After a hiatus for 2022, for a variety of reasons, Hummer returns into print for 2023.  

We have two substantive articles in the issue.

Reflecting on the 60th anniversary of the founding of ASSLH in 2021, the first article is by Terry Irving on the first incarnation of the Sydney Branch in the 1960s. Terry writes from first hand experience, attending those meetings as well as becoming its secretary in 1967 and researching ASIO’s 1964 attempt to disrupt it. Reflecting the times, the struggle between and within the CPA and its influence on the labour history community is evident is Terry’s account. So too are the early activities of labour history stalwarts. 

The second article by Michael Johnston provides a personal account of his relationship with Bill Ford and his analytical framework for industrial relations. Centred on worker participation in workplace change at the ICI chemical plant at Botany, Michael relates his HR Manager experience at the plant with his work colleagues as they adopt the practice advocated by Bill in his academic and consulting work. 

Our book review in this issue is by Neale Towart on the latest offering from Terry Irving and Rowan Cahill on the vital links between barbers, education and the union movement. Reminding us that casualisation and wage theft are not recent phenomenon, Neale highlights the radical history spotlight applied by book on the role of union institutions such as libraries and reading room as well as the critical importance of collective identity in claiming worker rights. In solidarity with the authors, the challenge is made to reconsider to labour history, inspired by book, its authors and radical historians that help motivate it. Linking back to Terry’s article on the early days of the ASSHL, this includes Eric Fry, ASSLH founding member and inaugural editor of the Labour history journal.    

Sadly, in recent years, we have generally published at least one tribute to someone of labour movement significance in each issue. Consistent with recent Hummers, this issue contains two towers of strength in labour and community activism whose photos are also featured. 

The first of the tributes is an extract of the eulogy given by Paddy Gorman at the funeral for Fred Moore. Reflecting on a well-lived lifetime, Paddy highlights the social values of this well-loved local union and social activist icon. As this is an edited abstract of Paddy’s eulogy, a full transcription is also available. 

The second tribute is for Lina Cabaero-Ponnambalam, in recognition to her deep impact in advancing workers and women’s rights across three countries. Her talent for organisation and her social activism coming to the fore, for example, in her years as convenor for the Asian Women at Work organisation.

In our regular feature, A Movement That Sings, Danny has selected a range of songs commemorating the 150th anniversary of the MUA celebrated in 2022 and highlighting the struggle, solidarity and unity of this stalwart union.

This followed by the Bulletin Board, listing events and resources of potential interest to the labour history community. As always, we encourage readers to alert us to items for inclusion in this section.

Finally, I bring your attention to the following message on the upcoming Voice Referendum from the Sydney Branch:

The Sydney Branch ASSLH Executive supports a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum and encourages members sharing that view to actively campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote.  .

Jim Rooney

Editor, The Hummer

August 2023