The 17th biennial conference of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH), which was postponed due to Covid restrictions, will now be held in a hybrid format from 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. Keynote speakers are Professor Victoria K. Haskins, FAHA, co-Director of the Purai Global Indigenous History Centre at the University of Newcastle and Associate Professor Katharine McKinnon, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra. A draft program is available on the conference website https://www.labourhistory.org.au/2021-conference/ and registration is open at https://www.labourhistory.org.au/2022-conference-registration/ .Early bird registration closes on 12 December 2021. Note that, in the event of the conference being cancelled, full refunds will be provided. In the event of a shift to a fully online conference, participants will be given a partial refund.
Parks for the people! Eastlakes, Jack Mundey and the Green Bans: The Sydney Trades Hall exhibition on Jack Mundey and the BLF is now part of the Bayside Council exhibition at Bayside Library, 444 Princes Highway, Rockdale, finally opened in November after a COVID hitch or two.This is the story of how Eastlakes became the site of only the second green ban in history, and how the green bans inspired an international political movement. Come and find out how Eastlakes residents were able to negotiate a better deal, which saw the developers transfer land for a park to (then) Botany Municipal Council and pay $5000 for landscaping, and why Eastlakes Reserve is now named Jack Mundey Reserve. [The exhibition is now also available online at virtual Trades Hall ]
The Virtual Tour of Sydney Trades Hall available 24/7 at https://tradeshallsydney.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/a-virtual-tour-of-sydney-trades-hall/ is a worthwhile experience both for those who know little about Trades Hall and its history – and for those who fancy a trip down memory lane.
Work is still underway to organise the Australian-Latin American Solidarity (ALAS) Archive, which covers Australian-based solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970. The Archive, which should be available through the State Library of NSW in 2022 (COVID willing) has been built up by Viviana Canibilo Ramirez (a former member of the Chilean Resistance) and public intellectual Robert Austin Henry, both participant-observers in many groups and struggles over the last 40 years, to ensure that this dynamic chapter in social and political history is preserved for future generations. The Archive includes a vast array of pamphlets, posters, artwork, diverse forms of literature, print journalism, rare Left press items, rare music recordings, radio programs, detailed correspondence, ASIO files, recorded interviews and several thousand e-files about Australian solidarity activities that will be invaluable to researchers on this area. Interested researchers should keep an eye on the SLNSW catalogue.
Women of Steel, the Jobs for Women film: Robynne Murphy’s great documentary about the ground-breaking 1980s Jobs for Women campaign has been screened widely in a variety of metropolitan and regional locations. More information about the film, including screenings in your area and how to organise your own screenings, is available at https://www.womenofsteelfilm.com/.
The Great Strike 1917 commemorateswhatisstill Australia’s largest industrial upheaval. The story of the 1917 Strike has long been dormant in archives and is now brought to life by historical researchers with original film footage from the era. Amanda King and Fabio Cavadini’s 68 min documentary is now available from Ronin Films (https://www.roninfilms.com.au/video/0/200/16810.html) on DVD, digital files for screenings and vimeo-on-demand. The film is also available to stream through The Education Shop as 7-day Rental, 30-day Rental, 1-year Rental and Lifetime Access. A Study Guide is available for free download from the Education Shop as well. The film is Classification Exempt for Educational purposes.
Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley’s new book Radicals: Remembering the Sixties is available from New South Books (https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/talking-bout-our-generation/ to order) and the best bookshops.
Michael Quinlan and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart’s new book, Unfree Workers: Insubordination and Resistance in Convict Australia, 1788-1860 will be published by Springer in 2022. The book examines the key role played by convicts in the development of capitalism in Australia and how their active resistance shaped both workplace relations and institutions. It highlights the contribution of convicts to worker mobilization and political descent, forcing a rethink of Australia’s foundational story.
If you missed out on getting your copy of Comrades! Lives of Australian Communists (ed Bob Boughton et al), the collection of biographical essays of communist activists brought out in 2020 for the centenary of the foundation of the Communist party of Australia, or would like to buy one for a friend, more copies will be available in early December. Order online from New International Bookshop at https://nibs.org.au/comrades-book or try your favourite bookshop. (And don’t forget to check out the additional biographies available online at https://www.search.org.au/communist_biographies_project)
Man on a Mission: 30 years of exile for the freedom of his nation (2019), the memoirs of Eddie Funde, African National Congress representative in Australasia, tells the story of the ANC Mission to Australia and the role of the Australian labour movement in rendering solidarity. Copies of the book, which includes forewords by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, are available through Daren McDonald at email@example.com or from Sifiso Publishing in Johannesburg (https://sifisopublishers.africa/bookstore/ ).
Hummer vol. 13, no. 2 (the TUTA special issue): Sydney Branch ASSLHstill hasa small number ofcopies available for sale @ $10 plus $2 postage. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
The Party: The Communist Party of Australia from heyday to reckoning, the second volume of Stuart Macintyre’s history of the CPA, will be released by Allen and Unwin in February 2022.
Ted Roach: from Pig Iron Hero to Long Bay Gaol – A Wharfie’s Life, Denis Kevans’ long-awaited last book, the first book-length biography of Ted Roach, is now available for free download on the ASSLH website at https://www.labourhistory.org.au/ted-roach-from-pig-iron… The book, edited by Denis’s daughter Sophia Kevans, Emeritus Professor Bob Fagan, and author and researcher Bill Egan, is based on Denis’s extensive interviews with Ted and years of meticulous research into unpublished manuscripts and archival records of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia and ASIO.
A Turbulent Decade: Social Protest Movements and the Labour Movement 1965-1975, ed. Beverley Symons and Rowan Cahill, Sydney Branch ASSLH’s very popular 2005 publication, out of print for some time, is available for free download at https://ro.uow.edu.au/uowbooks/28/ . [There’s also a direct link from the Branch webpage.]
Communism in Australia: a resource bibliography, comp. Beverley Symons with Andrew Wells and Stuart Macintyre (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1994): https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/s8mhc3/SLNSW_ALMA21119750810002626
Communism in Australia: a supplementary resource bibliography, c. 1994-2001, comp. Beverley Symons with the assistance of Stuart Macintyre (Newtown, NSW: Sydney Branch, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 2002): https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/s8mhc3/SLNSW_ALMA21141898970002626