Deposit N397 - John Benson Collection

Identity area

Reference code



John Benson Collection


  • c.1947-1990 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

3.0m (15 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

After spending part of his earlier life in the Australian navy, Benson began work as a bosun on a number of merchant vessels from 1950 to 1960. He joined the Seamen's Union in 1950. As bosun of the Manunda, a passenger ship trading between Melbourne and Cairns, he was involved in organising support by that ship during the 1956 wharfies strike. In the late 1950s he worked in the Melbourne Branch office of the Seamen's Union. In 1960 Benson became Assistant Branch Secretary, Sydney Branch, Seamen's Union and from 1967 until 6 Jul 1990 he was Branch Secretary, Sydney Branch, Seamen's Union. Benson was also active in the peace movement and was a member of the ALP. He was a Representative at World Congress of Peace Forces in 1973 and in 1979 selected as Executive Secretary, World Peace Council. Benson retired from his position as Presiding Officer of the Seamen's Union in 1990.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers relating to the Seamen's Union, to the Australian Labor Party, and, most substantially, to the international peace movement. Includes papers relating to international conferences and meetings, peace movement documents and publications, correspondence, clippings and pamphlets.


System of arrangement

There was little existing order to the archive at the time of arrangement (Dec 2018). Where papers were in files, they have been left intact. Loose papers have been placed in folders by the archivist, and a chronological order imposed upon the arrangement of the folders. Where they were originally loose, publications have been placed at the end of the archive (items 72-447). These publications have been individually described and ordered alphabetically. There are also some publications present within folders in the first part of the archive (items 1-71).

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement

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Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Some serials have been separated to supplement existing holdings at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre: Seamen's Journal, Peace Courier (WPC), Peace Courier (Australian), and New perspectives : journal of the World Peace Council.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 18 August 2011; revised on 8 September 2011, revised and converted from Z426 to N397 by Beth Lonergan December 2018.




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