“The Conception”

DECEMBER 15,1851

On Forest Creek 12,000 came in 1851
Conceived a justice, spawned a cause, a freedom to be won.
A flag was raised, the justice scales an ensign of their cause
A twig may break – a bundle strong, they called for better laws.

Insidious the licence forced, the principle unjust,
The cry of “Joe” would herald in the hunt to serve a lust.
Whilst then oppression ruled the day, a diggers voice did cry –
“Be steady to your purpose boys but keep your powder dry”.
“If noonies come their guns to hold oppression for their keep,
Then put them in your cradles boys and rock them off to sleep”.

Three years from that conception, a gestation wild yet slow,
A pregnancy of turmoil on the streets of Bendigo.
A bloody battle fought December 1854,
A battle lost – a battle won now in Australian lore.
For fate would draw a victory from the jaws of bitter death,
For 24 so brave and bold the fruits of their last breath.

Until this day “Eureka” speaks of courage in a cause,
Of truth in a democracy, of justice in our laws.
Foundations for a constitution irony would eke,
From breeched birth at Eureka, the conception Forest Creek.

Howard Penberthy, “Rose Cottage”, Taradale.

Copyright November, 2001


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