Judy Birmingham, Ian Jack and Dennis Jeans: Industrial Archaeology Australia – Rural Industry Heinemann Publishers, Australia 1983. Hardback. rrp $39.95
A multidisciplinary team of a archaeologist, historian and geographer provides an introduction to industrial archaeology in Australia through its discussions of flour mills, brickmaking, the building industry and transport. It provides welcome insights for labour historians into the technology and organization of these important nineteenth century industries. A useful chapter on the sources of industrial archaeology in Australia presents the problems shared with labour historians of nineteenth century documentation
John Sendy: Melbourne‘s radical bookshops International Bookshop, Melbourne, 1983, r.r.p. $6.95
As its subtitle – (History, People, Appreciation) suggests, this book is far more than a work of parochial value. Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniver sary of the International Bookshop, it is a marvellous account of the bookshops and proprietors that have contributed to, and helped to shape, Melbourne’s radical political culture. The book brings to light important details about radicals’ reading habits and ensures that the likes of will Andrade, R.S.Ross, Roy Rawson and Jack Morrison, amongst others, will not be forgotten. It is especially pleasing to members of the Labour History Society. Not only is Recorder, the Melbourne branch’s journal, cited copiously but the reminiscences of labour movement veterans and A.S.S.L.H. members such as Lloyd Edmunds and Jim Garvey have obviously provided a vital input. And at the book’s launching our Melbourne comrades took the lead. The Society received valuable publicity through a report in The Age and a snippet on the ABC news featuring the mellifluous tones of Peter Love
Gilbert Roper: Labor’s Titan: The Story of Percy Brookfield, 1878-1921 (edited by Wendy and Allan Scarfe, with the assistance of a grant from the Australia Council Literature Board)
The Scarfe’s introductory essay leaves no doubt that Gil Roper’s own lifetime of labour movement activism is a story well worth the telling. His work with the C.P.A. in Adelaide and Sydney in the 1930s, and later with the A.L.P., the P.I.E.U., the Sydney Labor Council and the Sydney City Council is a rich. and illuminating testament to a life of reasoned and constructive militancy. The same applies to the Gil’s wife, Edna, who for many years devoted her energies to the women’s movement within the N.S.W. A.L.P. from 1958 to 1978 Edna was a member of the N.S.W. Legislative Assembly. It would be nice to hear a little more about her experiences in the labour movement. But back to Brookfield. Roper’s examination of Brookfield’s life to working’ class activism makes clear the source of the author’s own political inspiration. The biography follows Brookfield from his birth in Liverpool, England, to his emigration to Australia, his involvement in the I.W.W. in Broken Hill, and his struggle against Billy Hughes’ war machine in 1916/17. It moves on to consider Brookfield’s electibn as an M.L.A. to. right for justice for the I.W.W.v”twelve”,vand for the rights (and lives) of the Broken Hill Miners. Finally, it turns to the tragic events at Riverton railway station in March, 1921. Some, including Roper, suggest that Brookfield’s murderer was simply insane. Others, perhaps mindful of the fate of that other great crusader for socialism and peace, Jean Jaures, on that terrible summer day in Paris in August, 1914, see more sinister forces in play. Anyway, decide for yourself, but take a good look at the Roper biography first. Bookshops for a copy.