorlie goldfields in Western Australia, and it could also be argued that it was the ‘yes’ votes of these miners that determined the result of the Federation referendum in Western Australia. Likewise fluctuating, yet ultimately hardening, attitudes towards the Chinese over the same time period culminated in the introduction of the White Australia policy in 1902.

Keir Reeves

Carboni, Raffaello, The Eureka Stockade: the consequence of some pirates wanting on quarter-deck a rebellion, Printed for the author by J.P. Atkinson, Melbourne, 1855. Details
Clark, C. M. H., A history of Australia, vol. 4, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1968. Details
Healy, Chris, From the ruins of colonialism: history as social memory, studies in Australian history, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1997. Details
Hocking, Geoff, The Red Ribbon Rebellion! The Bendigo petition, 3rd-27th August, 1853, New Chum Press, Castlemaine, 2001. Details
Pickering, Paul, ''Ripe for a Republic': British Radical Responses to the Eureka Stockade', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 34, no. 121, 2003, pp. 69-90. Details
Reeves, Keir James, 'A hidden history: the Chinese on the Mount Alexander diggings, central Victoria, 1851-1901', Thesis, University of Melbourne, 2006. Details