Deposit N93 - Musicians' Union of Australia, Federal Office deposit 2

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Musicians' Union of Australia, Federal Office deposit 2


  • 1955 - 1980 (Creation)

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9.5 m

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Name of creator

(1911 -)

Biographical history

The Musicians' Union of Australia was registered with the Commonwealth Conciliation Court on 13 March 1911. The union was composed of State Districts, some of which were divided into local branches. Although Western Australia was represented at some very early Federal meetings it did not formally join the union until March 1962. From August 1961 to 1975 the union was re-named the Professional Musicians' Union of Australia. It reverted back to the Musicians' Union of Australia in 1975. Prior to 1911 there were several unions which led up to forming the Musicians' Union of Australia. The Professional Orchestral Benefit Association was founded in 1897 before changing its name to the Professional Musicians' Benefit Association of Australasia on 10 April 1899 before a further change on 8 July 1901 to the Professional Musicians' Association of Australasia (PMAA). In August 1902 the PMAA and the Professional Orchestral Musicians' Union of Australia formed the Amalgamated Musicians' Union of Australasia (which appointed an executive to meet once a year to settle disputed matters, make rules, levy fines, etc.), although the PMAA continued as a separate body. On 9 September 1907 the PMAA was dissolved and all assets were handed over to the Professional Musicians' Club and an agreed sum was given to the newly-formed Professional Musicians' Union of Australasia on 8 April 1907. The Professional Musicians' Club had been registered as an Association with limited liability under section 52 of the Companies Act (1899) on 11 June 1907. At some time between 1907 and 1912 the word "Professional" was dropped from the title of the Professional Musicians' Union of Australasia. Both the name Musicians' Union of Australasia and the final form, Musicians' Union of Australia are found in records till about 1916 at which point the Musicians' Union of Australia becomes the form used.

The Musicians’ Union of Australia represents musicians, musical librarians, copyists, composers, vocalists and musical arrangers. The supreme governing body of the Union was the Federal Council, which met every year at the Annual Conference. The Federal Executive met regularly to implement policy as determined by Council. The union had branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Newcastle and Broken Hill, which were administered by a Branch Committee. The Federal and Branch Secretaries were elected for a four-year term by the rank and file.

The following is a list of Awards, Determinations and agreements that the union was concerned with:

● The General Musicians Award (from which State awards flow)
● AHA Agreements
● ABC Determinations
● Opera & Ballet Award
● Commercial Television Award
● Jingles Agreement
● ARIA Agreement

The MUA is affiliated with the ACTU, the ALP in Victoria, NSW and WA and the Federation of International Musicians.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This deposit consists of the records of the Federal Office of the Musicians' Union of Australia. The bulk of the records cover the 1950s to 1980s. Minutes of the Annual Conference can be found in this collection covering the years 1955 to 1977, as well as an extensive set of subject files documenting the Unions' activities from the 1960s. Further material includes import files detailing visits of overseas artists; arbitration transcripts, a transcript of an Inquiry into the Copyright Act 1982, rules of the Federal Office and MUA Branches, rules of other unions and of the Musicians' Club of Victoria, printed membership lists (1965-1981), miscellaneous printed material, stickers mainly produced as part of the Keep Music Alive campaign and badges.


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Researchers must sign an access agreement

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Related units of description

NBAC E156, Musicians' Union of Australia, Federal Office
NBAC M73, Musicians' Union of Australia minutes of conferences, 1965-1977

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 8 November 2012




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