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Issue #1852      December 12, 2018

Eureka and Beyond

Eureka and Beyond was the topic for this month’s Politics in the Pub in Perth (PiP), the last session for 2018.

In celebration of the 164th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, the panel was made up of Bobbie Oliver from the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Perth branch, Meredith Hammat, Secretary of Unions WA and Peter Limb, a historian and activist against apartheid.

PiP-goers enjoyed presentations from the historic background, the politics of the Eureka Stockade to the legacy for the trade union movement today. The speakers were united that there is a need to reclaim Eureka to improve the lives of working people in Australia. History is often told from the “winners” perspective and we have seen the legacy of Eureka slip from the education curriculum and no longer taught in our schools.

The media has also played a role in undermining the significance of Eureka for working people today. The system tries to bury Eureka in history portraying it as an event that took 15 or 20 minutes and ended there.

However, the Eureka Stockade and the sacrifice of those who participated in a multicultural rebellion laid the foundation for our democratic rights and the right to rebel against injustice. The media has ignored the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for their political rights and liberties.

Miners and other supporters fighting against unjust taxes took the Diggers Oath on 29th November 1854 in front of the Eureka flag: “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

Monty Miller was remembered for his role in the rebellion and his lifelong commitment to activism. As an elderly man he faced a prison term for his anti-conscription stand during WW1. A Memorial to Monty Miller has been placed in Garden Bed W, plots 0016 & 0017 at the rear of Serenity Gardens at Karrakatta Cemetery.

Guardian readers who would like to know more about Monty Miller and read his first-hand account can purchase Eureka and Beyond: Monty Miller his own story edited by Vic Williams from the Communist Party of Australia bookshop. ($20 including p&p within Australia)

More than 40 people from different walks of life attended the function, including a number of young people who lamented that they had not heard the stories either at school or university.

Next article – Big Brother strikes again

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