The lead article in this issue is a detailed and lively account of militant action in the NSW Teachers Federation in the 1970s and early 1980s, by former General Secretary and later President Max Taylor. He emphasises the importance of youth, of both members and officials, in campaigns by teachers during that time.
The damage to residential housing due to the controversial WestConnex road project has received considerable attention in the media. Less well known is the loss of historical industrial sites. The Branch submitted an objection to certain works on the grounds of destruction of significant industrial heritage, the text of which is the second item in this issue. A brief overview is provided by Branch President, Rosemary Webb. Margaret Walters has provided a relevant protest song.
Two book reviews follow. The first, by Linda Carruthers, is a review of a biography of communist and women’s rights activist Freda Brown, written by Lisa Milner. The second is a glowing account of the autobiography of Tom and Audrey McDonald by Ian Milliss. The range of causes in which the subjects of these books participated is remarkable, and the books are welcome additions to the history of progressive activism.
This issue includes tributes to the remarkable former African National Congress Representative in Australasia, Eddie Funde, and Communist stalwart, Hal Alexander, both of whom passed away in recent years.
We are trialling a new Bulletin Board section featuring short pieces providing updates on campaigns referred to in previous issues of Hummer and highlighting projects and other activities of labour history interest.
For the series, A Movement That Sings, Danny Blackman has again provided the lyrics of songs which, in this case, complement Max Taylor’s article on the NSWTF.
We regret that no issues of The Hummer appeared in the calendar year 2018 and apologise to members. The last issue published was vol. 12, no. 2, 2017. All going well, there should be another issue of Hummer by the middle of this year; there are many articles in the pipeline.
Very little has been published on the history of the Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA). The Hummer has been approached by a group of people intimately involved in the establishment and development of this important institution and we hope to feature some articles from them in a forthcoming issue.
During the time that I have been editor, and before that, Hummer would not have appeared without the efforts of Sue Tracey. Sue is standing down from the production role and I wish to express my appreciation on behalf of the Branch for her work. Without Sue’s dedication and hard work in editing, sourcing material, and managing layout and printing, The Hummer simply would not have come out at all. Sue has also done the hard yards of digitising past issues of The Hummer so they can be accessed through our web-page (https://www.labourhistory.org.au/hummer/); readers who have been chasing back copies have yet another reason to be grateful for her work over the years. My thanks to Margaret Walters for her willingness to step into this role.
I am also very grateful to Danny Blackman for her continuing work on Hummer, including encouraging contributors to provide copy.
Editor, The Hummer