Lists (None yet)

Login to create lists

Tagged (None yet)

Add Tags

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

1 correction by anonymous - Show corrections

BALLARAT REVISITED

SOME GOLDEN JUBILEE RECOLLECTIONS Beautiful Statuary and Wonderful Gardens

(By J.S.H.)

^AMONGST the multitude of attrac tions which commanded the atten tion and the admiration of the dele gates to the Golden Jubilee of the Australian Workers' Union which was celebrated recently in Ballarat there were, perhaps, none more admired than the beautiful gardens and the wonderful statuary which greeted

them on every hand. Not alone in the magnificent three chain street which is perhaps the most prominent feature that first meets the attention of the visitor do we find splendid avenues and gardens and statues, but in many other parts as well, but particularly in the mag nificent Botanical Gardens do we find many of the city's most exquisite artistic examples.   Sturt street itself may be justly described as an avenue of gardens and statues, because almost from the foot of that gorgeous thoroughfare carriers wended their way we find many statues and monuments of early historic *ignificanc« and beauty. -The

first that attracts the attention of the visitor is that of the Galloway monu ment, which was erected in the early days in memory of William Galloway, the founder of the Eight Hour Move ment, at ^which all the Eight Hour procession^ were marshalled, and in from whieh most of the Labor propa gandists spoke in the days before the Trades. Ifell and later the A.W.U. hall were available; There is many a one growing on in years in the Labor Movement to-day who remembers with pride the spec tacular processions and the rousing rallies associated with this historic fepot, and' the marvel with many to-day is the infinite pains and care that were devoted to the organisation of trade displays from which the bakers scattered their newly-baked buns, the printers their interesting leaflets and dodgers, and the butchers their saveloys and small goods to the immense delight of the populace, and particularly those of the younger section. It was from this monument, too, that the crowded street heard the speeches of men like Tom Mann, Ben Tfllett, and others whenever they arrived amongst us, and with unfail ing regularity assembled every Satur day evening to hear some aspect of the 'Labor Movement discussed by promi nent speakers. And when election (times came round, with what en thusiasm was Labor's campaign promulgated from this quarter — the (centre of the city in which from the Tory earliest times tke opinion of the

community was so evenly divided that on numerous occasions only a matter of a bare handful of votes separated the victor from the vanquished. Further up the street, and first re moved from the Galloway monument, is a very ornate memorial in the shape of a spacious band stand, erected by the citizens of Ballarat to the memory of the bandsmen ot the Titanic, the gigantic linei which struck -a« -ice— - berg in the North Atlantic and went down with so many distinguished people on board. The tradition is that as that splendid vessel was sinking, the bandsmen assembled on deck and played to calm the fears of the pas sengers and crew until the final plunge. In commemoration of that heroic episode tht memorial was erected. '-- Theliext status in Sturt Street that claims our attention Js that of the poet, Burn^, which is directly oppo site the General Post Office and which faces the Burke and Wills monument, a very ornate fountain suitably in

scribed, to the memory of that ill fated expedition. The statin* «f Burns, which looks particularly well at night, is described as one of the best of its kind in Australia, and one authority claims that it is unsur passed as a representation of the Scottish bard by any other statue in the world. Wills memorial, in what might be termed tile city's central block, 16 a very ornate equestrian statue by Bertram Mackennal, in commemora tion of the South African War; and further on there is a massive replica of a statue of Queen Victoria; -and several exquisite little marble pieces set at various points of vantage in the gardens, and which are really too good and too delicate for such exposed positions. Thert are several of these also in the next block, mostly repre senting Greek goddesses, and copies of well-known works of art. Facing east there is a very ornate statue of Tom Moore, the Irish poet, carried out on exactly the same lines as those followed in regard to the Burns statue already mentioned Of course, it can well be imagined that the statue of Burns was donated by the Scottish residents, and that of Moore by the children of Erin, of whom there ap peared to be quite a large percentage of the population, particularly in the very early days of the goldfields. The next statue, occupying probably the most commanding position of all, is that of Peter Lalor, the command

er-in-chief of the diggers who fought at J^uieKa. 'ia.s t.ai.ue, which is of bronze, and in tht heroic style repre sents Lalor as Speaker of the Legis lative Assembly. It stands on a mas sive gi'imitt- p. iu btul, at the base of which on each of the four sides, there are Uugt bronze panels in low relief showing the fight at Eureka: the entry of Lalor into Parliament's ^premier position: and the names of those who fought beside him and who fell at the Stockade. This statue, which at times has Hbeen the source of keen controversy was erected to the memory of Lalor and those who fought with him^ by James Oddie, himself one of the earliest and most successful diggers on Ballarat, and a man who always held theinsurgent commander in the highest respect. There 'are~others, however, who' have not been so enthusiastic, and on 4wo-ocoasiott--at leant attempts havc~ been made to destroy this statue of Lalor by means of explosives. On die last occasion the foot was blown

off, but was eventually replaced by the indignant citizens. Now it is not certain whether these attempts to de stroy the statue of Lator were actu ated -fay— patriotic motives carried to fanatical extremes or whether they were directed against the character of Lalor himself. Some there are who consider that he should have been diggers and in the garb of a digger instead of in the wig and robes of his office as Speaker of the Legis lative Assembly. Anyhow, whatever the motive, it is not difficult to ima gine even at this juncture that he was always the storm centre of many conflicting views. Not a few of the diggers considered that Lalor even tually let them down in Parliamet when, in December, 1886, two years after Eureka, he voted against man hood suffrage in the Legislative As sembly, holding that freehold suf frage was virtually manhood suf frage. A few weeks later, when chal lenged in the Press to explain his position, he wrote: 'I would ask these gentlemen what they mean by the term 'democracy'? Do they mean Chartism, or Communism, or Repub licanism? If so, I never was, and I am not now, nor do I ever intend to be, a democrat. But if a democrat means opposition to a tyrannical press, a tyrannical people, or a tyran nical Government, then I have ever been, I am still, and I always will be, a democrat.1*

But there is no doubt, as one his torian of the day puts it, Lalor 'had grown more sober since the days in the latter half of '54 when a pro gramme of principles not much unlike Chartism and a Declaration of Inde pendence were adopted by the leaders nf the day.' ? However this may be, it is certain that Lalor was one of the directors of the Lotharia mine at Clunes when, in 1878, an attempt was made to intro duce Chinese to take the place of miners who refused to take a virtual reduction of wages, and it is not on record that he raised a hand to pre vent his co-directors and the police introducing the 'yellow agony' when they were beaten out of the town by 500 members of the Miners' Associa tion, headed by the Clunes Brass Brand. In the circumstances, it can quite be understood that, despite his heroic stand at Eureka and his able and resolute leadership of the diggers right through their trouble, subse quent events caused him to lose a lot of ground in the minds of the real true democrats of those days. But, nevertheless, the statue of Lalor stands in Sturt Street, Ballarat, to day, a commanding resolute figure in a commanding position, and because of his strength and tenacity at Eureka the citizens mostly are prepared to overlook, if not forget entirely, his subsequent weaknesses.

Zoom

plus
thumb
minus
left
thumb
right
up
thumb
down