Council review of Eureka celebrations must begin at home

IT IS reasonable to ask why Ballarat’s Eureka celebrations at the weekend attracted such a poor turnout of people.In the days pre and post the December 3 anniversary, a series of functions and events had been organised but very few reported numbers they were happy with.The reneactment at the Old Ballarat Cemetery on Sunday saw just 30 people turn up. At the Eureka Park, fewer than 200 came for public festival.Eureka is a significant event in our history and is still worthy of commemoration on grand scale.This year, however, interest seems to have waned. Mayor Judy Verlin has indicated the council will conduct a full debrief of the events in a bid to determine why numbers were down.Part of the debrief should look at how council itself has promoted the events.Anecdotal comment has been received that events surrounding the week were not widely or well publicised.That is certainly the case in this newspaper’s experience. We received our first media notification from council on December 2 _ the eve of the anniversary.If that is true for all media outlets, then it is little wonder that patrons did not turn out in the numbers hoped for. (And it must be said that it is not the first time late notification has come through from council on major events).Ballarat already tells the story of Eureka exceptionally well through Sovereign Hill.Some 90,000 people visit Blood on the Southern Cross each year, evidence that the story has wide appeal.Clearly, though, capturing the public’s imagination this year has fallen short when it comes to paying homage on the anniversary.It could be argued that the enthusiasm of those who ramped up the Eureka celebrations back in the 1970s has not flowed through to subsequent generations. If the numbers paying their respects each year are to rise, we need to instill in our young people a sense of the importance of the rebellion.The council review will no doubt examine the how and why of that and, importantly and what needs to happen to change it _ because something does need to happen, or Eureka will fade from memory.And that would be a tragedy.
Nanjing Night Net

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