Category Archives: Transnational labour 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



Victor Isaacs

Abstract: John Dias was an active unionist from the 1890s to the 1920s. His experiences included the Queensland shearers’ dispute, with William Lane’s utopian Australian settlements in Paraguay, in Broken Hill during two major disputes, prominence in the Kalgoorlie goldfields’ unions, with the Melbourne Trades Hall and Victorian Labor Party, and in particular leaving a mark on the Carpenters’ Union. Today he is commemorated by a plaque bearing a very generous tribute at the main entrance to the Melbourne Trades Hall.  But he is little remembered. This paper will document his peripatetic and varied career in the labour movement. Continue reading

An Australian Newspaper in Paraguay 1894–1904

 by Victor Isaacs


Following the failures of the maritime dispute in 1890, the shearers’ dispute in 1891 and the great economic depression of the early 1890s, many in the Australian working class came to the conclusion that Australia would not become a workingman’s paradise. Some sought other solutions, such as starting anew elsewhere. Continue reading

Harry Holland

Frank Mines

There are a number of reasons why we should remember Harry Holland. For one reason, he is the only significant political figure to have come from the Canberra district. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – Harry Atkinson and the Socialist Church, 1896-­1906


Harry Atkinson and the Socialist Church, 1896-­1906

 James Taylor


In the early 1890s Harry Atkinson, the subject of this paper, travelled to England and spent a year as foundation secretary of the Manchester and Salford Labour Church. In Manchester Atkinson worked closely with the Church’s founder John Trevor and experienced the colour and symbolism of protest and demonstration, and the ritual and rhetoric of Labour Church services. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – The Political Cultures of the Irish Diaspora: Some Comparative Reflections, 1800-­1920


The Political Cultures of the Irish Diaspora: Some Comparative Reflections, 1800-­1920

 Donald M. MacRaild


Whilst Irish people clearly were highly active in trade unions and labour organisations in the English-speaking world, there is disagreement as to the extent of their participation. The weakness in Ireland of organisations, such as Chartism, and the endemic sectarian conflict between a plethora of nationalist and loyalist organisations, has obscured the role of class in Irish identity formation. Continue reading

2001 ASSLH conference: Misunderstanding Australian labour: Samuel Gompers, Billy Hughes, and the debate over compulsory arbitration

David Palmer
Senior Lecturer, American Studies, Department Social Sciences Flinders University


The compulsory arbitration and award system served as the foundation of Australian industrial relations and trade unionism throughout most of the twentieth century. In the United States, however, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) opposed compulsory arbitration. Continue reading

2001 ASSLH conference – The paradox of Paddy Lynch

Danny Cusack
Centre for Irish Studies, Murdoch University


Patrick Joseph Lynch (1867-1944) emigrated from Ireland to Australia as a nineteen-year-old. He subsequently served as a senator representing WA in the Federal Parliament (1906-38), the last six years as President. Unusually for an Irish Catholic in the Labor Party at this time, he adopted a pro-conscription stance in 1916-17. Continue reading