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. Links to other websites do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the content of those websites.

For all the news about our activities over the past year, click here to read our branch-presidents-report-for-2016-annual-general-meeting held on 15 November 2016.


Coming events

Branch President Frank Bongiorno will be presenting the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series

 Wednesday 10 May 2017
Menzies Library, McDonald Room
RG Menzies Building #2 ANU

 Is Australian History Still Possible? Australia and the Global Eighties

 Is it still possible to write a history of a nation-state in an age of globalisation? The lecture will explore this question by setting Australia’s experience of the 1980s in comparative, transnational and global frames. How might we see the 1980s in the wider sweep of Australian and world history? What did Australia share with other nations in this era, and how was its experience distinctive? Did forces such as neoliberalism and globalisation obliterate or stimulate more localised identities? And why should the 1980s still matter today, in the age of Brexit and Trump? The lecture will argue for the possibility of a history of Australia that also pays due attention to the larger forces reshaping the modern nation-state and the wider world.  

 Frank Bongiorno is Professor of History in the School of History at the Australian National University. His recent books include The Sex Lives of Australians: A History and The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia, both published by Black Inc. and winners of the ACT Book of the Year. His work has also been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the New South Wales Premier’s History Awards, the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Australia Book Prize and the Ernest Scott Prize.  He is President of Honest History and the Canberra Region Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, and was previously co-editor of History Australia, the Australian Historical Association’s journal.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/is-australian-history-still-possible-australia-and-the-global-eighties-tickets-32308516643



Vale Sigrid McCausland

sigrid-mccauslandMembers and friends of the Canberra Region Branch of the Labour History Society will be saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Sigrid McCausland, formerly ANU Archivist and an active member of our Society. Sigrid served with distinction as Branch President from 2001 to 2003. This is a great loss to the communities of labour historians and archivists, as well as to Sigrid’s many friends, colleagues and admirers, including here in Canberra. Our condolences to her family and her partner Phil Griffiths.


Recent articles

Here are some of our recent articles. To search the complete list, click on the Articles and Publications menu.

  • 26 January – or thereabouts January 25, 2017 - 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.
  • Conscription for war and profit November 27, 2016 - Conscription for war and profit: classes, nation-market-states and empires Humphrey McQueen Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Canberra Branch, Seminar, Saturday, 29 October 2016: ‘The defeat of conscription: a centennial retrospective’.   ‘Here and today, a new epoch in the history of the world has begun.’ So said Johann Wolfgang Goethe to the Prussian […]
  • Conscription – the sequel November 22, 2016 - Conscription: The Sequel* Bill Thompson Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Canberra Region Branch This paper will briefly examine the aftermath of the failed attempts to introduce conscription for overseas service into the Australian military forces during World War I. It will discuss the inter-war years; the constraints imposed by anti-conscription sentiments on […]
  • The Trade Unions and Labour Parties 1890-4 September 25, 2016 - Robin Gollan A 20 page brochure reprinted from Historical Studies Vol 7, No 25, November 1955. Published by University of Melbourne. gollan-trade-unions-and-labour-parties
  • CIA, Kerr, Barwick and 1975 July 13, 2016 -   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 […]