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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.

For news about our activities over the past year, click to read our Branch President’s report to the 2018 Annual General Meeting.  Branch president’s Annual Report 2017-18

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Coming events

Our next Labour History talk  will be presented by one of our new Committee members Carol Corless. It will tell the story of the 1937 Castlemaine Brewery dispute, part of a wave of stay-in strikes that swept Australia, and indeed the world, in the 1930s.

The talk will begin at 5:30 pm (previously advertised as six), on Tuesday 26 March 2019, in the Hedley Bull Building, Seminar Room 3, at the ANU.
See below for an abstract of Carol’s talk.

1937 Castlemaine Brewery Dispute: Valour Among the Vats
In the 1930s there was a rise in the use of a different type of strike; the stay-in strike, where workers took over the employer’s premises. There appears to been a wave of stay-in strikes that began in 1933 in Romania before continuing to France in 1936, the USA in 1936-37 and onto Australia in 1937. ‘Valour Among the Vats’ is an account of one of these strikes, drawing on previously unpublished sources.

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Recent articles

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

  • Our Forgotten Prime Minister October 8, 2018- Stephen Holt Australian Prime Ministers get to have a federal electorate named after them after they die. There are 22 deceased Australian Prime Ministers and after the latest redistribution there are, seemingly in line with this practice, 22 federal seats bearing the name of a deceased Prime Minister. There is an anomaly though and it […]
  • The ‘Spanish’ Influenza Pandemic in Australia, 1912-19 June 20, 2018-   Humphrey McQueen  (Originally published in Social Policy in Australia – Some Perspectives 1901-1975. Edited by Jill Roe. Cassell Australia 1976) SIX MONTHS BEFORE the Armistice ended the Great War a new and more deadly scourge was unleashed upon the world. Popularly known as ‘Spanish’ flu it killed twenty million people within twelve months.
  • Ghost of bankers past may come to haunt Shorten June 18, 2018- Bob Crawshaw (First published in The Canberra Times 21 April 2016) You can almost hear the ghost of prime minister Ben Chifley applauding Bill Shorten’s calls for a royal commission into Australian banking. Yet while Chifley might approve of Shorten’s efforts, he would probably think they do not go far enough.
  • What happened to Childe? June 10, 2018- V. Gordon Childe (1892-1957) made himself the most influential Australian scholar in the humanities and social sciences. Forty years after his death, his ideas stimulate thinkers well beyond his own field of Prehistoric archaeology. Humphrey McQueen has returned to Childe’s writings to reflect on current disputes about facts, theorising and politics in the piecing together […]
  • The New Guard June 3, 2018- Originally published in Workers Online 2003: http://workers.labor.net.au/features/200313/c_historicalfeature_moore.html Andrew Moore Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.