Archive for the ‘industrial disputes’ Category

A Lyrical Afternoon in celebration of the life and work of Norman Talbot, Dorothy Hewett and Merv Lilley was held at Varuna, The Writers’ House in Katoomba,  on the 15th September 2012.

The first part of the afternoon was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Norman Talbot. Presenters included Dr Jean Talbot, Don Cohen,  President of Catchfire Press, Dr Christopher Pollnitz, Jo Tregellis and Zeny Giles.

Original running order for the segment was as follows :

The Work of Norman Talbot

Introduction by Don Cohen
Jean Talbot gives biographical details then reads the following poems:
First Hen Sonnet (photo)
Mum in a Photograph (photo)
Nine Tailors (photo)
Parachutes in the Second World War (photo)
Bell Pullers
At Aunt Ivy’s Christmas 1944

Followed by Christopher Pollnitz reading the following poems:
The Cactus
The Wrath of Tibrogargan
Birdsong at the Double Locks
The bat, Gunnedah
Listening to Little Wobby: Poetry Class
Followed by Zeny Giles reading from the unpublished novel Sulphurcrest

Followed by Don Cohen reading the following poems:
The Mystic Boiler Maker
The Birds of Lake Macquarie

Followed by Jean Talbot and Don Cohen reading The Pinkerton Haiku.

In addition to the Tribute, the Newcastle Poets also presented readings from recent works as part of the Event. Running order for this segment was Jo Tregellis, Dr Christopher Pollnitz, Zeny Giles, Don Cohen and Dr Jean Talbot.

The second part was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Merv Lilley. Presenters included Rozanna (Rose) Lilley, Marilla North, Tom Flood, Joe Flood and Adele Flood.

The original running order of the Merv Lilley segment (plus one Dorothy poem):

A: Poems (Rose and Marilla): approx. 15 mins
1. [from Git Away Back (1983)] Legend: 1 min

Rose : From What About the People?
2. Lucky Gem (p.14, 1.30)
3. When Freedom Cannot Marry (p.28, 2 mins)
4. The Canecutters Comeback (p.51, 45 secs)

Then Marilla does :
Go Down Red Roses (5 mins)

5. Where Sailor’s Belong (p.54, 1 min)
6. Nostalgia (p.61, 1.35)

Then Marilla does :
Husband of the Poet (2 mins)

B: Merv songs : Tom, Joe, Adele: approx. 15 mins
Anti-Fouling Roll
Cane Killed Abel
Pick-up Shed (2.5 mins)
Birchgrove Park
Possibly a 5th Merv song (shorter than D’s)

C: Poems from Cautious Birds (1973): Rose: approx. 7 mins
To A Sleeping Bird (1 min)
On Holiday (1 min)
God’s Fool (1 min)
The Lesson (1 min)
Through Every Grey Dawn (1 min)
River Road (2 mins)

D: Prose/ Pom reads from Gatton Man (approx. 5 mins)

E: Merv on death: Rose (approx. 3 mins)
From Sandgropers (1973)
Lucy (p.17, 1 min) [about the death of his mother]

Poems Merv wrote late in life
Swift (ms, 1.30) [about the death of his mother/Dorothy]
Request (ms 40 sec)
[this last poem is about Dorothy’s grave, so that segues nicely into the
DH section]

The third and final part of the afternoon was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Dorothy Hewett. Presenters included Rozanna (Rose) Lilley, Rosie Scott, Tom Flood, Joe Flood and Adele Flood.

The original running order of the Dorothy segment is as follows:

A: Dorothy songs: Tom, Joe , Adele [15 mins]
Norman Brown (Tom)
Sailor Home From the Sea (Adele)
Sweet Song for Katie (Adele)
Black Strike (Clancy & Dooley)

B: Rose reads
Once I Rode with Clancy (3 mins)
Living Dangerously

C: Rosie Scott: 10 mins
Halfway Up the Mountain
In Wind and Rain

D: Rose reads from Wild Card (Last Summer) 5 mins

This segment finishes with ‘You’ve said enough’, snaps the ghost of my
grandmother, ‘so hold your tongue.’

Reminiscences (Joe Flood)
End of the Town
Dorothy on Death
Last Rites

Final Song: Weevils in the Flour

At the end of the day was heard the most beautiful Australian song ever written. A poem by Dorothy Hewett in 1963, set to music by Mike Leyden in 1965. Based upon the reminiscences of the Great Depression by our own local treasure Vera Deacon. The “island in the river” is Moscheto Island that once stood in the Hunter River, the BHP was own BHP, the Humpies were those on Platt’s Estate.

A classic Australian song based from memories of Newcastle.

Weevills in the Flour (Click for a larger image)

UPDATED Weevils in the Flour: A short history of a song by Mark Gregory (1.1MB PDF File)

Please read Weevils in the Flour: A short history of a song by musicologist Mark Gregory. Also included is a note about the new setting of Black Strike (Clancy & Dooley & Don McLeod) relating to the first strike . Mark Gregory, in conversation with Marilla North, has referred us to the eminent  Julian Croft’s (of University of New England) paper he did back in 1999 – “A Sense of Industrial Place” published in ANTIPODES Vol 13 No 1, June 1999. Croft  nominates Newcastle as “the world’s first industrial city” and asserts that it was “atypical of the usual construction of Australian place”. He further asserts that proper parallels for the shaping of Newcastle should be made with Stuttgart, Birmingham and Pittsburgh.  One of Mark’s discovered heroes is “Frank the Poet” who has his own link:  who actually was a convict sited in Newcastle over 1837/1840 and who wrote four poems in or near Newcastle c 1838.

Marilla North, who conceived and organised this event contact Vera Deacon, who unfortunately could not make it. She did send her apologies which included the following reply:

I’d love to be there with Malcolm to remember Dorothy and Norman. One of the great joys of my life in the Sydney Realist Writers meetings was to her Doffy, as our little children called her, say her poems in that wonderful, melodious voice…”Have you heard the children singing…” and “Hiroshima, Hiroshima.” Our fifties generation of young mothers was haunted by fear of the atom bomb tests and our children developing leukemia; a fear powerfully real for Dorothy who had lost her little boy to leukemia. The RWG National Council published Merv Lilley and Dorothy’s collection What About the People. Denis Kevans and I sold that precious collection in the Sydney Domain, when we were invited to recite the poems from various stumps. I treasure a photo of myself, taken in 1964 by an old man, as I spoke from the stump. You can clearly see a copy of What About the People in my hand.

It’s seven years since Denis Kevans, Australia’s ‘Poet Lorikeet’, died in August 2005. Ten years since Doffy left us to sleep in that lovely Springwood bushland place. Eight years since I sat with many others, in silent homage to the moving quaker celebration of Norman Talbot’s life. A few years since I heard Merv Lilley and Jean Talbot perform the “Swan River Love Poem” at a hamilton poets’ night. Our memories, our lives are richer for having known them. Now I have kate Lilley’s selection of Dorothy’s poems and so the music of her life and work lives on.

Please give Merv and Jean a BIG HUG and greet the members of the Performance Celebration for me.

Cheers! Love and Big Hugs for you!!


Portrait of Humphrey McQueen by Karen Donnelly, 2009

When: 14th October 2011 at 1.30 pm
Presenter: Humphrey McQueen
Title: ‘Will you be long, Mr Barrack?’
Where: Cultural Collections Level 2 Auchmuty Library University of Newcastle.
Cost: Free

The University’s Radical Newcastle Collective is proud to announce a free public lecture to be delivered by renown Australian historian Humphrey McQueen in the Friends’ Reading Room, Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) University of Newcastle.

The lecture starts at  1.30 pm and is entitled ‘Will you be long, Mr Barrack?’

Humphrey McQueen is a freelance historian and cultural commentator. His most recent work is ‘Framework of Flesh: Builders Labourers Battle for Health and Safety’ published in 2009.

He has an impressive and diverse publication record in Australian history over a long period that includes his 1970 book, A New Britannia: An argument concerning the social origins of Australian radicalism and nationalism, released in several editions. He also contributed the Foreword to Radical Brisbane published in 2004.

This is an important opportunity to engage with a prominent Australian historian to help unpack the concept of ‘radicalism’ and to think through how it might be applied to the University of Newcastle’s own Radical Newcastle project.

Prior to Humphrey’s talk, you are also invited to a light lunch downstairs at Isabella’s adjacent to the Student Union Building from 12 noon to 1:15 pm. Isabellas is adjacent to the Student Union Building. This has kindly been provided by the School of Humanities and Social Science.

If you would like to attend the lunch could you please RSVP Linda Hutchinson (Humanities Research Institute) at by Wednesday 12 October.

I hope to see as many of you at the event as possible.

Dr James Bennett
for Radical Newcastle collective.
University of Newcastle

Conduit: Mr Alan Williams.  Deposited: February 2000.
Accessioned: November 2006 by Mr Peter Gray Brattan

The listing was made possible by the kind generosity of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund.

Quantity: 2 boxes and 28 volumes

Date Range: 1918- 1983

Formerly known as the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union of Australasia, the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union of Australia began as separate state-organised unions who achieved federation in 1899, and were finally registered federally in 1916.  Comprised of skilled tradesmen, the Australia-wide union occupied a strategic position within the Australian engineering industry and maintained strong links with the mining and railway industries. A short history of the Union’s foundation and early years can be found in the collection at C825(vii).

The Union subsequently amalgamated with the Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights’ Union in 1983.

The collection dates from 1918 through to 1983, and has a full record of meeting minutes from 1941 through to 1983. The financial accounts record is imperfect, lacking records for the period 1964 to 1975. The collection also includes a number of pamphlet publications and some correspondence material.

The meeting records from 1962-1963 are of particular interest. During this period major industrial disputes took place, sparked by the attempted resignation from the compulsory union of a Novocastrian, who wished to resign from the union on religious grounds.

Listings of related material include material held in the Auchmuty Library Cultural Collections, reference numbers:

A6053(xiv) Issues of ‘The Federated Moulder’, journal of the Federated Moulders’  Union of Australasia, predecessor to the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union of Australia (1 box), and; B5579 – B5583 Minute Books and Journals of the Federated Moulders’ Union of Australasia 1918-1936 (5 volumes).

C801 Minute Book, 24th February 1941 – 19th October 1942

C802 Minute Book, 19th October 1942 – 30th August 1943

C803 Minute Book, 6th September 1943 – 9th August 1944

C804 Minute Book, 9th July 1945 – 10th February 1947

C805 Minute Book, 17th February 1947 – 9th May 1949

C806 Minute Book, 8th may 1949 – 11th May 1953

C807 Minute Book, 18th May 1953 – 19th November 1956

C808 Minute Book, 26th November 1956 – 8th June 1959

C809 Minute Book, 22nd June 1959 – 5th June 1962

C810 Minute Book, 5th June 1962 – 30th November 1964

C811 Minute Book, 30th November 1964 – 12th June 1967

C812 Minute Book, 19th June 1967 – 27th April 1970

C813 Minute Book, 27th April 1970 – 27th March 1972

C814 Minute Book, 27th March 1972 – 8th April 1974, also shows accounts for 13th October 1958 – 30th June 1964

C815 Minute Book, 8th April 1974 – 7th February 1977

C816 Minute Book, 7th February 1977 – 21st April 1980

C817 Minute Book, 21st April 1980 – 19th April 1982

C818 Minute Book, 19th April 1982 – 24th January 1983

C819 Account Ledger, 18th June 1928 – 17th July 1944

C820 Account Ledger, 24th August 1944 – 1st July 1945

C821 Account Ledger, 30th June 1946 – 2nd October 1958

C822 Account Ledger, 1st July 1944 – 30th June 1964 (see also C814)

C823 Account Ledger, 28th January 1975 – 21st December 1981

C824 Account Ledger, 31st December 1981 – 8th November 1982

C825 (i) Statements of receipts and payments, 31st December 1942 – 30th June 1959, and Federal secretary’s annual reports 1959 and 1975

C825 (ii) Correspondence, Statement by A. Williams, Newsletter re: The Pickard Case

C825 (iii) Acts and Regulations relevant to the moulders’ industry, 1912 – 1955

C825 (iv) Newspaper clippings, pre 1963 – 1966, most undated, covering the Pickard case

C825 (v) 30 issues of ‘The Australian Foundry Worker’, pamphlet publication of the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union of Australia, January 1959 – May 1973, imperfect

C825 (vi) Revenue Accounts of the Commonwealth Steel Co. Ltd. Moulders’ Disputes Committee, October 1962 – May 1963

C825 (vii) Pamphlet, ‘History of the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) union of Australia 1858 – 1958’, The Worker Print, 1958

C825 (viii) Account ledger, 20th July 1981 – 13th December 1982

C825 (ix) Membership Ticket Book of the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union of Australia, 1966

C825 (x) Membership Declaration Slips (13), 10th July 1961 – 30th August 1982.