The Eureka precinct pistol is one of the artifacts recovered from the Eureka Center's building site. Apparently, in 1996, the Ballarat city council resolved to build an interpretive center as a way of commemorating the events which took place in that area. The designers of the center chose the old lead as the location of the new facility. This was aimed at minimizing the damage to locations of original stockade. During the construction, Vincent Clark-the lead architect was able to note the existence of ground surfaces associated with the gold rush era and tailing deposits. Vincent's analysis also revealed the existence of prospecting shafts and shepherding holes. From the laminated silt deposits, Vincent concluded that the excavation took place between 1854 and 1860s. It was the close analysis of the silt deposits that resulted in the discovery of the Eureka Pistol and other artifacts. This report highlights the historical significance of the percussion pistol which was found in the Eureka precinct.
What is significant?
The pistol of the Eureka precinct is a significant tool. The pistol has a large barrel which contains other six smaller barrels which were developed from a single steel block. The barrel is designed in a manner which allows it to spin around a central shaft. Further, a pan headed screw situated at the end of the muzzle ensures that the rod and the barrel are properly secured. In essence, the tool represents a percussion pistol also regarded as a pepperbox developed in the early 19th century. The pistol is effective for self-defense purposes. According to O'brien, Garcia, and Lawrence (2005), the tool was developed in the 1830s primarily for civilian defense. The pistol later gained popularity due to its ability to make multiple shots.
How is The pistol of the Eureka significant?
According to O'brien, Garcia, and Lawrence (2005), artifacts discovered from the site were deemed of great importance due to their association with the gold rush period. Apparently, the activities which took place during the period had a huge impact on Victoria region ranging from economical, industrial to cultural. Nauze (1967) corroborating the above assertions highlight how the gold rush resulted in rapid population increase during the period. According to the author, between 1852 and 1856 immigration picked at 45,000 people per year which represented a steep rise from 10,000 immigrants annually in previous years (Nauze, 1967). The discovery of gold in Victoria was apparently the biggest driver for the influx of immigrants. Consequently, the immigration saw a radical shift in cultural, economic and political dimensions of the region. Essentially the period represented a turning point in Victoria's history and as such, the discovery of artifacts from that period is considered a significant aspect.
As indicated earlier the artifacts discovered dated back to the 1850s. Apparently, this was the period when lead was discovered in the region. According to O'brien, Garcia, and Lawrence, (2005), the fill deposits recovered from the holes consisted of numerous antiques. The age of the artifacts was consistent with the period between 1854 and 1860s when lead mining took place in the area. According to the author, it was immediately determined that the artifacts were extremely significant as attributed to the fact that there were few similar deposits. In other words, the deposits which consisted the pistol and some leather footwears were determined as being of great significance as there were no similar artifacts from the period.
The significance of the artifacts is further heightened by the fact that they were discovered in a region where the Eureka stockade took place. Ostensibly, the Eureka stockade is regarded as being one of the most significant historical events in Victoria region and by extension entire Australia. As stated by Walshe (1953) the Eureka stockade represented the birth of democracy in Australia as attributed to the fact that the people were able to rise against the oppressive colonial powers. In as much as the miners were vanquished by the colonialists, their uprising sent a clear message that they were no longer willing to be mistreated. The chief secretary of the colonial office-chief Foster- resigned after the uprising. According to Walshe (1953), the secretary was shocked at the criticism of his administration by the miners. Such aspects apparently lead to the subsequent achievement of equal rights for all citizens through the passage of a constitution. In addition to that Victoria and South Wales were able to acquire self-rule and determination a fact which significantly improved the quality of life. From Gollop's (2007) perspective, the stockade resulted in the transfer of real power to the people. According to the author, the uprising hastened the country's achievement of democracy. Seemingly the activities of the slaves made the colonialists to rethink their approach to the management of the country. Therefore the Eureka stockade is regarded as being a decisive moment in the country's history.
Cottle and Keys (2008) on the other hand highlight how the Eureka stockade gave rise to radicalism and uprisings against oppression. In other words, the Eureka uprising represented the beginning of opposition against oppression. According to the authors, the Southern Cross which was used by the miners has often used by other groups opposing oppression. Consequently the ability to acquire tools from that period and specifically from the region where the uprising took place, is regarded as a significant historical achievement. In addition to that, the Eureka Stockade has affected how people react to oppression in the contemporary society. As indicated by the Cottle and Keys (2008) since then people have become more courageous in the confrontation of perceived dictatorship or maltreatment. Gollop (2007) corroborate the above assertions by highlighting how the current Australian political landscape is informed by the resolutions of the Eureka stockade. According to the author, some within the political landscape believe that they are yet to have real control over their country. The determination to change Australia into a republic is one such resolution. Apparently, the backers of this move insist that the miners who participated in the Eureka stockade desired to have control over their affairs, a fact which has been partially achieved. In this case, therefore, the major driving force behind the determination for improved control over the country is the sacrifice made by the miners during the uprising. Therefore, having a symbol of the period helps to strengthen the resolve of the political participants in their quest to achieve improved the country's democracy. In this case, therefore, the Eureka pistol plays the role of symbolizing the struggle.
It was also deemed of great importance due to their preservation. According to O'brien, Garcia, and Lawrence (2005), the chance of finding such type of tools well preserved in a terrestrial site is extremely unusual, and the recovery of a pistol all the more. Pistols are predominantly made of metals which are bound to rust and corrode within a short time. In the case of Eureka pistol, however, the artifact has managed to stay solid for a very long time. This fact also implies that it would be very difficult to find other similar types of artifacts as attributed to the time which has elapsed. Such facts help to increase the significance of Eureka pistol.
Why is the pistol of the Eureka significant?
As highlighted above, the percussion pistol's discovery was significant due to the period the fact that it was associated with the period when Victoria was experiencing immense changes both its history culture and even development. In addition to that, the pistol is an example of the type of personal property owned by people who existed during the period. Apparently, firearms were a common tool during the excavation process. This assertion is attributed to the fact that the use of weapons during the period is well documented in historical records. Those who traveled to the area brought such tools for personal protection. Seemingly the transportation of valuable minerals would have heightened the chances of attack during transit. Therefore it was necessary for those involved to get armed. According to Kelly (1859), percussion guns was one of the most common commodities sold in goldfield shops. It was also a ritual among those who took part in the gold mining to fire shots in the evening. Snell, Griffiths, and Platt, (1988) state that on a typical evening up to 1500 shots could be fired in the air. Some people regarded the shots as indicators of a lucky discovery, some deemed it a warning to potential thieves and marauders while others thought that it was the best way to ensure that the gunpowder was always dry. According to O'brien, Garcia, and Lawrence, (2005) despite the widespread documentation in historical records, there is no gun which is has been recovered archeologically from the region. The pistol recovered from Eureka region is, therefore, a rare archeological representation of a tool which was once very common.
In addition to that, the Eureka pistol has been dated to have originated from Ballarat in the 1850s. The analysis is assisted by the existence of other artifacts with which it was found in Eureka. Such existence of strong historical and archeological link to the region is exceptional as other artifacts which have been found around the region have been difficult to date. The 1850s period as indicated earlier was characterized by numerous changes in the countries socioeconomic structure. As indicated by Nauze (1967) the discovery of gold in Eureka resulted in an influx of immigrants who keen on benefiting from the economic activities which accompanied the discovery. These assertions are corroborated by Welch (2003) who highlights the movement of Chinese immigrants into the new lands. According to Welch (2003), the immigrants were however subjected to difficult conditions such as segregation. Similar to Chinese all the other miners experienced difficult working conditions which resulted in exist of the former. Most miners resorted to carrying out the stockade as a way of communicating their disagreement with the way they were being treated by the colonialists. The stockade apparently was one of the major aspects that led to the attaining of independence for both South Wales and Victoria and consequently the development of Australia as it is today. In addition to that, the rebellion has become identical to equal opportunity and fair place concepts in the contemporary Australian society. Besides that, the Eureka flag has been integrated by different associations as a symbol and recognition of the efforts of those who took part in the rebellion. Eureka precinct is also associated with some of the most iconic legends in Australian history such as Peter Lalor and Eureka.
The Eureka pistol is of immense historical significance. Ostensibly, it represents a period and region (the 1850s and Eureka respectively) where activities of significant historical importance took place. Specifically, the Eureka Stockade is one of the major historical activity which took place within the period and place where the pistol was located. The stockade apparently resulted in the elimination of some barriers and legislation which had contributed to the oppression of Victoria residents. Besides the elimination of oppression, the uprising brought about independence to Victoria and South Wales. The uprising was a clear indication that the locals where no longer willing to be ruled and controlled by the colonialists. The opposition to external rule as such made the colonialist to rethink their approach in the region. Essentially these activities had a significant impact on the achievem...
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