In 2014, Ballarat community members created a replica of the Eureka Flag to mark the 160th anniversary of the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebellion. The community flag was made to the scale of the original Eureka Flag. The creation of this replica flag was an epic undertaking. Many people joined in the stitching sessions, including members of the Ballarat Branch of the Embroiders Guild of Victoria and the Ballaarat Quilters Inc.
The community flag was raised on 3 December 2014 in the grounds of the Eureka Stockade Memorial Park to mark the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. It is widely believed by many that three women made the original Eureka Flag: Anne Duke, Anastasia Hayes and Anastasia Withers. Two descendants of Anastasia Withers, seamstress Val D’Angri and artist Fiona Crawford, were active in leading this project. Several Eureka descendants contributed to stitching the flag including direct descendants of Anastasia Hayes, Jane Gardner and her sons, Sean and Daniel Weigall,
Val brought with her extensive knowledge gained from her pivotal role in the first conservation effort on the original Eureka Flag in in 1972. Quoted in The Courier in 2014, Val said of the community flag project, “When I am sewing the replica flag, I can’t help but think of the work of my great, great grandmother and the strength of women from that time and feel humbled to be recreating a piece of history,” she said.
The community flag was exhibited in an unsupervised public space for almost five years and accumulated many surface marks. It has recently returned from Artlab in Adelaide where it received conservation treatment, including spot cleaning and the creation of a storage and display system to ensure its long-term protection. The community flag is now cared for as part of the Eureka Centre collection.
The replica Eureka Flag is much loved by those involved in its creation and who witnessed it being raised on the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. The flag is an important part of the history of the commemoration of the Eureka Stockade.
Image: John Englart EAM, photographer, ‘160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, 3 December 2014’ (detail). Courtesy of John Englart, takvera.blogspot.com