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Australian Postal Numismatic Covers
2004 Perth Mint $5 UNC
150th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade
|The Perth Mint cupro-nickel coloured $5 coin commemorates the
150th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. It is the first base metal Australian legal
tender collector coin struck by the Mint in its 105-year history.
The coin's reverse depicts a frosted image of a miner’s hand with a gold-coloured natural nugget in its palm. A coloured image of the Eureka flag – a blue background featuring the five stars of the Southern Cross constellation connected by a white cross - appears in the background. EUREKA STOCKADE 2004 is also included in the design.
The obverse features Ian Rank-Broadley's effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, and the denomination of $5.
The Eureka Flag is the design of the flag torn down at the stockade by Police Constable John King on the morning of the miners' uprising - Sunday, 3 December 1854.
The torn and tattered remains of this flag is kept at the Ballarat Fine Art Museum.
The "Eureka Stockade" uprising was a short-lived revolt by gold miners against petty officialdom and harassment by a corrupt Police force, who would often ask miners to show their gold digging licenses several times a day. The miners also objected to the high cost of the licenses. Led by Peter Lalor, who later became a respected Victorian MP and Minister, the Eureka uprising was a spectacular failure in a military sense.
The revolt had its roots in the killing of a miner, James Scobie, by a publican. An inquest was held, but despite the evidence of miners, no conclusion was made about who was responsible. Instead, the miners who pressed for the arrest of the publican were taken into custody. This sparked protests by the miners who held many public meetings, and sought to take the law into their own hands by seeking out the publican and burning down his hotel.
When the culprits were arrested and imprisoned, the situation in the goldfields became explosive and expanded to cover general discontent with unequal laws and unequal rights. The miners elected Lalor to lead them, and they built a stockade at the goldfields to defy the authorities. It was at this time the Eureka flag first appeared. Within a few days, a military force of about 300 men had assembled to attack the Stockade, and within 15 minutes of the commencement of the attack, had smashed the stockade and killed many of the rebels.
Today, the Eureka flag is often used as a symbol of rebellion against authority by people at the extreme left and the extreme right of the political spectrum in Australia.
|The card and coin come in a first day cover envelope printed
with an image of the famous Eureka flag.
The stamps are canceled with the postmark :
First Day of Issue, 29 June 2004 Ballarat Vic. 3350
|The Uncirculated quality coin is mounted on a colour card
depicting part of the original Eureka Flag, flown by disgruntled diggers near Ballarat in
1854 in protest against unfair treatment on the Victorian goldfields. Their ensuing
confrontation with government troops, which left many miners dead and injured, is depicted
on the back of the card in a detail from Charles Alphonse Doudiet's painting
'Eureka Slaughter 3rd December 1854'.
The image of the flag is reproduced on a 50c stamp. The accompanying $2.45 stamp portrays an image of Peter Lalor, the leader of the diggers' rebellion, set against Doudiet's picture of the diggers swearing allegiance to the Eureka flag.