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Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, The by Clare…
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Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, The (edition 2014)

by Clare Wright (Author)

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637324,095 (4.06)3
The story of the Eureka rebellion may be one of modern Australias foundation myths, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there. As Clare Wright reveals, there were any number of women at large on the goldfields, many of them active in pivotal roles.
Member:Colesa
Title:Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, The
Authors:Clare Wright (Author)
Info:Text Publishing Company (2014), Edition: Reprint, 560 pages
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The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

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For someone who grew up in Australia, I have read very little about the Eureka Stockade. I'm sure I would have been shown the location while on a grade five school camp to Ballarat, but I have much stronger memories of dressing in period costume at Sovereign Hill and learning to write on a slate. Miners' rebellions over such dull things as taxes just don't rate with children, it seems.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, therefore, is the first in-depth account of the Stockade, and all of the events—major and minor—that led up to what occurred in Ballarat in December 1854. It's very well suited to me, too, as the focus is largely on the women of Ballarat, and it is largely a social and political history, rather than a military history of events.

Clare Wright's writing style is contemporary, informal, and often poetic. She makes extensive use of quotes from diaries, letters and newspaper reports, so that the words of the people she's talking about occupy almost as much space in the book as do her own. The formatting of the ebook edition I read made it difficult to distinguish block quotes from standard text, which was unfortunate and occasionally confusing, but I very much appreciated Wright's commitment to allowing her subjects to speak for themselves where possible.

There is a lot of information here, so the book does feel very lengthy, and I found the first part less engaging than the latter parts, which were more focused on Ballarat itself. This isn't a primer, but rather a collection of voices that is obviously the end product of an enormous amount of research.

I'm still not an expert on miners' rebellions, but I come away from reading The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka knowing a lot more about the people involved with this rebellion in particular, and having a greater sense of why the Eureka Stockade is so often considered an important event in Australia's history.

This review originally appeared on my website.
  Tara_Calaby | Sep 24, 2020 |
This is the kind of book the Stella Prize is all about - something I'd never have picked up without the prompt of the long list that turned out to be a fascinating account of a moment in Australia's history I knew surprisingly little about. In focussing on the role of women, Wright shifts the story from the standard outline we all learned about at school and brings new and intriguing insight to bear on the goldfields, the Eureka movement and the nascent women's rights movement of the time. It's long and at times dry, but there's a lot to like here. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
The story of a very interesting time in Australia's history. Unfortunately I found this book heavy going and did not finish it. It seemed to be a very long book that rambled on and on and did not hold my interest. I have read much better accounts of this historical event. ( )
  lesleynicol | Nov 17, 2015 |
Lively, Stella prize-winning history of the Ballarat goldfields exposing the role of women on the fields and in the Eureka Rebellion before, during and after. For my full review, please see Whispering Gums: http://whisperinggums.com/2014/11/09/clare-wright-the-forgotten-rebels-of-eureka... ( )
  minerva2607 | Dec 20, 2014 |
In December 1854 Australia saw one of its most significant uprisings in its history known as the Eureka Rebellion. This act of civilian disobedience in Ballarat, Victoria was a protest to the expensive miner’s licence been imposed on them. The miner’s licence fee was a way around the taxation problem in the mine fields, allowing the Victorian government to provide infrastructure to the stockade. The miners didn’t see the fee this way and found it to be extortion; everyone had to pay the same amount no matter if they found gold or not, in fact you paid even if you weren’t a miner.

The Eureka Rebellion (or protest) led to the Battle of the Eureka Stockade, where police and British soldiers stepped in to break up the protest. This battle didn’t last long (around 15 minutes) but the effects were lasting. This piece of history has been taught in good high schools (not mine obviously) but it has always been focused on the men involved, even though about 40% of the mine fields consisted of woman and children.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright is an attempt to remind people what happened and tell the untold story of the forgotten rebels. The term ‘herstory’ can be thrown around when talking about this book. My problems with this book was personal, I grew up in a small mining town that often talked about the gold rush in the 1870’s. I’ve heard enough about mining to last me a lifetime and I’m just not interested in the topic.

However I had to read this book for book club, so I made an effort and while I did find some interesting stories it felt too much like a chore. It didn’t help that the book started off as narrative non-fiction and turned into a text book half way through. In hindsight, the introduction was all I really needed to know about this piece of history, the rest just offered extra information.

I have to give the book credit to the huge section of endnotes found at the back. I respect a book more if they reference their work but I don’t seem to share the same concern with fiction. My concern however is the fact that the majority of references are second hand accounts of the Eureka Rebellion. It is true that most firsthand accounts of the rebellion were destroyed but I can’t help but take the information with a big grain of salt; it is like Chinese whispers.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Award, a literary award for Australian women writers similar to the Baileys Women’s Prize which is possibly the reason we read this one for our book club. In fact, since the next book is All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyle which one the Miles Franklin Award (Australia’s biggest literary award), I have no doubt. If you are interested in Australian gold rush history or the forgotten tales of women in a key historical events then try The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/09/09/the-forgotten-rebels-of-eureka-by-cla... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 8, 2014 |
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Hosking, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The story of the Eureka rebellion may be one of modern Australias foundation myths, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there. As Clare Wright reveals, there were any number of women at large on the goldfields, many of them active in pivotal roles.

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