The “Eureka Stockade” mural by Sir Sydney Nolan (1917-1993) is exhibited in the ground floor foyer of the Reserve Bank of Australia building at 60 Collins St in Melbourne. It was completed in London in 1965 and it fashioned in jewellery enamel on copper panels. It is 20 metres long by 3.6 metres high on 66 panels, using 102 kg of enamel on 1.5 tonnes of heavy gauge copper sheet.
It is a line drawing in enamel executed by the artist with fingers and thumbs in the manner of primitive “sand paintings”. The panels were then fired at 800˚C and then cleaned and fitted to one another so that a transparent enamel could be laid on top. The panels were then re-fired at different temperatures to give the background different shades of colour. Two enamellers collaborated with the artist on this work: Patrick Furse and Robin Banks, using Ms Banks’ studio.
The Eureka Rebellion in the year 1854 was a historically significant organised rebellion of gold miners of Ballarat against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom. The Battle of Eureka Stockade (by which the rebellion is popularly known) was fought between miners and the Colonial forces of Australia on 3 December 1854 at Eureka Lead and named for the stockade structure erected by miners during the conflict. Resulting in the deaths of at least 27 people, the majority of which were insurgents, it was the most significant conflict in the colonial history of Victoria.
The event was the culmination of civil disobedience in the Ballarat region during the Victorian gold rush with miners objecting to the expense of a Miner’s Licence, taxation (via the licence) without representation and the actions of the government and its agents (the police and military). The local rebellion in Ballarat grew from a Ballarat Reform League movement and culminated in the erection by the rebels of a crude battlement and a swift and deadly siege by colonial forces.
Mass public support for the captured rebels in the colony’s capital of Melbourne when they were placed on trial resulted in the introduction of the Electoral Act 1856, which mandated full white male suffrage for elections for the lower house in the Victorian parliament, the second instituted political democracy in Australia. As such, the Eureka Rebellion is controversially identified with the birth of democracy in Australia and interpreted by some as a political revolt.
This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,
and also part of the Monday Murals meme.