fbpx

FLAG OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS: AN ICON

AN ART GALLERY OF BALLARAT EXHIBITION AT THE EUREKA CENTRE

The Eureka Centre, on the historic site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade, explores the cultural impact of the gold rush and tells the stories of the men and women who risked their lives in the fight for miners’ rights.  The Centre is the current home of the Flag of the Southern Cross (The Eureka Flag) which has been part of the Art Gallery of Ballarat collection since 1896. Within its overall presentation of the Eureka story, the Centre features a small exhibition space devoted to presenting Eureka-related work from the Art Gallery of Ballarat collection.

The Art Gallery of Ballarat presents Flag of the Southern Cross: an icon, the first in a series of displays at the Eureka Centre drawing from the Gallery collection. The photographs by Peter Solness in the exhibition were taken in 2003 and 2004. and were bought for the Art Gallery of Ballarat prior to the Eureka 150 celebrations in 2004.

Peter Solness is a multi-award winning photographer, artist, educator and writer. He runs regular workshops and presentations at institutions and festivals.

The photo essay was published in The Age’s Good Weekend magazine as part of the Eureka 150 commemorations in 2004.

THE EUREKA FLAG: A PHOTO ESSAY

There is no flag in Europe or in the civilized world half so beautiful… the flag is silk, blue ground, with a large silver cross; no device or arms, but all exceedingly chaste and natural.

Raffaello Carboni, The Eureka Stockade, Melbourne, 1855

It flew for only five days until it was torn from its staff in the heat of the battle of the Eureka Stockade on 3 December 1854. Taken by the victors as a trophy of war, it disappeared to a country farmhouse, then later a bank vault, and was all but forgotten by the Australian public, for the next 120 years.

Yet the Southern Cross Flag was never really abandoned. The labour movement from the late nineteenth century, understood the power of the Eureka symbol, and what the flag represented – an emblem for those who seek to struggle against tyranny or oppression – and realised its potential as an emblem for street marches and political demonstrations.

In recent decades, its appeal has become far broader than just a banner for disaffected workers and left-wing political activists.

Extreme right-wing groups such as the National Front have adopted the flag. Other groups, such as republicans, artists, bikers, patriots, marginalised youth are aligning their cause to the blue and white of the Eureka flag.

This phenomenon, of how the flag has now jumped the social and political fence of Australian life, is what gives the Eureka Flag its current magic. It serves as a conduit, for everyday people to express their passions.

Part of its charm is that it has no official status, and therefore can be seen hanging from building sites, flying off the aerials of hotted-up utes, or painted on the side of outback letterboxes.

Debate continues in political circles on whether the flag should be formally legislated by Federal Parliament; not just as A national flag, but as THE national flag of Australia – a suggestion scoffed at by conservatives who see the flag as being sullied by decades of inappropriate alliances, particularly with the trade union movement.

But as Ballarat union leader Graeme Shearer said, ‘It’s no one’s flag. It’s a flag that can signify something you believe in. If your endeavour is right and your cause is just, you should be free to use the flag as a symbol in the same way that we do.’

A TATTOO WITH ATTITUDE

Steve Gemmill, then aged 43, was a Wollongong biker and member of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club. He had an image of the Eureka flag tattooed to his right arm, 18 months before.

Peter Solness, A tattoo with attitude, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A tattoo with attitude, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘For me the Eureka flag is a symbol of unity. Bikers need to stick together as a group, and that’s where the flag comes in. If you see another biker on the side of the road, the first thing you do is slow down and maybe stop and say, “Hey, do you need any help?”

‘So that’s why you’ll often see other bikers flying the flag, as it helps us to identify with who we are, and what our common goals are. But I guess I’ve always had a pretty strong attitude about things.

‘I believe that there are a lot of things in Australian society that are not fair and that if we stand together, there’s less chance of being pushed around. If anyone asks me where I get this attitude, I can roll up my sleeve and say, “This is where my attitude comes from, mate”, and show them the tattoo.’

A FRIEND OF THE FLAG

As the Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam federal government, Al Grassby had the Southern Cross Flag flown above Parliament House in Canberra on the anniversary of the Eureka battle in 1973.

Back then, according to Grassby, the government was presiding over what they regarded as an increasingly independent country, not dominated by anybody. It was in this climate, that the Eureka Flag was seen as an inspiration and so it was raised.

Peter Solness, A friend of the flag, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A friend of the flag, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘It was the first time since 1854 that the Southern Cross flew high, and it was over this, our former National Parliament,’ claimed Grassby, gesturing towards Canberra’s Old Parliament House building. ‘And wouldn’t you know it,’ he added with wit, ‘nobody tried to shoot it down.’

Not surprisingly, the former Minister for Immigration sees an important multicultural symbol to the flag:

‘The Southern Cross flag is the most typical flag of Australia. It epitomises what Australia is about. There were people from some 20 different countries under that flag gathered together from all parts of the world, as the gold fields were in fact, a mixing pot of nations.

‘So what were they asking for? Just a dash of democracy.’

Grassby concludes with an appeal to his fellow citizens and parliamentarians:

‘This flag is a national institution, it should be enshrined in legislation, as a flag of honour, and to be acknowledged as such, in every part of Australia and by all Australians.’

THE WORKING MAN’S EMBLEM

Bernie Constable is a shearer, fruit-picker and sometimes political activist, or ‘shit-stirrer’ as he describes himself. He and his family would march every year in the Eureka Diggers March, which commemorated the sacrifice of the diggers of Eureka.

Peter Solness, The working man's emblem, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, The working man's emblem, 2004 © Peter Solness

Bernie is a proud supporter of Australia’s working class struggles, and has sought to pass on those stories and values to his young family. Tucked away in a cupboard at home is this tattered Eureka Flag, which only comes out on special occasions.

‘Back in 1992, this particular flag acted as a rallying point for shearers on the front lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. It was hung from a bush pole and flown above the tents of our protest camps, for over 18 months. We were protesting at the government letting New Zealand shearers swamp our industry with cheap labour. That event is regarded as one of the great turning points for working shearers and culminated in a great revitalisation of the industry.

‘This flag got a lot of work back then, as you can see by the rips. The bottom is shredded and the eyelets have been pulled out of place from the constant battering of the wind. But it served its purpose well.

‘Ever since the 1890s shearers’ strike in Barcaldine, central Queensland, the Eureka flag has been a great rallying point for shearers, and will continue to be so.’

A MOVING STORY

David Reed’s old furniture removal van was a familiar sight around the streets of Ballarat. It was plastered with various renditions of the Eureka flag. While some folks might wear their politics on their sleeve, David, the owner of Eureka Removals and Storage, wore his on this Bedford truck.

Peter Solness, A moving story, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A moving story, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘Most people assume I use the flag on my truck purely as a marketing tool to promote my business, as many local businesses in Ballarat do with some success, but it’s actually a lot less complicated than that.

‘A while ago I started to hear about the miners’ story; how they made a stand against the authorities etc and it got me thinking. I guess I’m a bit of an anarchist in a way, so about 5–6 years ago I thought, “Why not paint images of the flag over my truck as a sign of allegiance to the miners?” So that’s what I did.’

STANDING TALL

Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, photographed in his Sydney offices, had a long association with the Eureka Flag. He officially unveiled the restored Flag at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on 3 December 1973.

Peter Solness, Standing tall, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Standing tall, 2004 © Peter Solness

On that occasion Whitlam congratulated those who helped to preserve and restore the original flag and then added his thoughts on the story behind the flag, and perhaps why the flag is still so popularly embraced by Australians today:

‘Our past is deficient in turbulent events, in the civil convulsions and upheavals that provide for older civilisations a focus for nationalistic fervour and popular emotion.

‘Those symbols and rituals we have, like our parliamentary and constitutional system itself, derive from a quiescent colonial past. I am not one to argue, as some romantics do, that true nationhood must spring from the agony and suffering endured by former generations.

‘Yet it is in the nature of things that an event like Eureka, with all its associations, with all its potent symbolism, will acquire an aura of excitement and romance, and stir the imagination of the Australian people.’

A STAND FOR THE LAND

Heather Goldsworthy is a third-generation farmer in the Baddaginnie district, close to the Hume Highway in northern Victoria. On 12 November 2003 her family received a letter from the Victorian State Government, outlining that their property was within the boundaries of a proposed toxic waste facility.

Peter Solness, A stand for the land, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A stand for the land, 2004 © Peter Solness

The issue ignited the population of this rural community and a meeting of concerned residents was held in the Benalla Town Hall shortly afterwards. As a recognised landowner, Heather was invited onto the stage at the meeting to convey her feelings on the matter. Draped over a piano beside her was the Eureka flag.

‘There’s this sense of powerlessness when governments are standing over you saying, “This is the way it’s going to be”. But you struggle on, because you know that people have fought fights in major battles before, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but at least you stand up for what you believe. That’s why I had the Eureka Flag there beside me on that night.

‘Country people have a strong constitution – we survive fire, floods and drought, and we always bounce back. That strength I believe arose from our forefathers, and particularly from people like the miners, who stood up to the authorities at Eureka. We need to be reminded of that.’

Plans for the waste plant were scrapped.

THE MIDDLE GROUND

John Semmens is a second-hand dealer in Ballarat. He wears this Eureka Flag belt buckle every day of his life.

Peter Solness, The middle ground, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, The middle ground, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘I’ve always been a bit of an amateur historian. I was poking around in a shop in Glenhuntly Road in Melbourne about three years ago, when I came across this buckle. Anyway I bought it and put it on. I got a comment from someone the very next day!

‘I’m not a collar-and-tie man, so what you see is what you get. So now I wear it all the time. The buckle leads to interesting conversations about all sorts of quasi-political issues.

‘Maybe I was trying to make a statement originally by wearing it. But if I did, I have kind of forgotten what the statement was. Now it’s just a part of my everyday dress.’

GUARDIANS OF A TREASURE

Historical records identify trooper John King as the man responsible for seizing the original Southern Cross Flag from its staff during the turmoil of the stockade battle. It was held by the Victoria police for evidence at a treason trial before being returned to King, who was living in Warrnambool at that time. He took the flag with him to Lake Bolac where he had a flour mill and later he brought it with his possessions, when he selected land at Minyip in 1873. It was stored in the family farmhouse on a wheat property in Victoria’s Wimmera district for the next 22 years. It was finally loaned to the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 1895.

Peter Solness, Guardians of a treasure, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Guardians of a treasure, 2004 © Peter Solness

Owen King is a great grandson of trooper John King and currently lives on the same property where the flag was kept for all those years. He is photographed here on the right holding a small half-sized replica, with another great grandson, his cousin John King.

Owen discovered old family correspondence in relation to the flag after his father died in the late 1960s.

‘It’s our family’s claim to fame,’ states Owen. ‘The fact that the family retained the flag and looked after it for all that time – somebody else might have just thrown it out, and it would have been completely lost to the nation.

‘You have to remember that the establishment at the time had very little sympathy for anything to do with the miners’ cause. There were no public institutions who were interested, or could even be trusted for that matter, in preserving such a relic.

‘The sooner the event was forgotten, the better, as far as the establishment were concerned. My great grandfather tried to sell the flag to the Victorian State Library at the time but they didn’t seem interested.’

As descendants of the troopers, the oppressors of the miners’ struggle, the King family have always been reminded that they were on the ‘other side of the fence’, in terms of the Eureka cause. Yet ironically, they are a family who by a chance of events, can be regarded as playing a seminal role in helping to preserve the spirit of the Eureka struggle, by ensuring such a vivid relic of the battle survived.

A SHRINE FOR AN ICON

Visitors who came to witness the original Flag of the Southern Cross at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 2013 could thank Margaret Rich, Director of the Gallery from 1980 to 2003, for devising a thoughtful space for what is an extraordinary relic.

Peter Solness, A shrine for an icon, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A shrine for an icon, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘When I became the director of the Gallery, I got such a shock. I didn’t really know that much about the Eureka story – probably like a lot of other people, I guess. I was amazed at how big the flag was – it really looked like a big abstract painting – and all these people from all over Australia would come in and grab my arm and explain how this flag really meant something to them. “I want to tell you this story,” they would say.

‘At first I was just being polite but then I started reading about it and it really began seeping into my being until I became absolutely passionate about it.’

At that time the flag was perched high on a wall above the stairs, effectively remote from the viewer. Margaret saw the flag as the ‘beating heart’ of the Gallery so in time she started to see that it needed its own ‘shrine’ and worked towards realising that vision.

‘I love this space – it’s very dark, lit only by small fibre-optic lights. It’s a bit like the Leonardo da Vinci cartoon in the National Gallery in London where you go in and suddenly there is this extraordinary thing that glows. It creates an aura of respect, I think. It’s almost spiritual – that’s how I feel about it!

‘I wanted people to go, “Isn’t it beautiful”, and to see all the fine work in the fabrics: the rents, the rips, the bayonet tears, even what look like blood stains.’

I DID IT MY WAY

Twenty-one-year-old Ria Anushka McCaw, is a former art student at Ballarat Secondary College Barkly Street Campus. Her final-year work was a personal interpretation of the Eureka Flag. It was so well received that the Art Gallery of Ballarat bought the piece for the collection.

Peter Solness, I did it my way, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, I did it my way, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘Back then I identified with the flag as a symbol of rebellion as I really felt vilified by people who were judging the way I thought and dressed.

‘I was just different at school and never did accept what people wanted me to be. My friends and I dressed quite radically: bits of punk, bits of grunge, different coloured hair and a nose ring.

‘If you dressed differently in this town the older generation looked down on you, whereas the clean-cut sporty kids, who are more likely to go and get drunk and beat someone up, are the ones they were nice to.

‘So I did this piece just for me. I started off with printing different snapshots I had of everyday life, like hanging out with my friends or mucking around at school. By using liquid light, a type of photosensitive solution, I set photographs into old fabrics and pieced them together into a loosely based design of the Eureka Flag.

‘I saw my friends as ‘the stars in my life’, so I actually made them ‘the stars’ of the southern cross. The piece worked aesthetically because my method was messy and I hadn’t properly stabilised the photographs with fixing solution so it started to deteriorate and look kind of poxy. It came to resemble the way the original flag looks today.’

LET EVERY STAGE

Back in the early 1940s, the caretaker of the Ballarat Trades Hall made a life-sized replica of the Eureka Flag to be used in union street marches of the time. It was also flown above the Trades Hall building and in December 1942 its presence on the city’s skyline re-ignited interest in the Eureka symbol which at the time had all but been forgotten by the citizens of Ballarat.

Peter Solness, Let every stage, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Let every stage, 2004 © Peter Solness

The replica flag serves as a potent backdrop to speakers addressing their fellow union members. The then secretary of the Ballarat Regional Trades and Labour Council, Graeme Shearer explained:

‘When I’m addressing meetings, I’m always looking out to see the body language of people, as they’re looking up at the stage. I’m hoping that the sight of the flag puts everything into perspective – that we are not going to be shot tomorrow for pursuing what we believe.

‘The flag is saying, “Be serious, be committed, but always understand that you are not facing the ultimate sacrifice like those miners did that day.” Their struggle was a magnificent one and they lost their lives, but I believe that it is a salutary message for us all, that struggle is essential!’

Graeme is also aware that the symbol of the Eureka Flag has become closely aligned – some would say defiled – by its association with the union movement. But Graeme has never claimed exclusivity over the flag,

‘It’s no-one’s flag! It’s a flag that can signify to anyone something which they wish to believe in. If your endeavour is right and your cause is just, I believe you should be free to use the flag as a symbol in the same way that we do.’

A STITCH THROUGH TIME

Val D’Angri was working as a textile and sewing teacher in Ballarat in 1973 when a surprise request came from the Gallery. At the time the original flag had been locked away in a bank vault and had not been seen publicly for years. After 120 years of neglect, it was in very poor condition. Val was invited to do conservation work on the flag so that it could be put on public view. She recalls the moment the flag was first brought out for her to assess.

Peter Solness, A stitch through time, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, A stitch through time, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘Two men came out of the storeroom with this great, long roll on their shoulders and laid it down on the floor. As they unrolled it, this beautiful old tatty flag appeared, and I must admit it moved me, it really did. It was just so old, and unloved.

I knelt down beside it and felt it, and I thought, “Oh, this gorgeous old thing. I’ve just got to save it.” So I committed myself then and there.’

In the meantime her husband Norm realised that there were no proper scale-drawings of the flag and went about the important task of recording the flags true dimensions so that accurate replicas could be made in the future.

Val, who later realised that her great great grandmother was one of the three women generally regarded as stitching the original flag together, is keen to ensure that the role of women is not forgotten in the story.

‘The women’s work is magnificent. You can see different thickness thread that they have had to scrounge around to use, as they never had shops to run out and buy these things. The cross on the flag is made from sheetin, which must have come from whatever they had with them in their trunks when they arrived in the gold fields. The stars are made from a very fine cotton which we call a “lawn” or linen and could well be from women’s petticoats. These are the parts that are wearing away quickly. The blue is a woollen fabric.

‘I feel this flag is a proud moment in history for women – blue and white is not a fighting colour. Red usually is, and there’s no red on this flag. It’s a rallying flag. It’s angelic – it looks beautiful, like something that’s up in the sky. It’s just a wonderful piece of women’s art and should be regarded as such.’

EUREKA GRAVES CEREMONY – 29 NOVEMBER 2003

As part of the 2003 Eureka Week Celebrations held in Ballarat, two separate ceremonies were held at the Ballarat Old Cemetery in Macarthur Street, to honour the sacrifices made in the battle.

Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony - 29th November 2003 1, 2003 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony - 29th November 2003 1, 2003 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony - 29th November 2003 2, 2003 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony - 29th November 2003 2, 2003 © Peter Solness

One was held at the graves of the fallen diggers and the other at the graves of the soldiers, who also suffered casualties on the day.

MONSTER MEETING RE-ENACTMENT – 29 NOVEMBER 2003

Members of the public took part in the ceremonial raising of the Eureka flag and swearing of the Eureka Oath, on the 149th anniversary of the Monster Meeting at Bakery Hill.

Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment - 29 November 2003 1 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment - 29 November 2003 1 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment - 29 November 2003 2 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment - 29 November 2003 2 © Peter Solness

It was here that the Eureka Flag first appeared as a rallying point for the Ballarat Reform League.

MEETING OF THE BALLARAT REFORM LEAGUE INC.

History lives on, under the life-sized replica of the Eureka Flag that adorns the wall of the Old Colonist’s Hall in central Ballarat.

Peter Solness, Meeting of the Ballarat Reform League Inc. 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Meeting of the Ballarat Reform League Inc. 2004 © Peter Solness

Members of the Ballarat Reform League Inc. meet here once a month to discuss the league’s affairs. The group are committed to upholding the ideals of the original Ballarat Reform League, which played such a seminal part in the Eureka story.

PORTRAIT OF ANNE BEGGS SUNTER

A tribute to those who are passionate about the Eureka flag would not be complete without acknowledging the work of Anne Beggs Sunter, lecturer in history at Federation University Australia, then the University of Ballarat. She has studied the Eureka story in depth and speaks eloquently about the symbolic value of the flag, about its certain ‘magic’ and about why it has been appropriated by so many seemly conflicting interest groups within Australian society.

Peter Solness, Portrait of Anne Beggs Sunter, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Portrait of Anne Beggs Sunter, 2004 © Peter Solness

‘In essence the flag has been a symbol of struggle and resistance against some kind of ‘perceived’ tyranny, even though to the observer, those tyrannies might seem very confused.

‘For the best part of the nineteenth century, the flag was in fact totally forgotten and had all but disappeared from public consciousness. But in the 20th century you begin to see the flag being used by various political groups, the Trade Unions, the Labor Party and the Communist Party.

‘But that’s only part of the story, because later you get groups like the Republican movement and even extreme right-wing groups like the National Front using it as an emblem.

‘I think such contrasting uses are a part of the magic of the flag, and why it is still such a vibrant and emotive symbol in Australia today.’

ROD RAMAGE, ARTIST

Rod Ramage is a travelling artist and sculptor, who has modified his Holden Commodore wagon to express his artistic passions.

Peter Solness, Rod Ramage, artist, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Solness, Rod Ramage, artist, 2004 © Peter Solness

Eureka flags appear often on Australian motor cars, mostly at ‘ute musters’ in outback towns, in sticker form or hung off UHF aerials. In Rod’s case he used his skills as a muralist to paint one on the passenger side bonnet.

‘I guess I consider myself a rebel artist. I’m out there travelling around the country doing my art for charity and trying to make a difference. That’s why the flag appeals to me.’

PETER LALOR ON THE BALCONY

The Eureka Flag lived on at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, where it was unfurled every night as part of the successful Blood on the Southern Cross show, which ran from 1993 to 2018.

Peter Lalor on the balcony, 2004 © Peter Solness
Peter Lalor on the balcony, 2004 © Peter Solness

Just before 10 pm, Peter Lalor (in this instance performed by actor Bruce Widdop) would climb to the balcony of the United States Hotel to utter the words of the inspirational leader.

THE SURVIVAL OF A FLAG

Flags were a common sight on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s. Flags flew high above the everyday clutter of the miner’s camps, directing citizens to various localities, such as stores, churches and other points of interest.

1854 was a volatile time in the goldfields, with the imposition of onerous mining taxes by the recently-formed Victorian government. Miners were being driven to despair.

The Southern Cross Flag, which measured 4 m x 2.6 m and was probably sown by miner’s wives in the goldfield tents, first appeared as a rallying flag when it was hoisted upon an 80-foot high flagpole at Bakery Hill on 29 November 1854. The flag guided thousands of diggers to a Monster Meeting of the Ballarat Reform League, an association of aggrieved citizens who were dedicated to the ideals of democratic rights and determined to root out the evils of the goldfields’ administrative system.

The League believed that it was the ‘inalienable right of every citizen, to have voice in making the laws he is called upon to obey, and that taxation without representation is tyranny’.

It was at this same gathering that Irish miner turned leader Peter Lalor, holding his left hand on the muzzle of his rifle and raising his right hand, called on those present to swear allegiance to the League’s new flag. He invited those present to swear an oath, that ‘we swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties’. After that, the assembled crowd burned their miners’ licences, determined to resist the goldfields’ authority. The flag’s potency, as an emblem for the disaffected, was realised.

Three days later, a defensive stockade was completed by the miners. Early the following morning, on Sunday 3 December 1854, the stockade, with the Southern Cross flag aloft, was attacked by troopers and police. At least 30 people lost their lives.

In the melée, one of the troopers, John King, tore down the flag and offered pieces as mementos of the event to staff and friends at the Ballarat police camp. Apart from its use as evidence in a treason trial, the flag remained in John King’s farmhouse for the next 41 years until his widow, Isabella King, offered it on loan to the Art Gallery of Ballarat (then the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery) in 1895.

Another 78 years passed while the flag languished in back rooms, bank vaults and on occasions was even further defiled by pairs of scissors, as bits were snipped off by a kindly but misguided custodian who presented ‘souvenirs’ to visiting dignitaries – according to some observers it was knocked about more in those days at the Gallery than during the heat of battle.

In 1973, after careful cleaning and restoration, it was framed and put on permanent public display at the Gallery and a whole new chapter in the flag’s story began. At last the Australian population could witness and contemplate this extraordinary relic of our colonial past.

Peter Solness
2004

Image credits:

Peter Solness, A tattoo with attitude 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat  © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, A friend of the flag 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat  © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, The working man’s emblem 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat  © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, A moving story 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat  © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Standing tall 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, A stand for the land 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, The middle ground 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Guardians of a treasure 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, A shrine for an icon 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, I did it my way 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Let every stage 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, A stitch through time 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony – 29 November 2003 #1 2003. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Eureka Graves Ceremony – 29 November 2003 #2 2003. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment – 29 November 2003 #1 2003. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Crowd Scene during Monster Meeting Re-enactment – 29 November 2003 #2 2003. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Meeting of the Ballarat Reform League Inc, 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Portrait of Anne Beggs Sunter, 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Rod Ramage, artist 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

Peter Solness, Peter Lalor on the balcony, 2004. colour print on archival matte paper. Purchased, 2004. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat © Peter Solness

CLOSURE

Due to the state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Ballarat has closed its public facilities including the Eureka Centre. 

If you need to make contact with the Eureka Centre, please email eurekainfo@ballarat.vic.gov.au 

THE EUREKA CENTRE

Usual opening hours

Centre open daily, 10 am–5 pm 
Café open daily: 10 am–3.30 pm

Eureka Centre, 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat, Victoria 3350

COST

Entry: Adult $6, Concession $4, Family Pass $18. City of Ballarat residents and Art Gallery of Ballarat members are free on provision of photo ID.

Guided tours (10+) and school groups by arrangement.

Selected works

0

Start typing and press Enter to search