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 news about our activities over the past year, click here to read our Branch President’s report to the 2017 Annual General Meeting.


Coming events

Book Launch – Friday 10 August 2018

Please join us for the launch of Merridee Bailey, Tania Colwell and Julie Hotchin’s book,
Women and Work in Premodern Europe: Experiences, Relationships and Cultural Representations c. 1100 – 1800. This book re-evaluates and extends understandings about how work was conceived and what it could entail for women in Europe across the period c. 1100 to c. 1800. It will be launched by Frank Bongiorno, on Friday 10 August, at 4 pm, in the Hedley Bull Building (Room SR3), at the ANU. Afternoon tea will be provided.

Canberra Labour History and the ANU School of History are sponsoring this event.


Latest news

20 years in the making!

Voices from the past – an oral history project of the ASSLH Canberra Region Branch

Interviews with 14 former officials of the ACT trade union movement recorded back in 1997-98.

Now available online. You can read a transcript of these interviews from the Oral History Project drop down menu.

The preservation of these tapes was made possible thanks to a Heritage Grant from the ACT Government in 2017.








ACT Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman presents the award to ASSLH Vice-President
Melanie Nolan.



Recent articles

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

  • The ‘Spanish’ Influenza Pandemic in Australia, 1912-19 June 20, 2018 -   Humphrey McQueen  (Originally published in Social Policy in Australia – Some Perspectives 1901-1975. Edited by Jill Roe. Cassell Australia 1976) SIX MONTHS BEFORE the Armistice ended the Great War a new and more deadly scourge was unleashed upon the world. Popularly known as ‘Spanish’ flu it killed twenty million people within twelve months.
  • Ghost of bankers past may come to haunt Shorten June 18, 2018 - Bob Crawshaw (First published in The Canberra Times 21 April 2016) You can almost hear the ghost of prime minister Ben Chifley applauding Bill Shorten’s calls for a royal commission into Australian banking. Yet while Chifley might approve of Shorten’s efforts, he would probably think they do not go far enough.
  • What happened to Childe? June 10, 2018 - V. Gordon Childe (1892-1957) made himself the most influential Australian scholar in the humanities and social sciences. Forty years after his death, his ideas stimulate thinkers well beyond his own field of Prehistoric archaeology. Humphrey McQueen has returned to Childe’s writings to reflect on current disputes about facts, theorising and politics in the piecing together […]
  • The New Guard June 3, 2018 - Originally published in Workers Online 2003: http://workers.labor.net.au/features/200313/c_historicalfeature_moore.html Andrew Moore Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.
  • Dr Marx, Professor Childe and manure: some rather crude materialism December 11, 2017 - The V. Gordon Childe Memorial Lecture Blackheath History Forum Saturday, 9 September 2017 Dr Marx, Professor Childe and manure: some rather crude materialism by Humphrey McQueen Dirty words Our text at this Evensong is taken from Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verses 13-14: