Sydney Branch Talks

RECENT BRANCH TALKS: The Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has hosted several interesting talks of late in its usual venue of the Merewether building at Sydney University. These have been:

Louise Douglas, 4 March 1985

Ms Douglas, one of Sydney’s foremost authorities and’ practitioners of oral history, delivered a detailed and lively talk on approaches to oral history and its techniques. Her talk traversed many issues, including latest developments and books but it served to remind the audience that one of the original inspirations of oral history was the desire to recreate the material lives of ordinary folk, who, unlike prime ministers and businessmen, do not always commit themselves to paper.

Ernie Boatswain, 3 June 1985

Ernie Boatswain presented an interesting talk about 1nl n ITIl\ t ional trade union organisations, particularly focusing on the period since World War II. Assistant national secretary of the Building Workers Industrial Union since 1973, Ernie spoke with some authority on The subject, drawing from his long personal experience of the peace and disarmament movement, the International Trade Union Committee and the World Federation of Trade Unions. He outlined some of the successes of such bodies in opposing attacks on working people around the world by transnational corporations and in agitating for a nuclear free zone in the Pacific. The split in WFTU shortly after World War II over the Marshall Plan and the complexities of the current situation were all part of a very detailed and interesting speech. Perhaps the major theme that emerged was the notion that given the international dimensions of modern capitalism, international trade unionism is highly appropriate.

Dr Lloyd Ross, 16 April 1985

Distinguished labour activist and scholar, Dr Lloyd Ross, spoke on the dilemma of his father, R. S. Ross, in regard to socialism and racism. On one hand R. S. Ross recognised a threat to the labour movement from co loured labour in the early decades of this century. However, he also believed in working towards the elimination o racism in a socialist society.For people interested in obtaining Lloyd’s comments on this dilemma, a tape of the talk is held by the Branch.