IN LATE 1854, the goldfields of Ballarat are in open revolt against a Victorian government that has been heavily taxing the miners while treating them as mere vassals. Worse, the government has been sending out troops on armed ”licence hunts”, manacling those diggers not in possession of expensive mining licences.
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Matters come to a head on the morning of November 30, when shots are exchanged during yet another licence hunt.

That afternoon 10,000 miners attend a ”monster meeting” on Bakery Hill. It is here that the diggers elect Peter Lalor to lead them. The Irishman quickly calls for an armed insurrection.

”I want you, Signore,” Lalor says, gripping the hand of Raffaello Carboni warmly before pointing to a group of French and Italians who are without weaponry. ”Tell these gentlemen, that, if they cannot provide themselves with firearms, let each of them procure a piece of steel, five or six inches long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrants’ hearts.”

Hundreds of men step forward to affirm their willingness to fight, as Alfred Black – who Lalor names as his ”Secretary of War” – notes down the names of each of the companies, together with those they have elected to be their ”captains”.

The men in their six companies, with their captains in front, form up before the podium. Lalor raises his right hand towards the Southern Cross, palm facing outwards, and indicates that he wishes them to do the same.

”It is my duty now to swear you in,” he begins, his words rolling over this international sea of hard men, ”and to take with you the oath to be faithful to the Southern Cross. Hear me with attention. The man who, after this solemn oath, does not stand by our standard, is a coward in heart. I order all persons who do not intend to take the oath to leave the meeting at once.”

Not one man leaves.

Lalor removes his hat, kneels and raises his right palm outwards to the flag, their flag, and says in a forceful tone with measured pace, ”We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other, and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

The sea of men, their heads bowed, their hands raised, repeat the words with a throaty rumble, ”WE SWEAR BY THE SOUTHERN CROSS …” and follow the pledge with a unanimous ”AMEN”.

Carboni would record the wondrous look of the men at this moment: ”The earnestness of so many faces of all kinds of shape and colour; the motley heads of all sorts of size and hair; the shagginess of so many beards of all lengths and thicknesses; the vividness of double the number of eyes electrified by the magnetism of the Southern Cross; was one of those grand sights, such as are recorded only in the history of ‘the Crusaders in Palestine’.”

It is done. For the first time since the colonisation of this land began seven decades earlier, the fealty of a large body of colonists has been sworn to an entity other than the British crown. Instead, these men have sworn loyalty to each other, to their rights and liberties, and to this land beneath the Southern Cross.

Realising they need more men to help, emissaries are sent to nearby goldfields, such as Creswick, to ask for men with guns to rush to Ballarat.

Late evening, November 30, 1854

There is just something about the Scottish digger Tom Kennedy, a man who knows how to move the masses.

On this occasion, in Creswick, he has been so strong once again that he really has got them moving, marching, on the way to Ballarat. And, of course, he is at their head, wildly waving a sword as he leads the way.

As the armed diggers march out of Creswick, the German band accompanying them strikes up the tune of the wonderful French national anthem and battle hymn, La Marseillaise, the most famous revolutionary song of them all. And so they go, some humming, the French among them singing: ”Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrive.”

Perhaps the day of glory really has arrived – but the binding force upon these antipodean marching men is a little further along in the song: ”Contre nous, de la tyrannie, l’etendard sanglant est leve, l’etendard sanglant est leve!” Against us tyranny’s bloody flag is raised, the bloody flag is raised.

In Ballarat, Lalor has instructed his men to build a ”Stockade” – a higgledy-piggledy rectangular barricade composed of slabs of wood placed broadly upright but ”at a great slope facing outwards”, and anything else that comes to hand. The roughly four-foot high barricade surrounds a rough four acres of land. After all, if the government can have their enclosed ”Camp”, which lies on the other side of the large gully from Eureka, then the diggers can also have their own defensive enclosure.

Friday morning, December 1

Lalor gives the order for the military drills to recommence in earnest, and the 1000 men now inside the fortifications set to with a will, engaging in exercises that lift in intensity when word arrives that heavily armed redcoats are heading this way.

No matter that this proves to be a false alarm. Even if the troopers are not attacking now, it is obvious to all present that it is only a matter of time. Fortunately, more and more diggers keep pouring into their Stockade. In some ways they are like an army, but in one key way they are different. This nascent army has men from all over the world – men of entirely different cultures and levels of education. As later described by Carboni, ”We were of all nations and colours.”

Their points of unity, however, far outweigh their points of difference. Together, they are diggers; they are mates. They have worked together, suffered together, rejoiced together, and now they are united in their common disgust with an iniquitous government and a corrupt police force that have attempted to crush them.

They want democracy. They want the right to buy land.

The men in the Stockade finally take a breather in the heat of the day for lunch. One man who has no time to stop, however, is swarthy German blacksmith, John Hafele. He keeps working feverishly before his roaring furnace, making vicious-looking pikes – sharpened metal spikes secured to eight-foot poles – which he promises will most definitely ”fix red-toads and blue pissants especially”.

Nearby, Henry Nicholls has been summoned by Alfred Black, who has something to show him. It is nothing less than a Declaration of Independence, a document he hopes might be like the American Declaration of Independence by which America had severed its links with Great Britain. As Black regards Nicholls as a ”literary character”, he asks if Nicholls would mind having a look at it?

With a great deal of pride, Black begins reading it, and, as Nicholls would recall, ”rounded out his words with unction, rolling them over his tongue as if he enjoyed their flavour”.

Nicholls, however, does not. ”It was long, very long, very flowery and decidedly verbose,” Nicholls would later recall. ”It was spicy, high-flavoured, and I fancy that in it tyrants in general had a bad time of it.”

He declines to criticise as he sees that Black really only wants an opinion if it is a positive one. It would be unwise to say what he truly thinks. Whatever he says is just noncommittal enough that Black is more convinced than ever that he has a masterpiece on his hands. Before long, just as the sun is falling, Black stands on a stump and reads it out to the assembled armed diggers. Sure enough, he is cheered loudly at the whole idea of separating from Great Britain, if not necessarily at the words that he has chosen to express this view.

Friday night, December 1, Government Camp

It is time for the government authorities in Ballarat to have their own council of war, and on this evening Commissioner Robert Rede is again in conference with his two top military officers, discussing what must be done.

He has little doubt: they must move against the Stockade. Precisely how they should move against it is not a matter for him – it is a matter for these officers – but he has no doubt that it is the right course of action.

Rumours are still sweeping the goldfields that the diggers will attack the Camp first, and Rede is convinced that the ramifications of the success of such an offensive would be devastating. He is in no doubt that if the authorities lose this battle, they risk losing the entire colony – the stakes are that high.

But the same fear is felt by those within the Stockade. If the rebels lose control of the Stockade, they lose the diggings and the fight – and the rule of Her Majesty’s law will be re-established across the entire Colony of Victoria.

It is a matter of who can, and will, move first. And when.

Rede feels strongly that it should be sooner rather than later.

Pre-dawn, Sunday, December 3

Startled grunts fill the night. It is just after 2.30am and the 182 men of the 12th and 40th Regiments and 94 police, with their officers, are being woken inside the Government Camp. Stay quiet. It’s on. Leaving from the back of the camp to shield their move from possible observers outside the main gates, they are told to form up in the gully just to the east of ”Soldiers Hill”, a little under one mile north of the camp.

Usually such an exercise would be accompanied by shouted orders or bugle calls. But not on this occasion. The men know what to do. All their training, all their drills, have led them to this moment, to be able to form up quickly and move with stealth.

Once his men are gathered on the eastern flank of Soldiers Hill in the chill damp air, Captain John Thomas steps forward while an aide de camp holds the bridle of his horse. Now each man leans in close as the officer whispers instructions, even as they are served a tot of rum to warm their bellies.

Thomas’ words are crisp and precise: they are about to launch an attack on the rebels’ Stockade and they will go in just before dawn.

Those insurgents who ”cease to resist” are to be spared. And a last point: the soldiers are to do everything possible to remain silent – it is extremely important to get as close as possible to the Stockade without being detected.

All good? All understood? All content?

No, not entirely. Two soldiers, knowing they will be expected to fire on men they regard as innocent, promptly fall out of the ranks and resolutely announce that they will not march – only to be immediately arrested for their trouble. No matter. Better off without cowards in our ranks.

”We marched off in the dark,” Captain Charles Pasley would later tell his father, ”in such perfect silence that you could almost have heard a pin drop.”

No fewer than 100 men are on horseback, while 176 are on foot.

Just under two hours later, they are in position …

With the Stockade effectively surrounded, the word is quietly passed from rank to rank, soldier to soldier: ”Advance.”

And now the main body of soldiers under Thomas, with Pasley leading the forward elements, marches over the small rise they have been sheltering behind, while the mounted soldiers and police on the fringes go around it.

As one they strain their eyes to the east, looking for some sign of the rebels. They can see the barest silhouette of the enemy flag against the lightening sky way up to their east, fluttering just above the treeline. But if the soldiers can see the Stockade, that must mean that those in the Stockade can …

Suddenly the blare of a bugle coming from the Stockade shatters the silence.

One of the men with the Independent California Rangers Revolver Brigade, John Lynch, would record ”a terrible effervescence of hurry-skurry” around him as his fellow rebels rush from their bunks and tents and take up their posts, their guns and pikes in hand. But he would also report that he ”could hardly discern the military force at first”.

Soon enough, though, there they are. Up in the Stockade, the diggers really can now just make out the long line of redcoats some 150 yards down the slope, moving into the open and advancing.

The first of the sentries runs back, shouting a warning to the others: ”To Arms! To Arms!” With the bugle, and now the shouting, it is enough to wake even the most profoundly asleep, including Peter Lalor. He is instantly up and moving, realising that the redcoats have clearly come and, while more of a moral leader than a military one, at the very least he must quickly be seen to be present, doing whatever he can to get the defences of the Stockade organised.

At this point, the forces at Lalor’s rough command are just 70 men holding shotguns and rifles, 30 or so with pistols and 20 men with pikes.

By the time the bulk of the diggers have taken up their positions at the barricades, the situation is becoming just a little clearer. By now the redcoats and some of the foot police who are accompanying them are close enough that the diggers can clearly distinguish features.

It is time.

The diggers’ own Robert Burnette, a tiny but game-as-all-get-out fighting force from the California Rangers, steps forward, smoothly raises his rifle to his shoulder, takes aim in the rough direction of the advancing redcoats and pulls the trigger. Down in the advancing line, a lead ball sears from the shadows and hits Private Michael Roney of the 40th Regiment directly in the head.

RIP. Michael Roney. Born in Belfast 1833, died on the Eureka on December 3, 1854. The battle of the Eureka Stockade has begun …

■ This is an edited extract from Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution, by Peter FitzSimons, William Heinemann Australia, rrp $49.95.

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xThere was no Alessandro Del Piero for Sydney FC but not even his genius could have accounted for the colossal gulf in class that existed at Bluetongue Stadium last night.
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Quite simply, Central Coast might have half of the financial turnover of their city cousins, but they have double the talent and probably triple the organisation. After scoring first, Sydney were smacked around like never before. They’d never conceded seven goals.

Sydney weren’t just punished. They were utterly humiliated.

What a glorious moment of vindication for Graham Arnold, who turned down the chance to manage Sydney in the off-season. Whatever his reasons for staying put, perhaps for the first time he’ll wake up knowing he made the right decision.

Heroes for the Mariners? Take your pick. Start with Daniel McBreen, scorer of his first A-League hat-trick. His 35-year-old legs must have felt 10 years younger at full-time.

While some of the 15,686 crowd may have arrived feeling Del Piero’s absence meant there was no class No.10, they would have left feeling very different. Tom Rogic was tantalising; how will Holger Osieck – present in the stands – resist calling him up for the Socceroos?

He has not yet played 20 A-League matches but on talent alone the 19-year-old must be a real candidate to feature either in the friendly against Korea or December’s East Asian Cup qualifiers. Perhaps Osieck took a closer look at Josh Rose, too.

Rose might be 30 but he’s the forgotten left-back in international discussions. At this rate, Osieck might have to apologise to Arnold for stealing half his squad.

So that was the hosts. The visitors? They were just lucky this game wasn’t at home. They’d have been booed into the car park.

Sydney bluffed their way through against Perth Glory last Sunday, snatching three points they did not earn, but at least promised to be better. Those lessons were heeded for, oh, say 10 minutes. They even led one-nil at that point as Yairo Yau, Del Piero’s replacement, finished with a classy chip over Matt Ryan.

To borrow from the seasonal parlance, Sydney jumped well from the barriers but were spent by the first turn. When it came time to sprint, the Mariners went for the whip. On 16 minutes, Rose took the ball deep into Sydney’s defence and after repeat efforts, Rogic’s turn and shot had enough power to beat Ivan Necevski.

The Mariners then had the lead when Rogic put in a tame effort from distance that Necevski erroneously fumbled, allowing McBreen to race in and prise it from the keeper’s grasp. With Necevski beaten, McBreen threw his large frame in the way and while he couldn’t put a final boot on the ball, Sebastian Ryall could, putting the ball into his own net.

But the Mariners weren’t done with yet. Eight minutes before half-time Michael McGlinchey – cause of a torrid 45 minutes for young Sydney defender Daniel Petkovski on the right-hand side – won a penalty after getting the better of Trent McClenahan. McBreen rifled the spot kick into the right corner.

Having fallen behind early in the piece, the Mariners were now firmly in control. By now, Sydney FC coach Ian Crook’s demeanour had shifted dramatically.

He yanked off Petkovski and Kruno Lovrek. Petkovski, in just his second start, could be forgiven. Lovrek, a seasoned Croatian, set up Yau’s opener but did barely anything else. He has not started well in the harbour city. Yau, however, was showing something, and his wonderful scoop over the defence allowed Ali Abbas to race in. The Iraqi matched the incoming pass for skill, volleying over Matt Ryan to cap an outstanding move.

Fleetingly, Sydney had hope, but that was extinguished when McGlinchey’s excellent effort curled home after a jinking run.

The Sky Blues had a hand-ball claim turned down but that was as close as they would come as the Mariners piled on more misery.

In an unstoppable blitz, another goal to Rogic and a further two to McBreen followed. All goals mixed scything lead-up play with heinously poor defending.

The Mariners fans couldn’t wait until full-time to give the standing ovation, so they began in injury time. It was the very least their team deserved.

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THE promise by the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, to set up ”drunk tanks” across Sydney has been labelled ”Barry’s Fight Club” by police, who fear locking up hordes of drunk revellers will lead to more violence and may result in deaths in custody.
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Police are angry the government is ramping up plans for a sobering-up centre, claiming it will be a waste of money and a misdirection of overstretched police resources.

Mr O’Farrell first proposed the idea as a pre-election promise in 2010 when launching the Making Our Streets Safe Again policy and repeated the idea after 18-year-old Thomas Kelly died in Kings Cross in July.

The Sun-Herald understands police will be given discretionary powers to assess whether people should be placed in a sobering-up centre.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties president, Cameron Murphy, called it ”extremely dangerous” because large numbers of people would be incarcerated for dubious reasons, with a risk to their health and safety. ”This will be misused by police. It’s an absurd and expensive idea that doesn’t reduce the core problems of alcoholism, violence or public safety,” he said.

A police source told The Sun-Herald the government had not allocated funding for a scheme that, he said, would become a ”vomitorium of punch-ons”.

A spokesman for the Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, said “several options” were being considered and it was hoped an announcement would be made ”shortly”.

The NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, and senior police were working with the government to deliver this, he said. Mr Scipione and the Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, who have campaigned against alcohol-fuelled violence, declined to comment.

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, said the centre was ”a recipe for disaster”. “This is bad policy, made worse by the fact that Barry O’Farrell won’t pay for any additional police to staff his ill-conceived drunk tanks,” he said.

The president of the Police Association of NSW, Scott Weber, said the proposal was ”a Band-Aid solution”.

”Putting a large group of intoxicated people in one location is absolutely ridiculous and a huge drain on valuable police resources,” he said.

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More than just charge and sync … Apple’s Lightning connector.This?post?was originally published on?Mashable.
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In 2009, the European Union convinced 10 of the top mobile phone manufacturers to abandon proprietary connections for charging phone batteries. A universal connection would ensure that the chargers consumers buy today will work with the phone they purchase tomorrow. That means fewer chargers and cables in landfills, where they could potentially leak lead, mercury and other harmful chemicals. The manufacturers?decided?to use micro-USB chargers, and the connectors have since become the norm on mobile phones, e-readers, MP3 players, digital cameras and much more.

However, not everyone has embraced the micro-USB standard. Most notably,?Apple, one of the 10 that agreed to the EU’s request, is only compliant thanks to an?adapter. And much to the chagrin of some consumers, with the release of the?iPhone 5?and the new?Lightning connector, it appears that Apple has every intention to avoid micro-USB for the foreseeable future.

So why is Apple so resistant to adopt the micro-USB standard?

Advanced functionality

One reason Apple has insisted on using proprietary connectors is because its connectors have the ability to do more than just charge and sync. For example, the?iPod Out?feature, which extends iPod functionality to compatible devices using Apple’s own user interface, is possible thanks to Apple’s new 30-pin Lightning connection. The same port can also output the iPhone/iPod/iPad display to an HDMI television through an adapter.

Of course, this could all be accomplished by using separate ports – a micro-USB port for charging and a proprietary port to handle the A/V heavy lifting. But splitting the two would mean trying to add another port to an already-cramped device. And because aesthetics and ease-of-use are hallmarks of the Apple brand, it’s no surprise the company doesn’t want to clutter up an i-anything with an extra port.

That being said, there is the option of using MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), a connection that allows for charging, syncing and output to an HDTV using a micro-USB port. Unfortunately, as Samsung Galaxy S III users recently discovered, there’s?no standard?yet for the MHL connection. While every other MHL device has used a five-pin connection, the S III features an 11-pin port that enables simultaneous USB and MHL functionality, as well as providing power for the MHL-HDMI adapter (most adapters need an external power supply). So in order to make S III content display on a TV, users have to — you guessed it — buy a proprietary adapter.

Perhaps once a standard MHL connection is adopted, Apple will consider this a viable option. But there are still other factors that make Apple lean towards proprietary cables.

Quality control

The mysterious chip inside the new Lightning cable has been the talk of the tech town for the last few weeks. While some believe the chip simply allows the cable to work, no matter how you insert it into the port, others, such as the experts over at Chipworks, say it has all the earmarks of a?security chip. The prevailing theory is that the chip essentially acts like a key to the locked-down device, ensuring that only authentic, expensive Apple cables will work.

Whatever the case may be, the technology seems meant to thwart those industrious reverse engineers who make cheap knockoff cables and chargers. Naturally, they’ve already managed to?crack the chip?and will soon flood?eBay?and?Amazon?with $5 cables. But is it really worth it to save a few bucks? Maybe not.

Google programmer Ken Shirriff knows a thing or two about electronics. He decided to determine just what lived inside both a?cheap Chinese knockoff?and a?genuine 30-pin Apple charger. According to Shirriff, the knockoff disregarded many UL standards, used cheaper parts, produced more electrical noise that could damage the phone’s touchscreen, and posed a risk of electrical shock to the user. In contrast, the Apple charger used better parts, reduced noise with multiple layers of shielding, and went above and beyond the UL standards to ensure high voltages never reach your phone (or your fingers).

Although the Apple charger was superior in nearly every way, Shirriff estimates all that extra awesome probably only cost about $1 more in components. Even if you add in R&D expenses, it’s still difficult to see how Apple justifies charging $A25 for the charger. But at the same time, if an authentic Apple charger is less likely to break, damage your phone or send 340 volts coursing through your body, maybe it’s worth a little price bloat.

On a similar note,?Gizmodo?recently chatted with Peter Bradstock, owner of Double Helix Cables, who got his hands on some of the first working, knockoff Lightning cables. As with Shirriff’s cheap charger, the counterfeit cable was poorly constructed when compared to the official Apple cable, and included shortcuts like masking tape to hold the connector to the wires. So even though it does charge an iPhone 5, you might want to order extras for when the tape breaks.

But Bradstock also speculates that a future iOS upgrade could change the keycode on authentic cable chips, which could render your entire stock of fake cables useless in the blink of an eye.

It appears that the tight grip on quality control will continue, even with Apple’s authorised MFI (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) accessory partners. During an MFI meeting scheduled for November 7 and 8 in Shenzen, China, it is?rumoured?that Apple will announce the company will simply not licence the interface technology this time around. Instead, Apple will sell assembled Lightning cables and connectors to these approved third-party manufacturers for official i-compatible accessories. It seems likely that controlling the special chip — whatever it does — is a major factor in this decision.

The root of it all

Let’s face it: advanced functionality and quality control are important, but nothing justifies Apple’s proprietary cable like the almighty dollar.

A recent report by Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI Securities, estimates that it will cost Apple around?$US3.50?for the components inside a Lightning cable. This is a whopping 775 per cent increase over the 40 US cents it cost to manufacture the old 30-pin connector. But even factoring in other overhead costs, it still means they’re making a tidy profit when they sell the cable for $A25. In fact, Michael Morgan, a senior analyst with ABI Research, told Mashable that Apple will probably generate at least?$US100 million?in revenue over the next year just by selling Lightning cables and chargers. Even for Apple that’s no small potatoes.

Mashable?is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.

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