Eureka 54, 1908

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Eureka Play 1908

Ballarat Courier Tuesday, 27th January 1908. Page 3



“EUREKA STOCKADE” The Eureka Stockade had been witnessed in Ballarat in different forms during the 55 years' history of the settlement. Firstly, there was the "real Mackay," when the late Hon. Peter Lalor (then plain "Peter") led the aggrieved diggers in their revolt against an unjust tax and a tyrannical and oppressive officialdom, and in their stirring, if ill-advised, conflict with the better-armed and finer-disciplined regulars of the 40th Regiment, the result of which is now enshrined in history. Later the dramatised version of the Stockade was presented to Ballaratians, and last evening the up-to-date and ubiquitous biograph 'essayed to reproduce the scene and its exciting and history-making episodes. So few of the "old-timers" who actually witnessed or participated in the riot now live to tell the tale, one has largely to rely on the varying and more or less reliable accounts of the conflict; but last night’s representation seemed quite realistic enough, although it is well within the public memory that but a few months ago the whole "Eureka Stockade" was re-enacted with all the "horrors" of actual warfare at the behest of the enterprising biographist, who now desires to show the world how Ballarat practically took the first step in liberating the laws of this, perhaps the most democratic land in the world. If the Eureka Stockade is remembered more favorably for one thing, it is on account of the important political changes wrought by the stockaders, as a spectacular affair by biograph it is most interesting and entertaining. Like the dramatist, the biographist has given relief to the more tragic episodes of the Stockade by imparting a little comedy, and the entertainment as presented last evening evidently fully satisfied the large holiday audience at the Theatre. The first section of the Stockade pictures depicts a London shipping office, where passages to Australia are being, purchased. Then the road scene to Ballarat is presented, and the arrival of new chums at "Poverty Flat" is witnessed. The succeeding pictures are characteristic of a rough diggings that Ballarat was in its day. The second section deals with incidents of the diggers' life, leading up to the important events which preceded the outbreak, the most exciting of which was the murder of Scobie, the burning of Bentley's hotel, and the flight of boniface and his wife. The third series presents the diggers organising for their revoke against the military.

The building of the Stockade is seen, as well as the operations of the spy, Henry Goodenough, who, subsequently meets the fate of most captured spies being shot whilst endeavoring to escape from an alert digger. At length the first shot is heard and the soldiers attack the Stockade and finally storm it, following by marching off with the captured diggers. As showing the developments and progress of the city of half a century, a view of Ballarat in 1907 is given, the biograph taking one side of Bridge and Sturt streets from an electric tram car. With the exception of one or two glimpses of the thoroughfare, the broad expanse of Sturt street is missed, which is a pity, seeing that the pictures are destined for the old country, and would, if the finest street in Australia had been shown to better advantage, constitute a good advertisement for Ballarat. Good pictures of the unveiling of the Lalor statue and the 7th A.I.R. on the march are given. The Stockade pictures are preceded by a variety of moving views, embracing humorous and descriptive subjects, and the concluding series are most entertaining. During an interval last evening Mr Rupert Cuthbert contributed a couple of vocal items tastefully. The biograph is under the management of Mr Cornwall, of Melbourne; and he and Mr Con. Burrow, of Ballarat, had charge of the management. The pictures will be shown again this and tomorrow evening, when the tour of the provinces will be continued.

Ballarat Courier 28th January 1908. page 5 A coincidence was presented at Her Majesty’s Theatre last evening in the biographic reproduction of the unveiling of the Lalor statue in connection with the Eureka Stockade pictures. The statue was unveiled originally on Foundation Day about 14 years ago; and last evening the biograph repeated the ceremony on the anniversary day.

Ballarat Courier 28th January 1908. Page 6

AMUSEMENTS HER MAJESTY’S THEATRE “EUREKA STOCKADE” BY BIOGRAPH The second biographic production of the Eureka Stockade at Her Majesty’s Theatre last evening was witnessed by another large audience, and the entertainment was thoroughly enjoyed. When Australians tire of bushranging exploits and convict settlement episodes by drama or biograph, there is the Eureka Stockade, the only battle between whites on record in Australia, to interest them, and when it is considered that the Stockade, which cost the lives of a score or more good brave men, was practically responsible for the granting of the reasonable rights of mankind, it will be spoken and thought of more because of its sentimental associations rather than the on the constitution. But however viewed, and whatever the motives or the consequences the history of the stockade furnishes capital material for the biograph. And good use of it has been made by Mr C.A. Cornwall, of Melbourne, who with the aid of a host of supernumeraries had the riot fought over again to afford the present generation an idea of the great struggle of the “roaring fifties.” The Stockade pictures, as on the previous evening, were supplemented by a variety of views, mostly humorous, and further variety was lent by the vocal efforts of Mr Rupert Cuthbert, a pleasing baritone singer, which met with due appreciation. The season will close tonight, as the pictures are to be shown at Allendale tomorrow night, Creswick on Friday, and Daylesford on Saturday as advertised.

Transcribed by Chrissy Stancliffe