Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union

Identity area

Type of entity

Trade union

Authorized form of name

Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1872 – circa 1916


Founded in 1872 and registered under the New South Wales Trade Union Act (1881), 10 January 1883, the Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union almost ceased to exist in the years following the 1890 Maritime Strike. It was revived by State MLA William Morris Hughes (Prime Minister of Australia, 1915-1923), whose electorate covered the waterfront from Darling Harbour to Balmain. In 1899 Hughes became Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union Secretary. Following Federation it was believed that the state and port-based unions would have common concerns that could be more adequately addressed by a federal body. The Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union was eventually absorbed into the Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia; Hughes remained Secretary until 1916.


Sydney, New South Wales

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Representation for waterside workers

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Prepared by Margaret Avard, April 2013




Australian Trade Union Archives website
William Morris (Billy) Hughes (1862-1952), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Accessed March 2013.
Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union – Unfurling a New Banner. The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 1 October 1901 Accesses March 2013

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