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DATE: Thursday, November 25, 2004


The Ballarat rail line will be renamed the Eureka Line to mark the 150th anniversary of the Eureka uprising, the Premier, Steve Bracks, announced after a special Cabinet meeting in Ballarat today.

Mr Bracks said the introduction of the new name would coincide with the renaming of Spencer Street Station as Southern Cross Station, and would take effect from late 2005 when the station redevelopment was complete.

"The Government is currently undertaking the largest investment in Victoria's Regional Rail system for more than a century," Mr Bracks said.

"Renaming the Ballarat line the Eureka Line symbolises this revitalised, exciting era for Victorian rail.

"The Southern Cross and the Eureka Stockade are names etched in Australian history and it is fitting the link between Ballarat and Melbourne is closely connected with them."

Mr Bracks said the Eureka Line would be used by thousands of interstate and overseas travellers expected for the Commonwealth Games.

He said Sovereign Hill was one of Victoria's star tourist attractions and its importance and popularity would grow following the influx of tourists for the Games.

"The new state-of- the-art V/Line trains servicing regional Victoria, along with the transformed Spencer Street Station, will showcase regional Victoria to visitors like never before," Mr Bracks said.

"Renaming the line after this dramatic moment in Victoria's past will forge a fantastic new identity for the rail service."

Mr Bracks said the events of December 3, 1854 marked the birth of Australian democracy.

"The story of Eureka has endured because of its core values – the demand for a fair, open and independent society. It's a commemoration of those who gave their lives for a principle and a celebration of the community values they helped to inspire," he said.

The State Government has allocated $1.9 million to mark the 150th anniversary.

Highlights of the commemoration are a four day world music festival at Ballarat starting on Thursday December 3 including Hugh Masekala from South Africa and an international conference on democracy, starting tonight at Ballarat University, with guest speakers Dr Jose Ramos-Horta and former UK Secretary for Northern Ireland, Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam.

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