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The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka : The Stella Prize 2014 Winner - Clare Wright

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

The Stella Prize 2014 Winner

Paperback Published: 8th May 2014
ISBN: 9781922182548
Number Of Pages: 560

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The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.

What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?

As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.

Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.

About the Author

Clare Wright is an historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Industry Reviews

`This is a wonderful book. At last an Australian foundation story where women are not only found, but are found to have played a fundamental role.' -- Chris Masters
`Brilliantly researched and fun to read. An exhilarating new take on a story we thought we knew.' -- Brenda Niall
`Fascinating revelations. Beautifully told.' -- Peter FitzSimons
'Lively, incisive and timely, Clare Wright's account of the role of women in the Eureka Stockade is an engrossing read. Assembling a tapestry of voices that vividly illuminate the hardscrabble lives endured on Ballarat's muddy goldfields, this excellent book reveals a concealed facet of one of Australia's most famous incidences of colonial rebellion. For once, Peter Lalor isn't the hero: it's the women who are placed front and centre...The Forgotten Rebels links the actions of its heroines to the later fight for female suffrage, and will be of strong relevance to a contemporary female audience. Comprehensive and full of colour, this book will also be essential reading for devotees of Australian history.' * Bookseller and Publisher *
'The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka offers us a full cast of flesh-and-blood women who belong in any telling of the Eureka story, and in any account of Australian goldfields life.' -- Robyn Annear * Monthly *
'Clare Wright's revisionary history of the Eureka stockade is immediately entrancing. A social history of the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria circa 1854, it recreates the landscape as one of bustling domesticity, commerce, theatre and constantly shifting authority. It is a far cry from the stories and images of my school history books which portrayed a shanty town of tents and men.' * Guardian *
'This history is based on impeccable research....The book makes a strong case for the forgotten rebels of Eureka, and it brings to life the experiences of so many young immigrants to Australia in the 1850s. It has been handsomely produced with illustrations, detailed references and index, making it an excellent addition to libraries. Women, in particular, will enjoy this refreshing new look at Eureka, that champions the female role in the development of Australian democracy.' * Sydney Morning Herald/Saturday Age *
'With her new book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, historian Dr. Clare Wright has taken a huge step towards a more truthful examination of the Stockade and its players...What this book does is lay down a new way for women...to view themselves, and for all of us to understand our past through truth rather than reliance on myth.' * King's Tribune *
'A must-have book to add to your collection. Comprehensively researched, throughly illuminating account of the hardships, highlights and the sheer determination of the women of Eureka that shaped our national consciousness.' -- Nicole Maher, Great Escape Books
As Wright points out, for too long Eureka has been a masculine myth. Women's presence has never been fully explored. Indeed, their absence has been assumed. Her work fills an enormous gap. Furthermore, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka supports her claim that women's presence does not just add colour to the picture, it changes the very outline.' * Weekend Australian *
'In The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka [Wright] presents a refreshing take on the 1854 rebellion, by sharing the untold stories of the men, women and children who were there.' * Walkley Magazine *

Eureka from a Different angle.


An excellent reference for all interested in Eureka, particularly about the women who were there. good index and bibliography. Pictures are relevant and interesting.



Fascinating Australian History


It is a shame that the writing of this book is so uneven because the content is fascinating. Parts of the book are great and then other parts are difficult to understand and follow. it's worth reading to learn about our history.

Perth, Western Australia


What, women in the goldfields?!


An eye-opening account of the lives of the women living, working and running businesses in the Victorian goldfields. A breathtaking journey from beginning to end. I didn't want the book to end.

Gold Coast, Qld


enjoyed it but its is not a novel


different format than i expected. Very readable very informative and well researched. not a holiday book but excellent for the commuter

central coast NSW



4.3 4


What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learned about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if their wives and families weren’t far away across the watery wastes, but right by their sides? What if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, standing up for their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of military-issue bullets?

And what if the soldiers who were firing upon civilians—including women—were themselves husbands and fathers, with their wives and babes not two miles away crouched within a sand-bagged government camp?

How do the answers to these questions change what more than one hundred and fifty years of Eureka scholarship, commemoration and celebration have taught us about the so-called ‘birthplace of Australian democracy’?

Who—in fact—were the midwives to that precious delivery?

ISBN: 9781922182548
ISBN-10: 1922182540
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: 8th May 2014
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 4.5
Weight (kg): 0.71

Clare Wright

About the Author

Dr Clare Wright is an award-winning historian and author who has worked as an academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Award for Literature and was shortlisted for many other awards.Clare has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and as a broadcaster in both radio and television. She was the Executive Officer of the History Council of Victoria from 2003-2004

Visit Clare Wright's Booktopia Author Page