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Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

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Classroom Ideas

The following activities and questions are  suitable for students in Years 5 – 8

Education Activities

  • Divide the class into half, one half diggers, and the other half Gold Commissioners or authorities. Organise for students to argue the case for and against the licence hunts.
  • Imagine you are a Gold Commissioner on the goldfields. Write a report to the Governor informing him of the conditions of the goldfields.
  • Imagine you are a digger on the goldfields. Describe what your daily living conditions are like.
  • Select a key figure in the story of the Eureka Stockade and write a small biography, including the role they played in the uprising. For example, Raffaelo Carboni, J.B. Humffray, Peter Lalor, or Lieutenant Governor Hotham.
  • Using the website as a guide, construct your own timeline of the events that led to the battle.
  • Compare the attitudes to the Eureka Stockade of those living in Melbourne, as opposed to the view of events held by the diggers.
  • Imagine you are one of the deputees sent to speak to Lieutenant Governor Hotham. What issues would you raise with him?
  • Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper in which you express your thoughts and feelings about the diggers’ plight and the way in which the authorities handled the situation.
  • Describe what you think this poem by Timothy Hayes would have meant to the diggers:
    ‘On to the field, our doom is sealed
    To conquer or be slaves:
    The sun shall see our country free
    Or set upon our graves.’ 

Questions to Consider

  • What was the purpose in forming the Ballarat Reform League?
  • According to Captain McMahon why were the diggers so frustrated with the authorities?
  • How did the Eureka Stockade help shape Australia?
  • Why do you think the thirteen prisoners tried for treason were not found guilty?
  • Do you think the diggers’ actions were treasonous? Why or why not?
  • Many of the diggers on the goldfields came from different countries, inluding Germany, France and Italy. Why do you think the authorities held these foreigners responsible for the outbreak?
  • Raffaello Carboni had fought in wars against oppression overseas. What, if any, impact do you think he would have had on the other miners?
  • Why were the diggers so determined to get the right to vote and what was the attitude of the authorities towards this idea?
  • Peter Lalor is recognised by most as the leader behind the diggers’ movement. Which other people played a significant role in the events of the Eureka Stockade?
  • Do you think the battle at Eureka was influenced by the miners’ desire for democracy or republicanism?
  • Why was the Southern Cross flag so offensive to the government and so symbolic to the diggers?
  • What was the role of the Gold Fields commissioners, and why do you think they were so despised by the diggers?
  • Why was the meeting on Bakery Hill so significant – what did it represent to both the authorities and to the diggers?
  • Why did the miners gather at the Eureka hotel and what prompted them to destroy it?
  • Could the miners have avoided violence in an effort to achieve their objectives?
  • How has the legacy of Eureka affected the way we live today?

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