Icons of the Labour Movement

Many places, buildings and monuments have associations with the Labour Movement. This page is to record the, often little known, places and objects that are connected to labour heritage. Anyone who knows of a labour icon can submit the details, preferably with a picture, to be put on this page. Any additional information or corrections will be most welcome. Just contact the Sydney Branch.


Memorial to James McGowen First Labor Premier of NSW

Memorial to James McGwoen, Redfern

This Monument is in the grounds of St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Cleveland Street, Redfern. This church was formerly the Anglican Church where McGowen was the Sunday School superintendent for 35 years.

The inscription reads:

Erected in 1923 as a tribute to
the Hon James S T McGowen MLC
Born 16th August 1855
Died 7th April 1922
35 years Superintendent
of the Sunday School in this Parish
27 years member for Redfern in the Parliament
and for two years and eight months
Premier of this State.

The eternal God is the Refuge and Underneath are the Everlasting Arms. Deut XXXIII.27

1912 visit by McGowen to West Wyalong (photo from John Dean)

Places in Labour History

Dr Herbert V Evatt’s home

Dr Evatt,s Home Mosman

This house at the corner of Middle Head Road and Methuen Street, Mosman, 1 Methuen Street (formerly and then Georges’ Heights)  which was the home of Hon Dr Herbert Vere Evatt from the 1920s until about 1964.

Louisa Lawson Place


Louisa Lawson Place, 127 Brighton Blvd Bondi. This block of Housing Department accommodation was opened by Abram Landa in October 1952, Clive Evatt was the Minister for Housing.

Percy Brookfield

Brookfield’s Grave surmounted by ball inscribed Workers of the World Unite
Detail from Percy Brookfield's grave in Broken Hill
Detail from Percy Brookfield’s grave in Broken Hill with a verse from The Red flag

Tell it abroad, tell it abroad,
Tell it from chapel and steeple.
That how at the height of his manly prime,
Brookfield died for the people.

Mary Gilmore

Banner in Broken Hill Trades Hall


Tower Room, Trades Hall Sydney

The ALP’s Youth Council met here in the early 1950s. It was also where the Henry Lawson Labour College held courses.

 Issy Wyner

Where else but Balmain for a playground dedicated to Issy? Distinguished be expulsion from both ALP and CPA. Reserve is at corner of Curtis Road and Mort Street. Commemorative Plaque – almost impossible to read. (pictures by Damien Stapleton)


Ship Painters & Dockers Union Hall 1915

Now a commercial building the inscription in the pediment is difficult to read. (Picture provided by Damien Stapleton)


Federated Iron Workers Union

Below is a plaque noting that the Federated Ironworkers Union donated a bowling green to the Repatriation Hospital Concord. The plaque marks the site of the green.  (Does anyone know more about this? )

lawn bowls

Public Housing – an achievement of Labor governments


The Erskineville Estate, in Binning Street, was opened by the NSW Governor Lt General John Northcott on 10 July 1948, the Housing Minister was Clive Evatt and Premier was Jim McGirr. The Plaque on the Kendall Block, says it commemorates the commencement of the re-housing programme by the State Government. (pictures provided by Sydney Branch member, John Sebesta)