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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 Secretary’s report to the 2019 Annual General Meeting.  http://labourhistorycanberra.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Canberra-Branch-Annual-Report-2018-2019.pdf

Members are reminded that membership subscriptions are now due for the current financial year. Please click on the drop-down menu for About ASSLH Canberra – Membership for options on how to join or renew your membership.

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Coming events

End of year celebration

As usual, the Labour History Society will be winding down the year with some casual Christmas drinks at King O’Malley’s. We’ll be there from 5:30 pm on Wednesday 4 December 2019. Feel free to drop by whenever, no RSVP necessary.

On behalf of the committee, I thank you for your support throughout the year. We are looking forward to bringing you a range of history talks and other events in 2020.
Chris Monnox
Secretary

 

26th Spanish Civil War Memorial Celebration
The annual commemoration and picnic at the Australians in the Spanish Civil War Memorial will be held on Sunday (1 December 2019), between midday and 3 pm. The event, which will include an address by Humphrey McQueen, is open to all. The memorial is located in Lennox Gardens, off of Flynn Drive behind the Hyatt Hotel.

 
David Day on Maurice Blackburn: Champion of the People at Paperchain
Historian and biographer David Day will be discussing his latest Labor biography, on Maurice Blackburn, at Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka on Monday 2 December, from 6.00pm. RSVPs, which are required for this event, should go to info@paperchainbookstore.com.au.

 
Joshua Black on “Pilgrimage to a Repository:” The Importance of Archives in a Post-Truth World
Josh Black, a PhD student at the ANU and our new Branch Treasurer, will be giving a short talk following the Friends of the Noel Butlin Archives Centre AGM on Tuesday 3 December 2019. This will start at 5:30 pm in the McDonald Room, Menzies Library, ANU. Josh’s talk will reflect on the value of the Noel Butlin Archives for his research. He will also discuss the prospective oral histories and transcripts he plans to donate to the Archives at the conclusion of his research. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the talk.

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Vale Victor Isaacs 1949-2019

The passing of Victor Isaacs in October 2019 came as a shock to his many friends and acquaintances. Victor was a valued and respected member of the Canberra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History and served as our Branch President during the years 2006 to 2009.

 

His interests were many and varied. Apart from political history, Victor was an authority on railway history and the history of Australian newspapers. He founded the Australian Newspaper History Group in 1999 and lectured extensively on his researches, including for the University of the Third Age.

Throughout his long association with the Labour History Society, he was happy to share his knowledge with his comrades. He presented a number of papers at our events, including at the National Labour History Conference in 2011. A selection of his writings can be found on this website under the ‘Articles and Publications’ menu.

Apart from his gifts as a scholar and presenter, Victor will be fondly remembered for his personal qualities as well. He was a good natured soul with a lively sense of humour. Our sincere condolences to his wife Agnes, his friends and family. He will be sadly missed.

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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.

  • With friends like these October 20, 2019 - Tetchy relations between business and the Liberal Party are far from new by Norman Abjorensen A non-Labor government in Canberra might ordinarily expect solid support from business — even if only because it is self-interestedly preferable to the alternative, with its presumed tilt towards the unions. But it’s not quite as simple as that. History […]
  • A socialist’s republic August 5, 2019 - The republic referendum – 20 years on ‘A socialist’s republic’ by Humphrey McQueen November 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the unsuccessful referendum on whether Australia should become a republic. Strange that such an important issue should have lain dormant for so long. To mark the occasion we present Humphrey McQueen’s article ‘A socialist’s republic’ […]
  • Clarrie O’Shea – The trade union leader who went to gaol May 10, 2019 - by John Merritt This month (May 2019) marks the 50th anniversary of the gaoling of Victorian Tramways Union leader Clarrie O’Shea (1905-1988).  O’ Shea was gaoled in 1969 by the notorious Sir John Kerr for refusing to hand over the union’s financial records. His imprisonment sparked a massive strike wave across the country and effectively […]
  • Why did Australia go to the great war? April 14, 2019 - We gratefully acknowledge permission from the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society at UNSW to publish this excellent collection of seminar papers on Australia’s involvement in World War 1. Click here to access the papers.                         ______________________________________________________ ACSACS Occasional Paper Series No. 8 Why did Australia go to the great war? […]
  • 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 […]

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