“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties . . .”
The Eureka Oath, made on November 30, 1854, is hailed by many historians as the birthplace of Australian multiculturalism and mateship. On that day, immigrants from 19 nations came together under a non-British flag – the Southern Cross – and swore to defend their rights and liberties, heralding the start of democracy and the notion of a “fair go” that underpins our nationhood today.
The events are commemorated at the Eureka Centre in Ballarat in western Victoria.
Further up the hill – Sovereign Hill, to be precise – is a replica of an 1850s goldfields town, where the period truly comes alive. And each year at the end of November, Eureka week is held to mark the events of more than 150 years ago – including a daily Blood On The Southern Cross sound and light show that tells the dramatic story of the uprising, set on Sovereign Hill’s 64-acre site.
Did you know?
Of the 119 men arrested after the storming of the Eureka Stockade, 13 were charged with treason. All 13 were acquitted.
How to get there
Qantas and Virgin Blue have regular flights to Melbourne from most major cities in Australia.
If you arrive by plane into Melbourne you can catch the Ballarat Airport Shuttle Bus.
By car, Ballarat is a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne, on the Western Freeway.
V/Line has frequent train services to Ballarat from Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station) in Melbourne.
Best time to go
Detailed info on the Eureka Stockade and Ballarat
Australian Government website on the Eureka Stockade
Detailed visitor info on Ballarat by Ballarat Tourism
Official website of Sovereign Hill
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.