2011 ASSLH conference – Labour History in Western Australia and the role of the ASSLH, Perth Branch


Labour History in Western Australia and the role of the ASSLH, Perth Branch1

Bobbie Oliver


This paper surveys the current state of labour history teaching and research in Western Australia.  It argues that, while a form of labour history remains viable in labour relations, management or productivity research, it is disappearing as an undergraduate subject in University History Departments.

Outside of the academy, there is little evidence that union officials know much about the history either of their own union or of the struggle for improved wages and working conditions throughout the 20th century.  With the passing of the factory era, the histories of working lives risk obliteration along with these former work sites, as so nearly happened at the Midland Government Railway Workshops in Perth. What then is the role of the ASSLH, Perth Branch, in such an environment?  The paper discusses the Society’s activities in recent years to continue fulfilling its aims of ‘promoting the study and dissemination of information about the history of labour, particularly in Western Australia’. Despite the Society’s efforts, labour history is a diminishing field of study. The paper warns that we risk losing this alternative history of trade union achievement and working class endeavour if labour history disappears from the curricula of academic history departments.???

Associate Professor Bobbie Oliver lectures in Australian History at Curtin University, and is Head of the Department of Social Sciences.  She has been an Executive member of the ASSLH Perth Branch since 1997. 



In June 1998, a meeting of executive members of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History [ASSLH], Perth Branch, and the officials of four unions, the AMWU, the CEPU, the ASU and the RTBU,2 resolved to launch an oral history project to collect the memories of former workers at the Midland Government Railway Workshops before these were lost to posterity.3 The Workshops had been closed in 1994 and the site was in danger of being demolished by an unsympathetic Liberal State government. ASSLH Perth branch executive consisted of a mix of academic labour historians and unionists, representing professions and trades, with an interest in labour history. This mix has been, and remains, a strength of the organisation? the Midland Government Railway Workshops History Project [hereafter the Workshops History Project] exemplified the type of outcome that can be achieved for labour history when people of different skills, backgrounds and networks cooperate in shared aims.

This paper surveys the state of labour history teaching and research in Western Australia at the end of the first decade of the twenty-­first century. It argues that, where it is still taught in WA universities, labour history is now mainly the province of business or industrial relations courses such as management, human resources, labour relations and productivity, rather than being taught as part of mainstream courses on Australian or international history. The perceived disadvantage of this is that the ‘historical’ elements, and in particular those emphasising workers’ struggles against often reactionary employers tend to take second place to management strategies for dealing with the workforce. Outside of the academy, there is little evidence that union officials know much about the history either of their own union or of the struggle that accompanied improvements in wages and working conditions throughout the twentieth century. This is not surprising, for although Unions WA offers courses for union organisers via the ACTU’s Union Education Scheme, these concern the practical skills needed for organising the workplace, such as recruitment of members, bargaining, campaigning, dealing with grievances, and other relevant topics – but not the history of the trade union movement, either in Australia or overseas, at least in any depth.4 What may be more surprising is the lack of historical knowledge about the ALP and the Trades and Labor Council (Unions WA since 2000) among Labor parliamentarians, officials and staff, considering that these bodies commissioned a major history, published in 2003, which was distributed through the main office of each organisation and electorate offices.5

Furthermore, with the passing of the factory era, the history of the lives of working people is also often obliterated along with their former work sites, as so nearly happened at the Midland Government Railway Workshops in Perth. Along with this history, the general knowledge of factory life, once widely understood among the working classes, is also disappearing because people are no longer employed in these skills and processes. This paper assesses the Workshops History Project, and other recent ASSLH activities. It discusses the extent to which these have been successful in promoting labour history, and whether a partnership with academe is needed for the continued publication and dissemination of labour history. The paper concludes with a warning that we are in danger of losing this alternative history of working-­class endeavour if steps are not taken to maintain labour history in the mainstream curricula of academic history departments and to institute more rigorous training in trade union history for union officials.

The State of Labour History in Western Australia

At the commencement of the second decade of the twenty-­first century, labour history is not thriving in Western Australia. In making such a statement, however, it is necessary to define exactly what is understood by ‘labour history’ and to outline its previous state of health. One definition of labour (or labor) history is:

…a broad field of study concerned with the development of the labour movement and the working class. The central concerns of labour historians include the development of labour unions, strikes, lockouts and protest movements, industrial relations, and the progress of working class and socialist political parties, as well as the social and cultural development of working people. Labour historians may also concern themselves with issues of gender, race, ethnicity and other factors besides class.6

A similar definition is:

Labour history refers to the political, social and legal struggle, working people, in their collective demands for fairer and more humane treatment from their employers and the social law (reformist movements) or to the struggle to abolish all forms of exploitation (revolutionary movements).

The cultural and philosophical culmination of previous labour struggles [is] codified as labour rights and labour law.7

While it is accepted that modern labour history includes a broader field of study than either of the two quoted above, it is worth noting that both these definitions place considerable importance on the study of the struggles and achievements of working people and their organisations. Although the historical interpretation of individual and organised actions, events, outcomes and significance may differ significantly from one historian to another, nevertheless the discipline of history places emphasis upon context, causes and effects, in a way that is often lacking in treatments of contemporary ‘problems’.

What place did labour history occupy in Western Australia prior to the present day? In 1982, Murdoch University lecturer Lenore Layman edited an issue of the UWA history journal, Studies in Western Australian History, devoted to ‘bosses, workers and unemployed’. In her editorial note, Layman stated that the issue examined ‘aspects of twentieth century Western Australian labour history, a much-­neglected topic in the State’s historiography’. The four articles that made up the body of this slim journal were all the products of honours dissertations, undertaken at UWA or Murdoch University.8 So, despite being neglected, there was sufficient interest in labour history among history honours students to publish a small volume of their work. Six years later, in 1988, UWA industrial relations lecturer Michael Hess founded the small local journal, Papers in Labour History. His motivation came from being ‘called upon to teach the labour history course in the Master of Industrial Relations program’. Being from the eastern States, Hess was concerned about his lack of local knowledge, and he drew upon the labour movement, partly in the form of a series of seminars to which he invited activists such as Joan Williams, Bill Latter and others from outside of the academy, who had an extensive knowledge of the history of workers’ struggle in Western Australia. According to Hess, ‘this gave the MIR students a chance to hear WA labour history from some of those who have been involved in making it’. The first issue featured a mix of papers by the above-­ named activists and others, and two students from the MIR course, and it is worth noting that UWA’s Industrial Relations Department funded the journal.9

Until the end of the 1990s, a series of hard-­working editors usually managed to produce two issues of Papers in Labour History annually. From the second issue, it was the publication of the ASSLH, Perth Branch, which had been founded in August 1988, and funding came from a range of sources, but mostly unions. The second issue featured a speech by the president of the (then) WA Trades and Labor Council, Tony Beech, on ‘the relevance of labour history’. In particular, he demonstrated that history repeats itself and therefore it is vitally important for union organisers to recognise similarities between past tactics and strategies of today’s employers. As an example, he compared the actions of BHP at the Barrier in the late 1800s and early 1900s with those of Peko Wallsend at Robe River a century later. ‘Labour history’, he concluded, ‘is about the lessons to be learned from the struggles of the past’.10

From 2000, although issues of Papers in Labour History contained longer papers and illustrations, they were reduced to one a year, or fewer, probably for two reasons: local material provided from both inside and outside of the academe became harder to find, and successive editors and editorial committees found less and less time to devote to a small journal that still publishes non-­ refereed papers. With the advent of the Excellence in Research for Australia [ERA] scheme, devoting time to such a journal for any reason apart from the desire to continue providing a forum for work that would not be published in more scholarly journals was unfortunately pointless for academic historians –although we continued to do so. The introduction of ERA also made the prospect of creating a refereed journal too daunting to contemplate. Perhaps the recent reversal of the policy of ERA-­ranking for journals may present new opportunities for Papers in Labour History, but at the time of writing, this was too early to ascertain.

One of the difficulties mentioned above, that of finding material for the journal, seems inevitable due to the shrinking of history departments. Although there have always been labour historians in industrial relations (and economic history) departments as well as in history departments located within Humanities or Social Sciences, the evolution of such disciplines into business schools may be having profound effects upon the discipline.11 As indicated in the introductory section, ‘labour history’ as taught in business schools in Western Australia is more likely to involve studying ‘negotiating and bargaining’ or ‘pay and benefits’ as part of a course on human resources or employment relations, than actual history of the development and achievements of trade unionism, arbitration and conciliation and the wider labour movement, and the ways in which these shaped Australian history. Labour history may still be taught, but it is more likely to be a fairly small component in a broader topic, such as ‘Australian twentieth-­century history’.

As specific examples of the retreat of labour history from Humanities and Social Sciences in Western Australia, the subject has not been taught in the history department at the University of Western Australia since around 2000, when it still drew good student numbers?12  nor at Curtin University since 2009, when major restructuring prior to the introduction of the ‘super’ BA (Humanities) resulted in the discontinuing of many undergraduate units – although labour historians remain in the history departments of both these universities and continue to research in the discipline.13 There are also at least one research active labour historian and one sociologist with research interests in labour organisation on the staff of the Curtin Business School. Another curriculum change at Curtin University that has reduced the prospect of teaching students the history of the Australian Labor Party, is the decision to move from politics to international relations. The politics course included units on Australian government and politics, Australian electoral politics and political ideologies which, naturally, involved an understanding of labour politics and ideologies, including that of representing the worker. To return to Terry Beech’s admonition, at least one of the main purposes of labour history is to provide lessons for the present day.

Nor do Murdoch and Notre Dame universities teach units specifically about labour history, although topics relevant to labour history (such as trade unions, the history of the arbitration court, aspects of industrial relations, training and apprenticeships) may be canvassed in courses on Australian, Western Australian or overseas histories.14 If this trend continues, it must result in a significant loss for the teaching and learning of both Australian and overseas history. How might historians and other social scientists understand the great social movements of the twentieth century, including revolutions, union organisation and industrial strikes, as well as advances ranging from technology to social welfare, without a strong historical concept of labour relations? Historians and other scholars of labour studies at UWA, Notre Dame, Murdoch and Curtin universities, whom the author consulted in preparing this paper, mentioned individual research projects by honours or graduate students, as well as their own research in the field. Yet, this is a very small body of research, which, it may be argued, does not suffice to ensure the practice of labour history teaching and research continues into the future. Furthermore, lack of exposure to labour history at undergraduate level inevitably leads to fewer students taking up these topics at honours and postgraduate levels. Another impact on labour history research, both inside and outside of academe was the departure of Stuart Reid from the Oral History section of the J. S. Battye Library. During his time at Battye, Reid, a dedicated labour historian and expert interviewer, had amassed collections of interviews of people in the labour movement, including politicians, TLC officials and factory workers. The Library’s policy is now receptive, rather then acquisitive? that is, it has no resources to research and undertake interviews, it merely accepts those sent to the collection. But, is what is happening to labour history in Western Australia different from elsewhere in Australia?

In a national context, Melissa Kerr observed in 2004 that the major challenges faced by the Australian labour movement, such as declining union density, a ‘hostile regulatory environment’, increasing job insecurity and ‘a growing rift between the industrial and political wings of labour’ had led to a broadening of the scope of labour history. Her paper examined the results of a 2004 survey undertaken by the journal Labour History, of the current research interests and research projects of labour historians. Perhaps one of the most significant points that this survey revealed was the difference between ‘research interests’ and ‘research projects’. For example, 14.6 per cent of respondents were interested in ‘social and economic conditions’, but only 11.2 per cent were currently researching in this area, whereas while only 2.5 per cent listed ‘biography’ as a ‘research interest’ 13.4 per cent of current research projects concerned biographical study. A similar gap existed between those interested in ‘industry studies’ and those currently researching the area.15 While that study did not investigate the reasons for this ‘gap’, a possible explanation may be the constraints placed upon applications for research grants, where applied research appears to be valued more highly than pure research. The author’s recent experience with applications for major competitive grants may serve to exemplify this point. Applications for funds to research and write a trade union history and for a project involving the history and heritage of an old family business both received commendation from the expert assessors but were rejected. A third application to research and write a history of apprenticeship training, with applications for contemporary training schemes, was not submitted because the industry cash partner was interested only in the contemporary application and saw no value in the history. Perhaps, more significantly, these outcomes differ from success with grant applications for strongly labour history projects in the early to middle part of the decade.

Kerr’s study found that, in 2004, Australian labour historians continued to ‘actively research political movements’ and that ‘research into trade unions and activism’ remained an ‘enduring element’,16 so is this finding equally true in a Western Australian context? The two examples discussed below, while not conclusive, give an indication of the changing (and possibly declining) nature of labour history research in this state. Firstly, a comparison of two surveys of honours, masters and doctoral theses on Western Australian history, completed at Western Australian Universities, respectively, 1918 – 1993 and 1997 – 2005,17 yields the following information, which is best offered in tabular form:

Table 1:  No. of theses and dissertations on labour history completed in WA universities, 1918–93 and 1997–2005







% Masters thesis Labour History Topic % Doctoral


Labour History topic % Total

(% )



185 58 31% 76 32 42% 18 8 44% 35%


64 10 15% 14 2 14% 35 3 8.6% 13%

* Only 32 of a total of 279 dissertations and theses were completed before 1960.

In summary, the table indicates that out of a total of 279 dissertations and theses on Western Australian history subjects completed in the earlier period, 35 per cent were on labour history or closely related topics, whereas, in the eight years between 1997 and 2005, of 117 theses and dissertations completed, only 13 per cent were, or were related to, labour history.

Secondly, in 2008, when the organising committee for the Eleventh National Labour History Conference, to be held in Perth, put out a call for papers, they listed sixteen possible streams.18 The streams ‘labour and the sea’ and ‘Indian Ocean labour history’, intended to make connections with researchers of labour around the Indian Ocean, received no proposals, whereas the ‘indigenous labour’ steam – Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and New Guinean – received several proposals from WA and interstate; six papers were presented at the conference. Other popular areas were ‘comparative’, ‘transnational’ or ‘international’ histories, ‘anti-­labour history’, and papers grouped under the titles of ‘organising and regulation’ and ‘political parties and groups’ – two streams which had not been offered by the conference organisers, but the popularity of which appears to confirm Kerr’s findings above.19 These papers were drawn from around Australia, but what of the Western Australian offerings? Bearing in mind that some of the most research-­active labour historians in the West were too occupied with conference organisation to submit a paper, this left the field open to early career historians and others with an interest in labour history. One might reasonably expect papers representative of the topics studied at honours and postgraduate level in the local universities over the preceding decade, but the results were quite different.  Of the twelve papers presented at the conference by WA-­based researchers, or about WA labour history, four were on ‘organising and regulation’;? two were on ‘welfare’;? two were on ‘anti-­labour’, and one each were on ‘new approaches to labour history’, ‘indigenous labour history’, ‘art’ (political cartooning), and ‘internationalism’. Seven of these papers were by early career researchers, either postgraduates or those who had recently gained their doctorates.20 While this is encouraging for the continuing practice of labour history, can we expect the discipline to survive for long at an academic level if it is not supported within the undergraduate curricula of history departments? Is the ASSLH Perth Branch doing anything to address this problem?

The ASSLH (Perth Branch)

The aims of the ASSLH Perth Branch are to ‘promote the study and dissemination of information about the history of labour, particularly in Western Australia’. The Society does this by various means, including organising an annual lecture, named in honour of the union activist Harold Peden, at which an invited speaker addresses an aspect of labour history with relevance to the current union movement. It also runs an annual essay competition for secondary school students, funded by a bequest, which has drawn a very small field (fewer than ten entries) over three years. Most of these essays have been only very loosely related to labour history, as they are usually written on a topic in the secondary school curriculum. Until recently, the Society also organised an open essay competition, funded by the Maritime Union of Australia, in honour of the unionist Paddy Troy (1908-­1978) but this, too, has attracted almost no entries in the past few years, despite national advertising.

Troy’s was one working life that is now better known than most because of Stuart Macintyre’s fine biography.21 His life and career also provide a good example of why it is important to continue researching and teaching labour history. In assessing the significance of Troy’s life, Macintyre writes that ‘he [Troy] would have said [of himself] that he was a working man who, to the best of his ability, had endeavoured to uplift the lives of his people’. Macintyre points out that ‘by conventional standards’, Troy was not a particularly significant figure; he was the paid official of a small union and, as a communist, a member of small, marginalised party that had little hope of impacting upon the political life of the State or the nation. At times, Troy attracted public attention, but at the time his biography was being written he had been largely ignored by mainstream historians.22 Yet, Macintyre demonstrates, Troy’s life ‘illustrates the radicalizing effect of the Depression’ and ‘represents a distinctive strand in the Australian labour movement, that of the militant’. It shows that over his lifetime as a trade union official he not only transformed a poorly paid industry with appalling working conditions, but he made an impact on many individual lives.23 Ironically, officials of the MUA, the super union formed out of the maritime workers’ unions, including Troy’s, know very little of this remarkable man’s history, despite the existence of his biography and the fact that even the Fremantle Port Authority named a pilot boat in his honour. One current ASSLH project involves working with the MUA to direct funds previously set aside for the essay prize to create a more fitting and lasting memorial to Paddy Troy, including a brief history on their website.

As mentioned above, since its inauguration in August 1988, the Perth Branch has produced a non-­refereed journal Papers in Labour History on a biannual or annual basis. The journal provides an avenue for the publication of local labour history, including the work of students at undergraduate and graduate level, and non-­academic history writing of relevance to the labour movement.24

The Society’s recent major achievements are the partnerships formed with the academy, trade unions and archives in, to date, two projects to collect and record the history of workshops. These were the Midland Railway Workshops History Project and the East Perth Power Station History Project. From 1999, the Midland Workshops became the subject of an extensive history project, which was undergirded by seven principles. It involved collaboration between trained academic historians, union officials, and past employees. The interviews, ephemera, documents, and photographs collected were lodged in archives, accessible to researchers on that and subsequent projects. Appropriate collecting and documentation protocols were established. Priority was given to workers’ own stories, but the project aimed to educate the wider public about factory working conditions and processes, the skills required by trades people and the objects of their production, as well as social aspects of the lives of factory workers and their families. Although employing some paid staff, the project depended largely upon volunteers, who were trained and supported in their tasks of interviewing, transcribing tapes, and collecting material. Thus the project provided skills to members of the community. Lastly, it was a vehicle for informed debate about the preservation of the site and of industrial heritage in general, with an ultimate aim of securing a Rail Heritage Centre on the Midland site.25

In 2000, two Curtin University historians obtained an Australian Research Council [ARC] grant for $80,000 over two years, matched with $80,000 cash and in-­ kind from six industry partners.26 The project employed a manager to contact past employees of the Workshops, and to embark on a program of training volunteers. The J. S. Battye Library of Western Australian History assisted with setting up collecting protocols and documentation for collecting and cataloguing taped interviews, photographs and private papers. Together with Murdoch media lecturers, and a further five industry partners added to the original six,27 the project obtained a second, larger grant in 2001, to collect more research material and to publish a major history and electronic resources about the Workshops.

By the completion of the project, over two hundred hours of taped interviews were lodged with the Battye Library. Interviewees also loaned or donated photographs, documents such as trade certificates and union books, and objects (tool boxes, a typewriter, ‘foreigners’ – objects that workers made ‘unofficially’ in the Workshops and secreted off the premises – sports shields, badges and so forth).

These contributed to exhibitions on Workshops open days and in the Midland Library; most notably the highly successful Under the Lap; over the fence exhibition of foreigners held at the 2004 Open Day.28 The displays informed people about the project and disseminated in the community information about the people, the skills and processes of the Workshops.

By mid 2009, the project had produced archives of documents and photographs, oral history collections housed at the Battye and Midland Local History libraries, a collection of tools and other objects, a DVD29, a web page,30 a major researched history of the Workshops, which won the 2006 Premier’s Literary Award for Western Australian History?31  two other published books32 and numerous conference papers, book chapters and electronic media. A program using project interviews won the Best Radio Feature Award at Murdoch University’s Radio and Film Awards, 2002, for an historical feature on the visit of American singer Paul Robeson to the Midland Workshops in December 1960. Throughout the life of the project, debate had been generated on the heritage value of the Workshops site, culminating in the site being recognised as a heritage icon in 2004.

The only unachieved aim was that of establishing a heritage centre, although a small interpretive centre was in operation at the Workshops site for four years. The Midland Workshops project was used as a model for a second history project on the East Perth Power Station, which also was a successful applicant for ARC funds to research and write a multi-­authored book on the Power Station,33 and to create an oral history collection of interviews of past employees, and a website. This project similarly used a mix of academic expertise, and the local knowledge and recollections provided by engineers and workers at the Power Station to research and write the history of the workplace. It included perspectives on the domestic and industrial use of electricity in Perth during the seventy years of the Power Station’s operation, and indigenous connections with the land upon which it stood. Both projects also discussed the heritage potential of these industrial worksites. In 2011, however, the future of the East Perth Power Station site was far from certain.

Projects such as the Midland Railway Workshops and the East Perth Power Station exemplify best practice in labour history research and teaching. They involve cooperation among academic historians and participants (such as past employees, union officials and employers); local knowledge and skills, gathering archival material and oral histories, and the production of a range of books, papers and electronic media for both scholarly and general interest readership. They teach skills and, by using tertiary students as researchers and scholars, they inform the next generation about work practices, skills and histories of employer-­employee relations and keep alive a knowledge of industry and industrial relations that would otherwise soon be lost. Both of these projects received substantial in-­kind support from the ASSLH Perth branch.

In 2008-­9 the Society was also involved in a campaign to place a memorial tablet on the grave of the labour activist Monty Miller, a veteran of the Eureka Stockade, who spent his last decades in Perth, prior to his death in 1920. Miller and other members of his family had lain in an unmarked grave prior to the plaque being organised, along with a memorial tablet placed in a nearby rose garden, recording his contribution to the labour movement in Western Australia. This project did not generate the scholarly research of the larger projects, and was managed mainly by union activists who were past or current ASSLH executive members. Its outcomes were physical objects with little space for information or interpretation.

Thus the ASSLH is active in the promotion of both academic and popular labour history (in a range of formats) to an impressive degree, given the commitments of its energetic, but small and ageing, executive committee. The executive continues to include a mix of representatives from academe and the wider labour movement, and professional and amateur historians, some of whom have retired from professions or trades but remain active as researchers. That the committee lacks youth is, however, a matter for concern, as is the difficulty in attracting entries for essay prizes devoted to labour history, either at secondary or open level. Since the closure of the major projects, the Midland project especially, the flow of tertiary-­level papers relevant to labour history has virtually ceased, and discussion with secondary teachers has revealed that the viability of encouraging students to write ‘labour history’ lies in offering the broadest possible interpretation of the topic – that is, most entries barely come within the ambit of labour history.

Perhaps the success of the projects that the ASSLH partnered indicates that labour history’s mainstream in Western Australia will for the foreseeable future be located outside of academe. Since commencing research on this paper, in the last few months the author has been invited to speak on topics of Western Australian labour history to four separate organisations outside of academe.34 This and my research indicates that unionists are beginning to value the history of the labour movement when they are involved in it, and that the best labour histories are team efforts where the knowledge of those who have ‘lived it’ is guided by the skill of the trained historian into a coherent and readable account. But trained historians also need to possess knowledge of and interest in the labour movement, political parties and labour organisations, and to understand both historic and contemporary relations between employers and employees. Labour history in Western Australian universities has always depended upon the efforts of a few key individuals? the concern is that those who retire are not being replaced with younger scholars. Irrespective of whether there is a demand outside of academe for labour history, my experience is that people wanting their projects written up seek academically trained historians, and while those historians do not necessarily need to be versed in labour history, it is advantageous to both project and historian if they are. Unless there is a revival of teaching and researching of labour history within as well as outside of universities, we risk losing the capacity to engage in scholarly debate on that alternative history that Stuart Macintyre wrote of in relation to Paddy Troy’s life – the history of trade union achievement and working-­class endeavour, when ordinary men and women do extraordinary things for the common good.


1   I wish to thank the two anonymous referees who commented on my paper.
2   These four unions – the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; the Communications,
Electrical, Engineering and Plumbing Union; the Australian Services Union and the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union – comprised (through amalgamations) the numerous unions once active at the Railway Workshops.
3   ASSLH Perth Branch, Minutes of the Executive Committee, 15 June 1998, item 4, in the possession of the author.
4   See http://www.actu.org.au/unioneducation/Courses/default.aspx for details of these courses (accessed 30 March 2011). The author conducted a two-­hour workshop on WA labour history during one of these courses some years ago, which barely achieved more than briefly to outline the major achievements of the union movement.
5   Bobbie Oliver, Unity is Strength. A history of the Australian Labor Party and the Trades and Labor Council in Western Australia, 1899–1999 (Perth: API Network, 2003).
6   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_history_%28discipline%29
8   Lenore Layman, ‘Editorial Note’ in L. Layman, ed.,
Studies in Western Australian History V: Bosses, Workers and Unemployed (Perth, Department of History, UWA, 1982), n.p.
9   Michal Hess, ed., Papers in Labour History No. 1, January 1988, Department of Industrial Relations, UWA.
10   Tony Beech, ‘The Relevance of Labour History’, Papers in Labour History No. 2, (October 1988),64-­68.
11   See, for example, the research profile of Professor Robert Lambert, Business School, The University of Western Australia http://www.business.uwa.edu.au/school/staff-­profiles?type=profile&dn=cn%3DRobert%20Vincent%20Lambert;? also research profile of Professor Malcolm Tull, Dean, Murdoch Business School. http://www.mbs.murdoch.edu.au/dirs/7684.html, accessed 28 March 2011.
12   Email from a member of the UWA History Department to the author, 23 March 2011.
13   See: http://www.history.uwa.edu.au/about/staff/charlie_fox;
14   Emails from historians teaching, respectively at Murdoch and Notre Dame Universities, to the author, 25 March 2011.
15   Melissa Kerr, ‘Current Research Interests in Australian Labour History’,. Labour History, no. 87 (November, 2004), accessed 25 March 2011,
16   Kerr, ‘Current Research Interests in Australian Labour History’, 6.
17   Jenny Gregory, ‘A Guide to Honours and Postgraduate Theses in Western Australian History’ in Charlie Fox, ed., Historical Refractions: Studies in Western Australian History XIV, 1993, Department of History, UWA, 183–98;? Jean Chetkovich and Jacqui Sherriff, ‘Western Australian History Theses. A guide to Honours and Postgraduate theses in Western Australian History 1997-­2005’ in J. Sherriff and J. Chetkovich, eds, Studies in Western Australian History no. 24: Building a Colony – the Convict Legacy: Studies in Western Australian History, no. 24, 2006, 148-­57.
18   See Labour History, no. 94 (May 2008), 215, ‘Call for Papers’ announcement.
19   Twenty-­two refereed papers were published in Bobbie Oliver, ed., Labour History in the New Century (Perth: Black Swan Press, 2009). A further four papers, all by Western Australian contributors, have since been published in Naomi Segal and Andrew Gill (eds.), Papers in Labour History no. 32: The Hand of Time, December 2010.
20   Conference programme, Labour History in the New Century Conference 2009, Perth, Western Australia.
21   Stuart Macintyre, Militant. The life and times of Paddy Troy (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1984).
22   Macintyre, Militant, 220.
23   Macintyre, Militant, 221.
24   Past copies of Papers in Labour History are available on the Perth Branch website:

25   P. Bertola and B. Oliver, ‘Introduction’ in P. Bertola and B. Oliver (eds,), The Workshops. A
 history of the Midland Government Railway Workshops (Perth: UWA Press, 2006), 9.
26   The partners were: the ASSLH;? the J.S. Battye Library of Western Australian History, and the Western Australian Branches of four trade unions: the Communications, Electrical, Engineering and Plumbing Union; the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian Services Union and the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union.
27   The new partners were: the State Records Office of Western Australia, the Museum of Western Australia; Unions WA, the Midland Redevelopment Authority and the City of Swan.
28   Jennifer Harris (ed.), Foreigners. Secret Artefacts of Industrialism (Perth: Black Swan Press, 2009), 7-­9
29   Mia Lindren, producer, Midland Workshops Life, 2004.
30   Brogan Bunt et al., Midland Railway Workshops, An interactive oral history,
31   P. Bertola and B. Oliver, eds,
The Workshops. A history of the Midland Government Railway
Workshop (Perth: UWA Press, 2006).
32   Nic Ellis and Chris Smyth, Midland Railway Workshops, St. George Books, 2004, and J. Harris (ed.), Foreigners. Secret Artefacts of Industrialism (Perth: Black Swan Press, 2009).
33   Forthcoming from Black Swan Press in 2011.
34   These were: the Labor Women’s Organisation;? the Socialist Alternative;? the ALP State Party Conference and the Fremantle History Society.