A tradition of union militancy meant that wharfies
valued the power of organised labour and the strike weapon to gain and maintain working conditions.
That we had to do as the wharfies
at Sydney were refusing to load any on the ships.
If you lose this fight," Swedish union leader Erland Lindkvist told Sydney's wharfies
, "they will move [on] to other countries in Europe and the United States.
21) In 1971, 660 wharfies
worked the Lyttelton harbour; by 1999, this had been reduced to less than 150 as mechanisation and improved technology facilitated the handling of greater volumes of cargo.
Zubrycki refers to this heritage in Kemira's opening scenes sourced from Hewers of Coal, a 1956 film that the wharfies
made for the Miners' Federation, and the Eddie Allison film Coaldust (1946).
Politicisation occurred in the most unexpected and unlikely places: in the grandmothers who came down to the wharves; in the police who, under the shadow of their own industrial relations problems, questioned their role in the dispute; and in the masses who rallied in support of the wharfies
-- those from the ranks of the `I've-never-been-political, but .
They rounded up the wharfies
(longshoremen) and expelled them from the docks.
The Arts at the Workplace," Caper, 5 (1980), 1; Sandy Kirby, Artists and Unions: A Critical Tradition -- Report on the Art and Working Life Program (Sydney 1992), 10-1; Debra Mills, "All those in favour," Industrial Issues and Cultural Tools, Papers and Proceedings of the 2nd National Art and Working Life Conference, October 1990 (Sydney 1991), 5; Andrew Reeves, A Tapestry of Australia: The Sydney Wharfies
Mural (Sydney 1992), 9-10.
20) Likewise the novel points ahead to 1951 in its portrait of the National Party supporter who boasted that once his party was in power 'Sid Holland would put those bloody wharfies
and miners in their place, make no mistake about that' (p.
Its impact was so devastating, and the consequent rebuilding of the union under communist leadership so impressive, that the earlier defeat suffered by the wharfies
in 1917 tends to shade into obscurity.
were seen as the marginal working-class holding the country to ransom; they were much maligned in the mainstream media as lazy, drunken, thieving, as threatening Australia's defence efforts and as politically aligned with the Communist Party, which Menzies sought to ban (p.
For example, anti-Hansonism in the Northcote by-election, the pro-abortion choice majority in Perth or mass support for the wharfies
, are related to the ethnic diversity of the working class, the relevance of feminist issues to `non-elite women', and the importance of class issues such as job insecurity -- all evident despite the popularity among the working class of racist, sexist and anti-union radio `shock jocks' and commercial tabloids.