About the lecture
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is celebrating 150 years of unbroken organisation. The MUA is proud of this longevity and stories from its militant past. 'Here to Stay!' is a powerful rallying cry, given credence by the union tracing its origins back to a time when shipping was by sail, conditions were harsh and dangerous, and hard fought for labour protections were driven by men of vision and determination. Knowing the union’s history empowers unionists to build endurance and persevere against a continuing power imbalance in their industry.
The MUA’s longevity is also important for Australia’s democratic history. From the major maritime strike in the pre-federation decade of the 1890s, to the 1998 ‘strike that changed Australia’, the waterfront has been the flashpoint for nationally significant confrontations. Their militancy and activism on behalf of social justice and international causes – Indigenous rights, Indonesian independence, against apartheid, fascism, and war in Vietnam - have made them leaders in progressive politics.
How we write this history from the records - including photographs -and what we learn from it, opens a window on to questions of national and international significance.
Join us to hear distinguished speaker Diane Kirkby discuss Australia’s maritime labour history.
This lecture is hosted by the ANU Archives and the Friends of the Noel Butlin Archives Centre.
About the speaker
Diane Kirkby is Professor of Law and Humanities at UTS and Professor Emeritus at La Trobe University. She is the editor of the journal Labour History, and the author of several books of labour history, including the prize-winning Alice Henry: the Power of Pen and Voice (1991); and Barmaids: a History of Women’s Work in Pubs (1997). Her two books on maritime labour, Voices From the Ships: Australia’s Seafarers and Their Union (2008) and her most recent work, Maritime Men of the Asia-Pacific: True-Blue Internationals Navigating Labour Rights (2022) form the basis for the lecture.
The lecture will be recorded and made available online after the event.
Contact ANU Archives, +61 2 6125 2219, email@example.com.