European colonists employed significant numbers of Aboriginal children in a diverse range of occupations in the Moreton Bay District after 1842. The Queensland government, however, did not pass legislation controlling this employment until 1902. During this unregulated period, working Aboriginal children were very susceptible to abuse because they were members of a dispossessed indigenous population and because of their youthfulness. Large numbers of employed Aboriginal children experienced both psychological and physical trauma. Many were kidnapped and removed from their traditional localities, abused and did not receive remuneration for their labour. During this unregulated period, the state government instituted legislation to control the employment of European state children and this article considers whether similar legislation relating to working Aboriginal children would have reduced cases of mistreatment and abuse. It concludes that further legislation in this period would not have helped working Aboriginal children because European officials would probably have been reluctant to invoke these laws.
The pattern of assistance to women giving birth in rural Australia from 1850 to 1900 is investigated in this article.1 In the nineteenth century women assisted each other or called on 'handywomen' or midwives who had experience in confinements while doctors also acted in this capacity in more populated districts. Data from the civil registration of births is used to analyse the pattern of attendance at births of non-Aboriginal women in one rural area, Dungog and the Upper Williams Valley, New South Wales. The author explores the question of who was present at the delivery and assisted at the birth and concludes that about half the births were attended by women who gained a definite role in the community as midwife or 'handywoman' while the remainder were attended by female neighbours or relatives, a situation which was often reciprocated. Women attending births usually did this in a voluntary capacity although for a very few women this would have been an income-earning activity.
In 1869, Nora Barton chose to become one of the new 'Nightingale nurses' at Sydney Infirmary. She entered as a 'Sister Probationer', one who underwent training not so much to nurse, but to supervise nurses. Ideally, the sister probationers were upper middle class, Protestant, and conformed to the Nightingale image of reformed nursing. Barton was an ideal recruit as a sister probationer. Her experience provides an insight into Nightingale nursing as it adapted to Australian conditions, and helps explain why the English, class-based ideal of the sister probationer did not survive. Nora Barton's experience also offers a different perspective on the choices available to her and other middle class women. From our modern perspective, women like Barton had very restricted life choices. From the perspective of Nightingale and the founders of Nightingale nursing, colonial women not only had more choice than their British counterparts, they had too much choice.
from his comfortable Sydney office. How can we reconcile the optimism of the Herald with the realities of life during these years? In great measure, of course, the paradox might be explained in terms of the physical separation of wealth and poverty in nineteenth century Sydney, but in the case of Garran at least, who was so prominent a figure in circles concerned for the relief of the poor, ignorance seems unlikely. The answer, I believe, lies in a re-interpretation of the milk-and-honey view of Australia, that notion of a land of promise where men and women from the Old World would find, if not wealth, at least a modest comfort and contentment impossible in the lands of their birthplace.2 The important thing for the historian to remember is that the notion of the land of promise, while based solidly on a general material pros perity, and undeniably believed in by people from all classes, was a vision and not reality, a reflection of the set of beliefs holding together and pre serving from radical change the social structure of New South Wales. Its significance lay in the widespread loyalty for existing colonial society and middle class values generally, apparently secured through its presentation of the community as one which, although characterised by differences in rank and wealth, nonetheless seemed to promise that hard work and per severance would meet with just reward.3 Reality began to jar more noticeably with the vision in Sydney from the middle years of the 1870s, when the threat of epidemic disease provoked sanitary investigations whose findings forced a new and heightened awareness of the city poor, the ones for whom the bourgeois vision of the land of promise offered neither recognition of wrongs nor hope for substantive change.
This paper considers the work of children placed under the boarding out scheme in New South Wales in the period 1880-1920. It argues that work for, and by, boarded children was an intrinsic part of both ideology and functioning of the scheme. The paper suggests that, by boarding children in 'respectable' working class households (often in rural areas), the State Children's Relief Board placed children in situations where their exploitation, or overwork, was a significant possibility. It argues that the Board's mechanisms for ensuring the children's welfare under the scheme were not fail-proof and that exploitation, in variance from the scheme's ideals, did occur. However, the paper also suggests that the workload and intensity of the work undertaken by boarded children was commensurate with that performed by contemporaneous working class children who lived with their 'natural' families.
This article is a detailed analysis of the character and implications of a wide-ranging management agenda introduced by the Broken Hill Associated Smelters (BHAS) at its Port Pirie smelters from 1915 to 1929. This core group within the emerging Collins House empire distilled aspects of an international movement towards management 'welfarism', and applied it at Port Pirie with spectacular success. The agenda was targeted at both the workplace and the broader community. New committee-style structures gave workers a sense of involvement while also helping to enshrine an ideology of management/worker co-operation. This workplace agenda was complemented by efforts to 'reform' the town itself, by introducing new forms of 'respectable' recreation, adding to the services and facilities available to workers and their families, and generally making the company more central to the lives of its employees. Throughout the 1920s, the company met with considerable success on the industrial front. However, there is evidence of a cultural resistance to some of its broadly-targeted strategies. Resistance was especially apparent from workforce groups who were beyond the effective reach of BHAS management.
During the 1930s Depression the New South Wales Government passed the Married Women (Lecturers and Teachers) Act, 1932, which removed married women from the State service. There was provision for their re-employment on a temporary basis on grounds of 'hardship' but with catastrophic loss of salary and status. The legislation was interpreted by women as a backlash against legal, civic and economic gains of the previous 50 years. Their battle for repeal (achieved in 1947) was led by a coalition between Jessie Street's United Associations of Women and women within the New South Wales Teachers' Federation. Their campaign demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of woman-centred politics in the interwar years, when women's organisations could mobilise quickly, but their efforts were weakened by the prevarication of organised labour both in the Labor Party and the Teachers' Federation, and by lack of unity among women themselves as they began to polarise around issues of socialism and imperialism.
In January 1933, Victoria's recently elected United Australia Party government enacted the Unemployment Relief (Administration) Bill, a piece of legislation which, in terms of its attempts to force the unemployed to work for sustenance, was unparalleled in any other state.1 From this time, the material fate of Victoria's unemployed rested greatly in its hands. The Act, which codified as well as added to previous legislation, formed the basis of the Victorian state government's unemployment relief policy until the outbreak of World War II. It was arguably the most significant piece of legislation directed towards the unemployed in Australia during the Depression. The legislation was the handiwork of Wilfrid Kent Hughes, a man of unusually forceful and eccentric character, who prior to gaining office had frequently asserted his sympathy for fascism. Shortly before his period as Minister came to an end, he declared himself openly to have become, as he put it, a 'fascist without a shirt'. The paths which led him to this position, and the effects which his conversion may have had - both on the shaping of his legislation, and the responses to it - are worthy of more attention than historians have previously allocated to them. This paper examines these issues in the context of class relations, and attitudes towards fascism and democracy during this key period of the nation's history.
Previous studies of the 1934 anti-southern European riots in Kalgoorlie have predictably focused upon racial division. This article will address the other side of the story - examples of solidarity across perceived ethnic boundaries. While competitive labour relations in Kalgoorlie's goldmining industry undoubtedly created rifts, some attention should be given to the fashion in which the mines cohered a multi-ethnic workforce, sharing similar living and working conditions. It is suggested that this environment created as much basis for unity as it did for division. The article also contends that the Returned Services League played an ideological and practical role in fanning the outburst.
This article analyses a neglected piece of labour history within Australian coal mining - the industrial campaigns for the recognition, compensation and regulation of respiratory diseases due to the inhalation of coal dust. Australia is known on the international stage for its successful control of this notorious occupational hazard, but little is known about the basis of this success. This article argues that the origins of success can be found in the industrial disputes and political responses which led to Australia's relatively early recognition of coal dust disease as a legitimate and serious occupational hazard. Adopting a social constructionist theoretical framework, the article highlights the role of the Miners Federation and the State in mediating and interpreting medical and scientific disputation about whether or not coal dust was harmful. Using the dust issue as a powerful symbol of poor working conditions, the miners' campaign to resolve the problem coincided with the Chifley government's initial post-war strategy of industrial appeasement to take control of the chaotic industry. The task for resolving the problem was then given to Chifley's new post-war regulatory body, the NSW Joint Coal Board, effectively closing opportunities for medical views against the legitimacy of disease to retain a foothold in public policy.
Despite the great deal of attention given to social movements in recent years, a number of issues remain surprisingly under-explored. In particular, the relationship between various social movements and between social movements and social change are in need of much greater study. In this case study of the Australian lesbian and gay movement and the Victorian teachers' unions in the 1970s, I have attempted to explore the ways in which the social movement, as a political form, is able to have an impact on society, its institutions and structures.
Dr Barry Christophers, president of the Council for Aboriginal Rights, Victoria, and secretary of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement's Equal Wages committee took on the work of challenging racially discriminatory clauses in a determination of the Tuberculosis Act. The campaign was a short, intense one. It began late in 1963. Eighteen months later, the clauses which prevented Aboriginal TB patients in Queensland from receiving an allowance designed to assist in recovery and prevent sufferers from returning to work when they were still infectious had been amended or removed. This was the result, mainly, of an effective letter writing campaign waged by Christophers. He also argued that one of the reasons for the non-payment of the tuberculosis allowance to eligible Aboriginal sufferers was that the receipt of such a payment would highlight the enormous discrepancy between actual Aboriginal wages in the north of the country and the basic government social service payment.
This paper explores the nature and extent of Australian women's unpaid work during the Great War. It examines the class basis of war work and considers the patriotic and philanthropic motivations behind it. Many accounts have dismissed war work with an empty tally of knitting and sewing. This paper considers the emotional labour invested in unpaid labour and recovers women's crucial role as the mediators of loss and bereavement. It identifies the paradoxical nature of war work, surveying the tension between militarism and humanitarianism and concludes that the movement at once challenged and enforced traditional gender roles.
Marian Quartly published an article in 1978 on an episode involving a female convict, Penelope Bourke, who had declared in 1832 that 'she only married to be free'. Quartly identifies a number of aspects relating to colonial marriage, the main one for this discussion being that consensual marriage was the most common form of cohabitation in the colony. It is a conclusion which she, herself, subsequently modified. The view of convict marriage expressed in Quartly's article has become a touchstone. The article itself and the subsequent authority it has attained, raise important historical and historiographical questions, some of which are addressed here.
The burgeoning feminist and labour movements provided the impetus for Annie Duncan and Belle Golding's employment as inspectors in the New South Wales public service in the late nineteenth century. This article demonstrates that their work was enmeshed in their feminist politics in the post-suffrage era, and Belle was also committed to the Labor party. As inspectors both women worked assiduously to improve conditions for women and girls in factories and shops, and deployed their differing personal and associational networks in the same cause. Given the nature of their work within the public service and their political commitment in the post-suffrage era, both Annie and Belle might reasonably be considered as early twentieth century femocrats.
This article introduces a special section on voluntary work and labour history which was timed to coincide with the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer (2001). Voluntary work has only recently been considered a relevant topic for labour history. Its past neglect reflects the widely held view that voluntary work is unproductive. Voluntary work challenges traditional labour history and directly confronts the changing nature of work in our society. By positioning voluntary work as the central category of analysis, this thematic section further extends the boundaries of labour history, and, it is argued, provides an improved framework of analysis. Focusing attention away from the labour movement and labour processes and towards the social and cultural processes of everyday life gives a refreshingly new perspective on labour history.
Mr Dobb examines the history of economic thought in the light of the modern controversy over capital theory and, more particularly, the appearance of Sraffa’s book The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, which was a watershed in the critical discussions constituted a crucial turning-point in the history of economics: an estimate not unconnected with his reinterpretation of nineteenth-century economic thought as consisting of two streams or traditions commonly confused under the generic title of ‘the classical tradition’ against which Jevons so strongly reacted.