Deposit E161A - Australian Workers' Union Longreach and Charleville deposit 2

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Australian Workers' Union Longreach and Charleville deposit 2


  • 1888 - 1956 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1.8 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1887 - 1892)

Biographical history

The Queensland Shearers' Union was formed in January 1887 to help combat pastoralists' attempts to reduce the shearing rate. By the time the union had registered under the Queensland Trade Union Act in August 1888 it had well over nine hundred members, and a year later close to three thousand. Constantly at odds with the larger Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia, the QSU rejected amalgamation attempts from that union only to accept by plebiscite an amalgamation with the Queensland Labourers' Union in October 1891 to form the Amalgamated Workers' Union of Queensland, which it did in April 1892. In an ironic twist, however, the Amalgamated Workers Union of Queensland ultimately merged with the newly formed Australian Workers' Union, a creation of the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia, in 1904.

Name of creator

(1889 - 1892)

Biographical history

The Queensland Labourers' Union was established at Saltern Creek in 1888 as the Central Queensland Labourers' Union. In 1892 the Queensland Labourers' Union, as it was then known, amalgamated with the Queensland Shearers' Union to form the Amalgamated Workers' Union of Queensland.

Name of creator

(1892 - 1904)

Biographical history

The Amalgamated Workers' Union of Queensland was formed through the merging of the powerful Queensland Shearers' Union and the Queensland Workers' Union in April 1892. The three branches of the Amalgamated Workers' Union of Queensland, at Longreach, Hughenden and Charleville, amalgamated with the Australian Workers' Union in 1904 and became the Queensland branches of that Union. By 1908, however, the Hughenden Branch had closed down, leaving just the two other branches to represent Queensland in the AWU.

Name of creator

(1905 -)

Biographical history

The Australian Workers' Union, registered federally in 1905, initially sought to serve unskilled rural workers such as shearers and general labourers and eventually grew to be politically influential within the Australian Labor Party. Increasing in size as members from deregistered unions such as the South Australian United Laborers' Union and the Australian Carriers' Union were absorbed into the fold, the AWU postured itself as the 'One Big Union' of Australian trade unionism. In 1976 the union was reregistered following an amalgamation with the Wool and Basil Workers' Federation of Australia. The Union was again reregistered in 1988 when it merged with the Undertakers' Assistants and Cemetery Employees' Union. A final amalgamation in 1993 with Federation of Industrial Manufacturing and Engineering Employees brought about the AWU-FIME Amalgamated Union but it continues to be known as the Australian Workers' Union.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Minute books, letterbooks and some financial records of the Queensland Shearers' Union, Blackhall, the Queensland Labourers' Union, Barcaldine and Springsure, and the Amalgamated Workers' Union and Australian Workers' Union, Hughenden, Longreach and Charleville, including some records of the Australian Labor Federation, Barcaldine and the Workers' Political Organisation, Charleville and Warrego. AWU records of the 1956 shearers strike were microfilmed and then returned.


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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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Existence and location of copies

NBAC M46, microfilm copy (11 reels)

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description 10 October 2012




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