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Title: Memorial to the Eureka Stockade
Location: Ballarat Victoria
Client: Vic Gov
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'MEMORIAL AT THE EUREKA STOCKADE'
"Memorial to the Pikeman's Dog", Bronze, Blue Stone, Steel, Eureka Stockade, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia 1999
- The spirit of loyalty and self-sacrifice as embodied in the story of the Pikeman's Dog was commemorated on December 3rd 1999, the Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade Rebellion, in Ballarat, Victoria, in a Memorial by Irish born West Australian Sculptors, Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith.
- Attended by many Australian Government and Church Leaders and representatives of the 15 Nationalities who took part in the Rebellion of 1854, the Memorial was unveiled by the Irish Ambassador, Richard O'Brien and the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks. The Pikeman's dog was posthumously awarded the Purple Cross for courage and loyalty from the RSPCA, an award last conferred on Simson's Donkey. This little known hero, was owned by an Irish Digger, who, armed with a pike, died in the battle. According to contemporary accounts, the dog howled continuously after his dead master.
- " Upon this fatal Sunday morning, when strife was practically over, I visited the scene, I saw eleven bodies lying upon the ground, to be recognised by relatives or friends ( some had been taken away before my arrival). I saw the little terrier whining piteously beside his dead master. While viewing this solemn scene a dray arrived in which was placed the body of the man who in life was the owner of the dog. When the little dog saw his master removed his grief knew no bounds. These interested tried to drive him away, they could not beat him back. He got into the dray and sat on his master's breast, revealing in most unmistakable language that his master was taken from him. No human being could have lamented more at the loss of their dearest relative or friend than that affectionate and faithful dog bewailed the loss of his master. Though fifty years have passed away, this pathetic scene is still vivid in my memory as though it occurred yesterday. This one of those scenes which time cannot efface:- "
Geelong Advertiser 6/12/1904
- Although the essence of the Memorial concept is distilled into the poignant story of the Pikeman's Dog, the imagery is extended to encompass a wider visual reference, in order to metaphorically illustrate those visual elements which form the background to the tragedy.
- The centerpiece is the bronze Irish Terrier. His stance, is a direct expression of his forlorn anguish, as he sits at the base of a symbolic bronze Pike, his head turned towards the place where once his master stood. The Pike represents this man and is angled forward to visually reinforce the overall dynamics of the Memorial concept. Behind are 15 posts, representing the Stockade itself, but also stylized to express, graphically, a sense of thrusting energy and the violence which led to the death of the Pikeman and his comrades. These symbolic 'posts' are formed in steel and finished in gold, suggestive of the underlying cause of the conflict. The number 15, represents the number of Nationalities involved. The entire group is fixed upon a raised platform of local Bluestone which is formed into a triangular shape to reinforce the aggressive 'thrust ' of the Memorial. Simulated broken edges represent the tortured terrain of the 'diggings' and the broken ground from which the gold was extracted, with so much hardship and toil.