Category Archives: Conference

2011 ASSLH conference – ‘That’s not right’: Indigenous politics, Dexter Daniels and 1968


‘That’s not right’: Indigenous politics, Dexter Daniels and 19681

Julie Kimber


The high hopes associated with the landmark Cattle Industry (Northern Territory) Award, 1966, which promised equal pay for indigenous workers soon soured. For many activists the decision was a Pyrrhic victory. This was especially true for Dexter Daniels, the North Australian Workers’ Union organiser who, in the lead up to the case, had visited the cattle stations in the Northern Territory. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – ‘Bastards from the bush’: forgotten IWW activists


Bastards from the bush’: forgotten IWW activists

Drew Cottle
Rowan Day



The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have secured a place in Australian folklore as one of the most notable examples of class-conscious rebellion. For a time in the 1910s the State viewed them as public enemy number one, an insidious menace responsible for inciting the class conflict in Australia. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – Raphael Samuel: A Biography in Development


Raphael Samuel: A Biography in Development

 Sophie Scott-­Brown


Raphael Samuel constitutes a fantastic candidate for an intellectual biography. He had a working life of endless activity, covering a vast array of different interests. He was first and foremost a socialist and an historian, but he was also a tireless educator, energetic facilitator, prolific editor, enthusiastic writer, and shrewd social critic.  Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – Activists in Aggregate: Collective Biography, Labour History, and the Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement, 1788-­1975


Activists in Aggregate: Collective Biography, Labour History, and the Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement, 1788-­1975

Andrew Moore, Yasmin Rittau, John Shields


Despite the solid – if occasionally polemical – record of research and publication in the biographical genre by Australian labour historians over the past sixty years, there are hundreds if not thousands of labour activists whose lives have remained un- or under-documented; lost, for all intents and purposes, to both the established scholar and the enthusiastic student. The Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement 1788-1975 represents an attempt to address these lacunae by publishing brief (300-700 word) biographical entries on some 2,000 activists about whom we have been able to discover at least a fragment of information and whom we consider to have made a significant but hitherto un- or under-recorded contribution to the movement’s history at the national, State, regional and/or local scale at some point down to the mid-1970s.   Continue reading

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.

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2011 ASSLH conference – Melbourne Labour History

Melbourne Labour History:
A Collective Biography of its First Generation1

 Peter Love


Bruce Shields’ recent memoir of the ASSLH’s early years, differing from the late, lamented Eric Fry’s earlier (1999) account, is a timely reminder of the vibrant intellectual culture, and the passions imbedded in it, that gave birth to our Society. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – Purposes almost infinitely varying: Archives as sources for labour biography


Maggie Shapley



A former Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, Sir Hilary Jenkinson, described the value of archives thus: ‘Drawn up for purposes almost infinitely varying – the administrative or executive control of every species of human undertaking – they are potentially useful to students for the information they can give on a range of subjects totally different but equally wide.’ This paper explores the purposes for which records are created and the bearing that this has on their value as sources for biography. Continue reading

2001 ASSLH conference – But who’ll get Ted’s lunch?

Julie Tolley
Honours Student, University of South Australia


I have identified three focal points for my honours research: an historical examination of munition sites in South Australia, interviews with women who were munitions workers during World War II, and a textual analysis of wartime and postwar issues of the Australian Women’s Weekly. 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 introduction of the chain system: An ‘Heroic Defeat’ for the AMIEU (Vic)

Marjorie A Jerrard
Monash University


Much has been written from the labour process perspective about the chain system of slaughtering and its deskilling of the slaughtermen’s trade. This paper explores the technological change and work reorganisation necessitated by the chain system, from the trade union strategy perspective, using the rational choice framework of the “heroic defeat” developed by Golden. Continue reading