Deposit Z633 - Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia, Fremantle Branch deposit 3

Identity area

Reference code

AU NBAC Z633

Title

Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia, Fremantle Branch deposit 3

Date(s)

  • 1929 - 1998 (Creation)

Level of description

Deposit

Extent and medium

12 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1890 - 1993)

Biographical history

The first waterside workers' unions in Australia were formed in Port Adelaide, Sydney, and Sandridge (Port Melbourne) in 1872. By 1889 there were notable waterfront unions in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Although the various unions federated in March 1890 the Waterside Workers' Federation was not established until 7 February 1902 with Mr William Morris Hughes (Prime Minister of Australia, 1915-1923) elected its first President. The Waterside Workers' Federation was registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act on 1 July 1907 and the first comprehensive Commonwealth award for waterside workers dates from 13 December 1915. In January 1914 an office of the Waterside Workers’ Federation was established in Melbourne. After 1939 the Federation was located in Sydney. In order to manage the Waterside Workers' Federation Branches the Federal Executive, in 1902, established a Committee of Management (COM). The COM comprised delegates from the Executive of each Branch, and each Branch was entitled to one member for every 500 financial members. Furthermore, any of the COM’s resolutions that were approved by less than a 3/5 majority had to be submitted to at least 500 financial members of the rank and file for endorsement. Although designed to ease interstate rivalries this method of decision-making often exacerbated tension. The structure of the Waterside Workers' Federation remained largely unchanged until 1950 when it absorbed the Permanent and Casual Wharf Labourers' Union of Australia. In 1991 the Waterside Workers' Federation amalgamated with the Australian Foremen Stevedore Association but retained the name Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia. In 1993 the Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia joined with the Seamen's Union of Australia to form the Maritime Union of Australia.

Name of creator

(1889 - 1946)

Biographical history

The Fremantle Lumpers' Union was the first known union of unskilled labour in Western Australia. It was formed after a recruiting mission to the west by the Adelaide Lumpers' Union in 1889 and was inspired, perhaps, by the solidarity shown in the Great Dock Strike workers in Britain of that year. It joined the Waterside Workers' Federation in 1910 but broke away in 1933 after a dispute with the Federal Executive of the Waterside Workers' Federation over the method of collection of union dues. It reaffiliated in 1946.

Name of creator

(1916 - 1993)

Biographical history

The Federated Ship Painters' and Dockers' Union of Australia was registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act (1904) in 1916, and had New South Wales, Victorian and Federal branches. It was deregistered in 1993.

Name of creator

(1872 - 1993)

Biographical history

The first seamen’s unions in Australia were formed in Melbourne (1872) and in Sydney (1874). In 1876 the Melbourne Seamen’s Union and the Sydney Seamen’s Union amalgamated and, by 1880, there were seamen’s unions in all the eastern and south-eastern colonies of Australia as well as in several ports in New Zealand. The Federated Seamen's Union of Australasia was registered in 1906 under the Commonwealth's industrial relations legislation and, in 1907, Head Office was transferred from Melbourne to Sydney. Although the Federated Seamen's Union of Australasia was deregistered in 1925, in 1930 many of its members went on to form the Seamen's Union of Australasia which, in 1943, became the Seamen’s Union of Australia. Despite amalgamations with the Marine Cooks, Bakers and Butchers' Association of Australia in 1983, the Federated Marine Stewards and Pantrymen’s Association of Australasia in 1988 and the Professional Divers' Association in 1991, it remained the Seamen's Union of Australia until 1993 when it amalgamated with the Waterside Workers' Federation to form the Maritime Union of Australia.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Minutes of Fremantle Lumpers' Union and Waterside Workers' Federation Fremantle Branch, 1929-1938, 1957-1970, 1983-1997; correspondence and subject files, 1986-1997; membership records, 1965-1997; documents concerning arbitration and industrial matters including Royal Commission into alleged payments to maritime unions, 1974-1996; financial records, 1970-1996; and printed material, 1961-1995. Also includes minutes of Fremantle Tally Clerks' Union, 1953-1957; Seamen's Union of Australia, 1981-1992; Shipboard Committees, 1980s-2000s; Fremantle Port Authority Combined Unions Association, 1980-1992; records of the Federated Ship Painters' and Dockers' Union, WA Branch and the Amalgamated Seamen and Dockers' Union of Western Australia; and a MV Koolinda plaque.

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Archives staff will need to request permission from the owner of the records before access can be given

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Item list

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description, November 2012

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