James Hodges

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Walter E. Pidgeon, Illustration from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni, Sunnybrook Press, 1942, offset print.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased 1994.

Background

Also known as 'Eureka Jim'.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Jim Hodges was wounded twice during the Eureka Stockade battle.

Post 1854 Experiences

This article refers to the inaugural pilgrimage to the site of Eureka held on 8 April 1911.

As I am unknown to you personally the subject matter enclosed will pleas my excuses (if needed) in addressing you. Kindly had over enclosed to institution or museum said to contain flag hoisted at Eureka in '54, whatever flag is so possessed is a fraud. I am now over 80 years old and the weather against me, otherwise should (have) made the old spot last week to speak a few (words). Was wounded by the military at the attack by troops upon us, Sunday 3rd December 1854 in leg and head - marks and teeth blowing up to (be) carried to my grave. The very possession of same prouds me - place enclosed under flags for ever in museum, that the girls and boys may know that liberty, constitution and government was won where the national flag was born at cost of blood at Ballarat. (Signed) James Hodges, afterwards known as "Eureka Jim".


Presented by "Eureka Jim" and dated 11 April 1912, Age 80 years
Up with the Flag of Liberty
Its starry cluster on heavenly blue
Staunch to our flag, to ouselves are true
Australia's bunkerhill, here the foundation
of a mighty power to be an Australian Nation
In peace or war, strife or disorder.
The symbol of Eternity within its border
"The Southern Cross"


AUSTRALIA'S STARRY FLAG
MEMORY OF EUREKA
MELBOURNE. Saturday,
"Silver stars on heavenly blue" — the fore runner of Australia's flag— the digger's emblem of freedom, was hoisted at the Eureka Stockade in 1854 by Mr, James Hodges, now of Fergie-street, Fitzroy, Melbourne. Although 85 years, and carrying the marks of bullet wounds in head and leg, Mr. Hodges arranged to help the wounded soldiers by a tableau in connection with the artists' pageant yesterday afternoon. In a letter to Mr. Arthur Russel Mr. Hodges wrote:— "you will understand that as I reach my 85th milestone, on life's wallaby on August 31, I am not quite as active as at the time, 1854, we made the stand for liberty and self-government, as against the remnant of bad old convict misrule, and thanks to a couple of bullets, I carry through life two wounds, one in the head and the other in the leg. "If I say that your committee as artists would be the best judge of the form of tableau I can but suggest the Flag in the act of hoisting, surrounded by a few diggers, and perhaps Eureka and Gallipoli somewhere In prominence. "When in the act of planting our Flag l wrote and gave utterance to a few words. Here is an extract:
Boys, up with the Flag
Its silver stars on heavenly blue.
Staunch to our Flag,
to ourselves are true In peace or war,
strife or disorder.
The Emblam of Eternity within its border. The Southern Cross. Stars on a blue ground, said Mr. Hodges, was the design of the original Australian flag, and he added: "At this time, after 60 years, it occurs to me that I ought to be among the prophets."[1]

See also

Eureka Stockade

Further Reading

Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.

References

  1. Sydney Sun, 31 July 1915.

External links