Tuesday 19 July 2016

Eureka Skydeck (and the fight for liberty)

They were the inferior diggers, the underdogs covered in dust and dirt. They were the victims of oppression, police corruption, and unfair treatment of all kinds. They were the gold miners that dined like paupers yet harbored big dreams. They stood close in solidarity, revolted audaciously, and left a legacy of “mateship”. They displayed open contempt against injustice and challenged the unjust system without fear.

The discontent and defiance culminated in an historic rebellion in December 1854, where 10,000 men assembled and witnessed the unfurling of the white and blue Southern Cross flags at a place called Eureka. Oaths were taken, clashes ensued, and 22 of the courageous defenders were killed. Despite the casualties and tragic bloodshed, the Eureka Rebellion was a victory in disguise. The aftermath of it saw the abolition of coercive licensing laws, granting of voting rights and political representation on the Legislative Council for the miners. 

Today, the uprising at Eureka is remembered fondly as an important milestone of democracy and freedom, the two fundamental themes cherished dearly by Australians. Eureka flags were waved frantically from time to time as a gesture of protest and symbol of radicalism. The event gave its name to Melbourne’s highest skyscraper and inspired the architectural design of the tower. From afar, its massive carat gold plated crown and the oddly placed streak of red are unmistakable reminders of the bygone era of gold rush and blood split. Its blue glass structure and white horizontal lines are a nostalgic resemblance to the colours of the controversial flag spearheaded the significant revolt.

The building was once the world’s tallest residential tower when it was first completed in 2006, till the accolade being stolen away by its high rising rivals in Dubai. Its skydeck at the 88th floor proudly holds the title as the highest public vantage point in Australia, and its elevators are still the fastest in the Southern Hemisphere. Avoided by acrophobic and shunned by the faint-hearted, Eureka Skydeck offers a heart-throbbing view of Melbourne from the trembling height of 285 metres above sea level.

It was a dazzling experience, a surreal panoramic visual stimulation, and a stunning sight from an unimaginable perspective. The skydeck offers a fresh view of various Melbourne’s landmarks; Melbourne Cricket Ground was a tiny doughnut of cool blue shade, and the old-style Flinders Street Railway Station was a massive centipede with a fancy hat of dome. For the true adventurers, you might desire a taste of stepping into a giant glass cube (affectionately called “the Edge”) suspended mid-air and have your adrenaline level tested straight after.



Riverside Quay, Southbank Melbourne

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