Eureka anniversary marked

Published on LCDR Mark Lucking (author), CPOIS David Connolly (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base West, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Ballarat (F155)

HMAS Ballarat Ship's Company with the 'Eureka' flag displayed in front of the 5-inch gun turret. (photo: CPOIS David Connolly)
HMAS Ballarat Ship's Company with the 'Eureka' flag displayed in front of the 5-inch gun turret.

The ship's company of Royal Australian Navy Anzac frigate, HMAS Ballarat, have reconnected with their ship's motto on the 161st anniversary of the Eureka Stockade.

Considered by many as the birth of Australian democracy, a rebellion took place in the Victorian town of Ballarat in 1854, when the local gold miners objected to what they considered unfair licensing laws, corruption and a lack of representation in government. The objection culminated in the miners burning their mining licenses and forming a makeshift stockade.

Commanding Officer Ballarat, Commander David Landon said that every one of his crew understood the relevance of the motto 'defend the flag'.

"The first Australian flag, the Eureka flag signifies the birth of Australian democracy and with the return of HMAS Ballarat to operational service in the new year it is fitting that we now unite behind our flag and prepare for the challenges ahead," he said.

The crew marked the anniversary with a short presentation and video on the events of 1854. Though determined, the miners proved no match for the British government forces who swept through the stockade in the early hours of 3 December 1854. Even though the miners were defeated the rebellion brought about changes to the unfair licensing and property laws. This event also saw the Southern Cross or 'Eureka' flag hoisted for the first time. This flag remains an important part of Ballarat's identity and is reflected also in the ship's patch.

Ballarat is progressing her anti-ship missile defence upgrade.