December the 3rd this year is the 168th anniversary of the Battle Of Eureka Stockade in 1854 on the Australian goldfields around the Victorian town of Ballarat between rebel miners fighting against an overbearing government and colonial police and military forces. According to the National Museum Of Australia website, “At least 22 diggers and six soldiers were killed.”
In a letter to the people of Victoria, the Rebels leader, Peter Lalor, wrote: “As the inhuman brutalities practised by the troops are so well known, it is unnecessary for me to repeat them. There were 34 digger casualties of which 22 died. The unusual proportion of the killed to the wounded, is owing to the butchery of the military and troopers after the surrender.”
According to Wikipedia: “The Commission of Inquiry would later find that:
“The foot police appear, as a body, to have conducted themselves with creditable temper; but assuredly, on the part of the mounted division of that force there seems to have been a needless as well as ruthless sacrifice of human life, indiscriminate of innocent or guilty, and after all resistance had disappeared with the dispersed and fleeing rioters.” “
Mark Twain wrote this about the rebellion: ” I think it may be called the finest thing in Australasian history. It was a revolution – small in size; but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for a principle, a stand against injustice and oppression. It was (an example of) small beginnings …….. great in political results (and) epoch-making. It is another instance of a victory won by a lost battle. It adds an honorable page to history; the people know it and are proud of it. They keep (alive) the memory of the men who fell at the Eureka Stockade, and Peter Lalor has his monument.”
For me, in modern day Australia, the Saturday freedom protestors who have taken to the streets of Melbourne every week for over a year have quite a few things in common with the rebels at Eureka.
Emma La Chanteuse, pictured above at last Saturday’s protest, is a modern day rebel and freedom fighter on the streets of Melbourne.
The police violence and intimidation which is still regularly directed against citizens in modern Melbourne rarely involves the gunfire, battle and violent death seen at The Battle Of Eureka
But I believe that the loss of life from the police backed human rights violations in recent pandemic years is much higher than the death toll at Eureka.
For those of us who are fighting for truth on matters like this the struggle ahead is long, hard and terrifying.
We are not working with good government. we are fighting against evil, overbearing government.
We need postives to keep us fresh and strong.
Beautiful young Emma La Chanteuse is one such positive presence in this freedom movement for me.
Her smile makes my heart sing and picks me up out of frequent, deep despair to make me feel strong again.
Geoff Fox, Melbourne, Australia, 2nd December, 2022