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Ballarat Trades Hall Eureka Flag

From the Collection of Unions Ballarat 24 Camp Street Ballarat Victoria

Description
Flag; blue background; white embellishments - cross and stars; framed.
Object Registration
0709
Keywords
btlc, ballarat trades hall, ballarat trades and labour council, mildren, john, miller, david, southern cross flag - btlc, eureka rebellion, trade unions - history, gold mining - ballarat, gold miners, eureka flag - btlc
Historical information

This flag originally flew from the flagstaff on the Trades Hall Building in Camp Street Ballarat on December 3rd 1942. The flag prompted many enquiries to the Ballarat's Courier newspaper. The Courier in reporting that the flag was, in fact, a replica of the original Eureka Stockade flag went on to say that:

"… it (seemed) very strange that the town in which Eureka made a name for Australia and its efforts to get freedom from control for the ordinary man, did not recognise the flag that flew while the first move for freedom was fought out against big odds."

The Trades Hall Eureka flag, made of cotton material, was used in union marches during the 1940s. In later years it had been all but forgotten, until in 1981 it was brought to the office of the then MHR for Ballarat, John Mildren by members of the family that the flag maker had boarded with in Ballarat.

David Miller, who had a keen interest in the Eureka story and was electorate officer for John Mildren, became custodian of the flag for many years and presented it to Ballarat Trades Hall for display.

In 1994 The Ballarat Trades Hall Eureka flag travelled Australia as part of a touring Eureka collection. At that time, the Secretary of the Ballarat Regional Trades and Labour Council, Graeme Shearer said “…The Eureka flag then, as it does now, symbolises the struggle for basic rights and democracy”.

On Wednesday 11th July 2001, following a ceremony to mark the refurbishment of the Galloway Monument, the Ballarat Trades Hall Eureka flag was unveiled at a function in the Ballarat Trades Hall by President of the Ballarat Trades & Labour Council, Rhonda Young, and Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks.

The Trades Hall gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dean Mighell, then Victorian State Secretary of the CEPU/ETU - who was a passionate supporter of the diggers' stand at Eureka - and instrumental in making funds available to assist in Trades Hall's Eureka flag being mounted in the Main Hall of the Ballarat Trades Hall.

As far as we know, this is the second oldest Eureka flag in the world.
When Made
1942
Made By
Ballarat Trades and Labour Council (Maker)
Significance
Union (especially Ballarat Trades and Labour Council) history and Eureka Stockade - Ballarat.
Last updated
26 Mar 2019 at 3:12PM