Friday, February 18, 2011

The Ballad of Eureka


Words: Helen Palmer
Tune: Doreen Jacobs
1950







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They're leaving ship and station,
They're leaving bench and fold,
And pouring out from Melbourne
To join the search for gold.

The face of town and country
Is changing ev'ry day,
But rulers keep on ruling
The old colonial way.

"How can we work the diggings
And learn how fortune feels
If all the traps forever
Are yelping at our heels?"

"If you've enough," says Lalor,
"Of all their little games,
Then go and get your licence
And throw it on the flames!"

"The law is out to get us
And make us bow in fear.
They call us foreign rebels
Who'd plant the Charter here!"

"They may be right," says Lalor,
"But if they show their braid,
We'll stand our ground and hold it
Behind a bush stockade!"

There's not a flag in Europe
More lovely to behold,
Than floats above Eureka
Where diggers work the gold.

"There's not a flag in Europe
More lovely to the eye,
Than is the blue and silver
Against a southern sky.

Here in the name of freedom,
Whatever be our loss,
We swear to stand together
Beneath the Southern Cross."

It is a Sunday morning.
The miner's camp is still;
Two hundred flashing redcoats
Come marching to the hill

Come marching up the gully
With muskets firing low;
And diggers wake from dreaming
To hear the bugle blow.

The wounded and the dying
Lie silent in the sun,
But change will not be halted
By any redcoats gun.


The Eureka Stockade was erected by miners in Victoria protesting against increased licence fees. It represented one of the first large-scale armed revolts against colonial authority. Although short-lived, it remains a vibrant feature of Australian history, romanticisedand adopted by the Left and by nationalists in various ways. There are many sources of information about the Eureka Stockade. This link is a reasonable starting point.

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