Australian Society for the Study of Labour History


The Society

The Australian Society for the Study of Labour History is a non-profit organisation, founded in 1961 to study “the working class situation … and social history in the fullest sense”. The Society encourages teaching and research in labour history and the preservation of the records of working people and the labour movement. It desires to make history a vital part of popular consciousness and a matter for reflection and debate.

The Society draws its membership from the union movement, activist groups, and the academy. It relies on the passion and energies of its members and has six branches across Australia. Each of these hold events and document their region’s history, commemorating the long activist tradition of workers in Australia and the world. We would love you to join us. Here, you can read more about who we are and what we do.

ASSLH Conference: Fighting For Life: Class, Community and Care in Labour History

The 17th biennial conference of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH) has been postponed due to Covid restrictions. It will now 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.

 Visit our conference webpage for details.

Call for Papers – Convict, Unfree and Coerced Workers, and the Expansion of Global Empires

The editors of Labour History are planning a special issue that highlights the intersection of unfree, convict and coerced labour with capitalism and colonialism globally, guest edited by Vivien Miller (University of Nottingham). Editors are keen to have articles on Australia and/or New Zealand to add to those we already expect to have on workers in the Philippines, British India, the Balkans, the Caribbean and the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Expressions of Interest are due 30 September 2021 and completed articles by 20 January 2022. For further information, or to submit an EOI, please contact the Editor of Labour History, c/- Carl Power,

The Journal

In association with Liverpool University Press, the Society publishes Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History. The interdisciplinary nature of labour history, and its acceptance of less traditional sources, including folklore and oral testimony, make it a fascinating field, alive to past and present social justice issues.The journal, which has been appearing twice yearly since 1962, is the premier outlet for refereed, scholarly articles in its field in Australasia. The journal is edited by Professor Diane Kirkby. Click here to learn more about the journal.

Aboriginal Workers: a 1995 special issue of Labour History revisited in 2020. With work from Indigenous scholars and activists.

Read an interview with Ann McGrath, Kay Saunders, and Jackie Huggins, the editors of the original issue, as they explain why it remains so relevant today and why now was the right time to bring it back in to focus, over on the LUP Blog.