Recent articles

Here are our 10 most recent articles.

  • Scullin and Curtin: Through a covid lens July 12, 2020 - by Stephen Holt (A review of Liam Byrne’s new book Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin: The making of the modern Labor Party. The article was published in The Canberra Times of 7 July 2020 and is posted here with the permission of the author.) On 14 December 1918 an election took place in the […]
  • Unions and anti-Chinese agitation on the Victorian goldfields July 12, 2020 - Unions and anti-Chinese agitation on the Victorian goldfields The Clunes riot of 1873 by Jerome Small Small, Jerome – Clunes riot 1873 This paper (access via the above link) was presented at the seventh national Labour History Conference held in Canberra in April 2001. It never appeared in the published proceedings. At a time of […]
  • SILICOSIS May 3, 2020 - Humphrey McQueen Killing is not murder when done for profit. The Commonwealth government expects 4,000 deaths this year from asbestos-related conditions, a figure to continue for some years. Silicosis is likely to match that total each year and to extend well beyond the era of when most of the sufferers from asbestos will have […]
  • The Harco ‘Stay-Put’: Workers’ Control In One Factory? May 3, 2020 - Drew Cottle and Angela Keys Factory occupations are rare in Australian labour history. While ‘work-ins’ and other forms of workers’ control have occurred in coalmines, power stations, on building sites and on the waterfront, they are almost unknown in factories. Their importance has always been a crucial part of the Left’s political programme and strategy […]
  • DISCOVERIES OF COOK April 27, 2020 -   by Humphrey McQueen And in a charge of bubbles we go about, Veering in towards drama and Cape Howe; Eyried in mist we feel the brush of doubt As stars congeal, the air thickens. There are warnings now. Francis Webb, Disaster Bay (c.1970). Whoever it was who reached what we now call Australia some […]
  • The Brisbane Line: An episode in capital history April 25, 2020 - by Drew Cottle The Brisbane Line was a hotly contested idea during World War 2 which envisioned that the northern half of Australia might be abandoned in the event of an invasion by the Japanese. Historian Drew Cottle takes a fresh look behind the controversy in this interesting article, originally published in the Journal of […]
  • Clarrie O’Shea – 50th anniversary of the defeat of the penal powers April 24, 2020 - Author Michael Williss has put together an excellent tribute to the legendary union leader Clarrie O’Shea and the historic industrial struggle he led in 1969. Clarrie was the Victorian Secretary of the Tramways union who was gaoled for an indefinite period by the notorious Sir John Kerr for refusing to hand over the union’s financial […]
  • With friends like these October 20, 2019 - Tetchy relations between business and the Liberal Party are far from new by Norman Abjorensen A non-Labor government in Canberra might ordinarily expect solid support from business — even if only because it is self-interestedly preferable to the alternative, with its presumed tilt towards the unions. But it’s not quite as simple as that. History […]
  • A socialist’s republic August 5, 2019 - The republic referendum – 20 years on ‘A socialist’s republic’ by Humphrey McQueen November 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the unsuccessful referendum on whether Australia should become a republic. Strange that such an important issue should have lain dormant for so long. To mark the occasion we present Humphrey McQueen’s article ‘A socialist’s republic’ […]
  • Clarrie O’Shea – The trade union leader who went to gaol May 10, 2019 - by John Merritt This month (May 2019) marks the 50th anniversary of the gaoling of Victorian Tramways Union leader Clarrie O’Shea (1905-1988).  O’ Shea was gaoled in 1969 by the notorious Sir John Kerr for refusing to hand over the union’s financial records. His imprisonment sparked a massive strike wave across the country and effectively […]