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Tales of the Diggings

The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) , November 30, 2004


During the past 25 years, storyteller Anne E. Stewart has travelled around the country, adding to her ever-growing collection of myths, legends and ghost stories. Now Stewart has thrown her creative energies into recreating the events that many say shaped Australia's history. "Not everyone knows what the story is. And as a storyteller I think it is important that the story be told," she says.

Stewart has written and recorded a radio series entitled A Correspondent from the Diggings -Tales of Eureka, which can be heard on ABC Ballarat. The stories are based on actual events but for each of the 20, four-minute episodes, Stewart adopts a different persona. Her characters include an indigenous woman, miners from around the world, the local priest and government officials.

"I watched wounded diggers being stuck with bayonets and I looked for the face of my father amongst them. In one place they had dragged more diggers to die, some of them were still heaving, and at every rise of their breasts, the blood spouted out of their wounds, or just bubbled and trickled away."

Some 150 years may have passed since the Eureka Stockade but disputes about the event still continue today. No one knows for sure whether any young boy actually experienced the above scene but for the story's author, Anne E. Stewart, the finer points of Eureka are not so important. It's the spirit of the event she wants people to hear about.

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education

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