Welcome to the Canberra Region Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History.

The ASSLH aims to encourage the study, teaching and research of labour history and to encourage the preservation of labour archives.

This website was designed by Webtrax with the assistance of the Bede Nairn Fund. It aims to present a selection of articles and publications that can easily be accessed by students, teachers and others wanting to know more about labour history and politics.

The ASSLH encourages open debate on questions relating to labour history and politics. The articles published on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSLH and its officers. New contributions welcome. Links to other websites do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the content of those websites.





Frank Mines 1935-2021

Francis John Mines, one of the pioneers of the Canberra Branch of the Labour History Society, passed away on 8 March 2021 at the age of 85. Frank served as a committee member and Branch Secretary during the formative years of the Branch and served as the Society’s national Public Officer.

Frank was one of those rare individuals from the conservative side of politics who was both interested in political history and able to coexist amicably with ardent leftists.

He authored a biography of the DLP leader Vince Gair and presented an interesting paper on Harry Holland at the 2001 National Labour History Conference in 2001. A copy of his paper is accessible on this website.

As a widely respected public servant, he came across as quiet and unassuming but to the surprise of many, had an abiding passion for the hair-raising sport of skydiving.

A former seminarian, he remained a devout catholic throughout his entire life and maintained an avid interest in many areas of learning, including philosophy, history and politics. His deeply held convictions led him to devote much of his time to a range of worthwhile causes.

For instance, in his later years he worked tirelessly to keep the waning Superannuated Commonwealth Officers Association afloat. Prior to its ultimate demise, he was awarded Life Membership of SCOA for his long and distinguished service as ACT Branch Secretary, Federal Councillor and editor of its newsletter.

Frank’s was a life well lived. He was a thoughtful, intelligent and kindly soul. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.


Recent articles

Here are some of our recent articles. To search the complete list, click on the Articles and Publications menu.

  • Jack Mundey tribute January 8, 2021 - It’s still right to rebel Only struggle availeth. ‘What’s the good news from Canberra?’ Jack Mundey always wanted to know when we visited him and Judy in their two-up and two-down brick unit in Croyden Park. We welcomed Jack’s unintended reprimand as a reminder to look further than the headlines, to see through the parliamentary […]
  • Abolish the penal powers: freedom’s fight of ’69 July 18, 2020 - Abolish the penal powers: freedom’s fight of ’69 John Arrowsmith John Arrowsmith (1913-1997) was a legend of the Melbourne Branch of the ASSLH, a self-educated working class historian, former Branch President, union activist and communist campaigner. In 1969, he was approached by a number of prominent Victorian union officials to write a history of the […]
  • The case for bank nationalisation July 14, 2020 - The case for bank nationalisation This website seeks to bring to life some interesting and noteworthy publications from the past. This booklet is no exception. It dates from 1947 and was the first publication issued by the NSW Fabian Society. The author was the Hon Clarence Edward Martin, NSW Attorney-General from 1941 to 1953 and […]
  • Scullin and Curtin: Through a covid lens July 12, 2020 - by Stephen Holt (A review of Liam Byrne’s new book Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin: The making of the modern Labor Party. The article was published in The Canberra Times of 7 July 2020 and is posted here with the permission of the author.) On 14 December 1918 an election took place in the […]
  • Unions and anti-Chinese agitation on the Victorian goldfields July 12, 2020 - Unions and anti-Chinese agitation on the Victorian goldfields The Clunes riot of 1873 by Jerome Small Small, Jerome – Clunes riot 1873 This paper (access via the above link) was presented at the seventh national Labour History Conference held in Canberra in April 2001. It never appeared in the published proceedings. At a time of […]