Category Archives: History

The Gluckman Affair 1960: A bystander’s view

The Gluckman Affair: An article by Geoffrey Bolton

In 1960 the Australian National University invited the eminent British anthropologist Professor Max Gluckman to visit Canberra to participate in their anthropology program and also to make a short visit to Papua New Guinea to meet with ANU anthropologists undertaking field work in the territory.  Prior to leaving Britain for the trip, Gluckman had applied for an entry permit for his three-week PNG trip.  But once in Australia, the Department of Territories refused to grant the permit.  Given Gluckman’s prominence and eminence as an anthropologist, the decision to refuse the application was met with incredulity and political uproar. Continue reading

Oily Sam Griffith’s moment of truth

 

Oily Sam Griffith’s moment of truth

Humphrey McQueen

Broadcast on Melbourne community radio 3CR   30 September 2017

Samuel Walker Griffith is known today from a NSW country town, an inner Canberra suburb and a Queensland university. The more politically aware might recall that he drafted the Commonwealth Constitution in 1891 and became the first Chief Justice in 1903, having served as Premier of Queensland and its Chief Justice from 1893. Continue reading

Malcolm Ellis: Labour Historian? Spy?

Malcolm Ellis: Labour Historian? Spy?

Andrew Moore
UWS, Macarthur

First published in Labour and Community – Proceedings of the Sixth National Labour History Conference, Wollongong, October 1999

When, on New Year’s Day 1952, Sir John Ferguson, the eminent bibliographer and Industrial Commission judge, wrote to his friend and colleague, M.H. Ellis, the anticommunist historian, he evinced sentiments with which many labour historians would agree. Continue reading

James Normington Rawling Collection

James Normington Rawling Centenary Seminar – 17 Apr 1998

This seminar was co-hosted by the ASSLH and the Noel Butlin Archives Centre (NBAC) to celebrate the centenary of the birth of James Normington Rawling (1898-1966) returned serviceman, pacificist, rationalist turned CPA functionary, expelled from the CPA in 1939, flirted with Trotskyism, became chief informer at the Victorian Royal Commission on the Communist Party in 1949, was subsequently connected with Catholic Action and the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Rawling was a literary historian, a pioneer labour historian and unrivalled collector of Australian radical manuscripts, pamphlets and ephemera. Continue reading

The forgotten fascists – Menzies’ chosen people

The forgotten fascists  – Menzies’ chosen people

Humphrey McQueen

For the 75th anniversary of the start of the Menzies radio addresses, Howard and his gang are in the business of promoting ’the greatest speech ever made in this country’. The fact that ‘The Forgotten People’ was not a speech but one of a series of wireless broadcasts is the least of their lies. Their Big Lie will be to conceal what their hero had dared to say. Continue reading

26 January – or thereabouts

by Humphrey McQueen

26 January – or thereabouts

Vox Pop illustrates that the most enthusiastic celebrants of Australia Day do not always know what happened on 26 January 1788 in Sydney Cove. Continue reading

CIA, Kerr, Barwick and 1975

 

by Humphrey McQueen

A revival of interest in the dismissal of the Whitlam government on 11 November 1975 is focusing on who advised the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. The role of the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick, has been known almost from the start. Knowledge of a second counselor has been there for many years, with the near certainty that he was also a member of the High Court, and later Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Mason. Continue reading

Dedication doesn’t pay the rent – The 1986 Victorian Nurses Strike

DEDICATION DOESN’T PAY THE RENT! THE STORY OF THE 1986 VICTORIAN NURSES STRIKE.

by Liz Ross

First published in Hecate as “Sisters are doing it for themselves…and us”, Vol 13, No 1 1987. Reprinted as a pamphlet by Socialist Action September 1987.

 

 

1986 Nurses Cover

Nurses are often seen as the archetypal ‘hand-maidens’ of men. But if there was any one event that threw off this image once and for all, it was the Victorian nurses’ strike of 1986. Not only was the nurses’ dispute important for nurses, it is a valuable lesson for all women workers and those who write about them. All too often, the focus is on women workers’ passivity, their super-exploitation and the problems they face in breaking through their conditioning.

While it is obviously important not to dismiss these difficulties and problems, this approach focusses too much on women’s weaknesses. What it fails to take account of it is that, when they become involved in struggle, women can quickly break out of this passivity. Continue reading

Port Adelaide Workers Memorial

Speech by Humphrey McQueen at the Port Adelaide Workers Memorial
May Day 2011

Pt Adelaide workers memorialOne does good, neither from fear of punishment nor promise of reward, but because good is good to do. They were the sentiments of the nineteenth-century American Rationalist, Colonel Robert Ingersoll, whose writings would have been popular with some the people whose names went on to the Workers’ memorial. Continue reading

Kerr at Bruce Hall 1976

Humphrey McQueen

Article headed Down Under Brunuel by Humphrey McQueen
Published by Meanjin Quarterly Vol 35/2 June 1976

Describes chaotic scenes at an ANU event attended by then Governor-General Sir John Kerr.

Kerr at Bruce Hall 1976

Riches beneath the flat

by Ross Mainwaring

Extract from the book Riches beneath the flat: A history of the Lake George mine at Captain’s Flat
Published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia 2011

Captain’s Flat – Riches 

You can purchase a copy from lightrailwayresearchsocietyofaustralia.cart.net.au

The secret seminars before the dismissal

 

Stephen Holt

First published in The Canberra Times’ Public Sector Informant December 2015

Troy Bramston and Paul Kelly’s new book, The dismissal: in the Queen’s name, refers to a private seminar arranged for then governor-general Sir John Kerr at the Australian National University in September 1975.

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Fighting Labor’s Cuts – The NSW Social Security strike, May–June 1988

FIGHTING LABOR’S CUTS:
The NSW Social Security strike, May–June 1988

 Eris Harrison and Dave Main, 1989

 Introduction

Since the mid-1970s, Australian workers have been on the defensive. There have been minor actions (for instance over wages in 1981), but they have been heavily outweighed by spectacular defeats, like the dismembering of the BLF and by the passivity and lack of confidence of workers in the face of major cuts to wages and conditions orchestrated by the Hawke government.

Continue reading