DUE to predicted inclement weather conditions many outdoor celebrations to commemorate Eureka Day at the Museum of Australia Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) on Sunday, were cancelled, but the 163rd anniversary of Eureka was commemorated with an official service in the theatre.
Extra chairs had to be brought in and people lined the back walls and stairs, many coming to listen to special guest and author of Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution, Peter FitzSimons, who presented the Peter Tobin oration about the legacy of the Eureka Stockade.
M.A.D.E Chair Kaaren Koomen opened proceedings, in part saying, “Today we are commemorating the men and women who lost their lives during or because of the events of Eureka Stockade on this very day in 1854.” “The Eureka story is an essential part of Australian history; it’s an essential event on a journey on our democratic system.” City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the story of Eureka was unique because it is our story, the story of gold, part of Ballarat’s story, part of the National story.
“That’s why we commemorate it each year,” she said.
But they had to listen to Peter FitzSimons and I don’t think anyone was disappointed.
A passionate and entertaining speaker, Mr FitzSimons had young and old captive as he wove the Eureka story and spoke about his passion of seeing Australia become a republic.
He spoke about the Eureka flag ‘our most precious relic’ and how, in his opinion, it made the Museum of Australia Democracy at Eureka the most important civic institution and one that we all must support.
“Like most Australians I didn’t understand the wonder of the story (Eureka) and also the Eureka flag,” Mr FitzSimons said.
“It’s for all of us to claim the Eureka flag.” “What happened at Eureka became the light on the hill for liberal democracy around the world –people do actually have the power and when you give them the power it works.” This led to the topic of a republic movement.
“If the Governor General walked through that door now he would not be representing the people of Australia us, he would be representing the power of the Queen of England,” he explained.
“Under the current system the Prime Minster selects the Governor General and then asks the Queen of England if it’s okay.
“The new system I would love to see is we stay as the Commonwealth of Australia, the Governor General remains, everything stays the same, except the prime minster chooses the Governor General and they ask the parliament of the people if it’s okay.
“Power flows from the people.” Following the service a plaque was unveiled in the M.A.D.E foyer to commemorate the 4000 women who worked and lived on the Ballarat goldfields.
Due to the other cancellations a special family day will be held at a later date.