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. New contributions welcome. Links to other websites do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the content of those websites.
NATIONAL LABOUR HISTORY CONFERENCE
The 17th biennial conference of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH) will be held 9–12 February 2022 in Bendigo, Victoria. Organised with the support of LaTrobe University, the theme of the conference is Fighting For Life: Class, Community and Care in Labour History.
For more details go to
ERIC FRY RESEARCH GRANT
Applications for Eric Fry Research Grant for 2022 are now open. Go to the Eric Fry drop down menu for details on eligibility and how to apply.
Vale Stuart Macintyre
As many of you will be aware, our Society’s federal president, Stuart Macintyre, passed away recently. I am passing on this message from the federal society, which includes links to several tributes and the details of Stuart’s funeral, on 30 November in Melbourne:
We mourn the death of our friend and president, Stuart Macintyre. In the days since Stuart’s death there has been an avalanche of tributes and we reprint three of these on our website. Written by Brian Arrons, Tim Rowse, and Janet McCalman, they speak to the enormous influence of Stuart’s work and to his character and his citizenship.
That citizenship, and Stuart’s generosity, explain why he agreed to take on the presidency of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH) at a critical time. Having just lost our institutional funding, Stuart helped us to navigate the Society through this tumultuous period when we relied on donations from members and the journal’s operations were moved to Liverpool University Press.
Fittingly, Stuart’s formative years as historian were in part influenced by his friendships with the founders of the Society, Edward Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm in the UK, and Bob Gollan and Eric Fry, among others, in Australia. For him, the study of history was not simply an academic pursuit, but an expression of a genuine curiosity and a firm commitment to social justice.
Throughout Stuart’s tenure as president, we have been grateful for his counsel and experienced leadership. Stuart was also a book review editor for Labour History, a role that he took up in 2011. In the decade that followed, the journal’s book review section benefited significantly from his knowledge and connections.
Stuart’s leadership of the ASSLH is demonstrative of an egalitarian vision of history, beyond the historical establishment. His innumerable achievements and length of service to his disciplinary community and to academic citizenship shows us what will be lost if the push to an ‘academic capitalism’ is realised.
Stuart’s sustained commitment and collegiality will be sorely missed, as will his gentle humour, warmth, and intellect. Our deep condolences to his family, Martha, Mary, Jessie, Xuan, Tai, Rory, Hamish, Clem, and to all who loved Stuart.
A funeral will be held on Tuesday 30 November at 10am, Wyselaskie Hall, Ormond College, Melbourne. RSVP is required by Saturday 27 November: https://macintyre-funeral-rsvp.eventbrite.com.au
Vale William (Bill) Tully 10 Sept 1937 – 12 Oct 2021
The legendary Bill Tully, one of the Labour History Society’s most colourful characters, has passed away at the age of 84.
A man of many talents and just as many interests, he was always engaging and passionate about the things that mattered to him.
Bill was one of our most loyal members and served on the committee in a number of capacities, most recently as Branch Treasurer between 2005 and 2008.
He was a lively contributor to our discussions and made a number of presentations at seminars and other events. One that springs to mind is his vivid account of the life and times of the local activist Ray O’Shannassy whose entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography was penned by Bill.
Bill worked for many years as a senior librarian at the National Library. His interests were wide ranging and he was well known across the wider Canberra community. In addition to his political activism, Bill was a publisher and public broadcaster, author and poet. He also ran the Canberra Recorded Music Society for many years.
(Photo credit: Stephen Holt)
For a more detailed summary of Bill’s life, see the following link to Helen Musa’s fine tribute in the Canberra City News, reposted with permission, at
For Humphrey McQueen’s tribute:
Vale Bill Tully
Here are some of our recent articles. To search the complete list, click on the Articles and Publications menu.
- Slavery in Australia – Convicts, Emigrants, Aborigines August 18, 2021 - Slavery in Australia – Convicts, Emigrants, Aborigines KM Dallas Kenneth McKenzie Dallas (1902- 1988) was a Tasmanian historian, teacher, writer and socialist. In September 1968, the Tasmanian Historical Research Association (THRA) published a collection of three articles by Dallas, each offering a different perspective on aspects of Australian history. The third of the three: ‘Slavery […]
- The fallacy of remoteness August 18, 2021 - The fallacy of remoteness KM Dallas Kenneth McKenzie Dallas (1902- 1988) was a Tasmanian historian, teacher, writer and socialist. In September 1968, the Tasmanian Historical Research Association (THRA) published a collection of three articles by Dallas, each offering a different perspective on aspects of Australian history. The second of the three: ‘The fallacy of remoteness’ […]
- Commercial Influences on the First Settlements of Australia August 16, 2021 - Commercial Influences on the First Settlements of Australia KM Dallas Kenneth McKenzie Dallas (1902- 1988) was a Tasmanian historian, teacher, writer and socialist. In September 1968, the Tasmanian Historical Research Association (THRA) published a collection of three articles by Dallas, each offering a different perspective on aspects of Australian history. The first of the three: […]
- Jack Mundey tribute January 8, 2021 - It’s still right to rebel Only struggle availeth. ‘What’s the good news from Canberra?’ Jack Mundey always wanted to know when we visited him and Judy in their two-up and two-down brick unit in Croyden Park. We welcomed Jack’s unintended reprimand as a reminder to look further than the headlines, to see through the parliamentary […]
- Abolish the penal powers: freedom’s fight of ’69 July 18, 2020 - Abolish the penal powers: freedom’s fight of ’69 John Arrowsmith John Arrowsmith (1913-1997) was a legend of the Melbourne Branch of the ASSLH, a self-educated working class historian, former Branch President, union activist and communist campaigner. In 1969, he was approached by a number of prominent Victorian union officials to write a history of the […]