Lucy Taksa and Terry Irving, Places, Protests and Memorabilia: The Labour Heritage Register of NSW, Industrial Relations Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, 2002.
I’ve been aware of the Labour Heritage Project for some time. Terry Irving is an old friend and Lucy Taksa is a more recent friend. I’ve ear-bashed both of them on occasion about specific incidents or locations that should go in the Register, mainly rather obscure ones, because I naturally assumed that more obvious strains and streams within labour movement and popular history would automatically be represented. I’ve been conscious of the fact, that for Terry Irving and Lucy Taksa, who are professional historians, who have obtained the necessary grants, etc, they have tended to regard the Heritage Register as their project, which is entirely human and not unreasonable, I’ve been conscious with them of a certain uneasiness when I’ve given them a little too much gratuitous advice.
The initial volume, now completed, which I hope is not the final form of the Register, suggests to me that I should have been even more forceful and detailed in suggesting additions and streams.
I shall proceed by way of suggesting additional sources and also suggesting streams and areas that are unrepresented or almost not represented and I’ll also proceed by way of a bit of a comment on what seemed to me to be glaring omissions so far. My initial criticism would be that the Register so far has too narrow a focus and even lacks a certain amount of imagination about NSW labour and social history. The focus is almost entirely on the detail of the official trade union movement, rather antique material about socialist groups in the early years of the last century, and locations associated with the mainstream Communist Party up until its dissolution.