Deposit Z235 - Joe Owens collection

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Joe Owens collection


  • 1960 - 1992 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

18 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1935 - 2012)

Biographical history

Joseph (Joe) Owens was born in Durham County in the north of England; his Welsh father was a coalminer. He arrived in Australia in 1958, having skipped ship as a seaman, then worked as a cane-cutter in Queensland before working as a dogman on Sydney building sites. He became a member of the Communist Party of Australia and an organiser in the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Building Construction Employees' and Builders' Labourers' Federation (ABCE&BLF). He was Secretary of the NSW Branch of the ABCE&BLF from 1973 to 1975 and along with the Branch leadership which included Jack Mundey and Bob Pringle, supported the BLF Green Bans. In 1975, Owens and other members of the NSW Branch leadership were expelled from the BLF by the federation's then federal secretary Norm Gallagher. Owens was also a Federated Engine Drivers' & Firemen's Association of Australasia (FEDFA) delegate and Senior Project Delegate of the Labour Council to the Darling Harbour Construction Project.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Files on the affairs of the NSW Branch of the Builders' Labourers' Federation, notably green bans and Federal intervention; records of the Builders' Labourers for Democratic Control; personal correspondence, notes and diaries, drafts of an unfinished history of the Branch; papers relating to the Darling Harbour Construction Project; papers collected by Abe David; photographs, pamphlets, leaflets, posters and serials.


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Researchers must sign an access agreement. Some files are closed.

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Box list

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Related units of description

NBAC N279 Bob Pringle Collection

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 14 October 2011; access conditions amended 22 July 2014.




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