Unionists stop to celebrate their 100th anniversary

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald on May 26, 1983

With the band playing the Waltzing Matilda and a small group of plainclothes federal police officers mingling with the crowd, around 600 painters and dockers celebrated their union’s 100th anniversary in Sydney yesterday.

Painters and dockers celebrate their 100th anniversary in Balmain.

Painters and dockers celebrate their 100th anniversary in Balmain.Credit: Paul Matthews

Painters and dockers from across Sydney yesterday held a half-day strike to give them a chance to gather on Liberty Hill (corner of Montague Street and Llewellyn Street, Balmain) to reenact the first unfurling of the union banner in 1889 , six years after its inception.

On Tuesday. Mr Frank Costigan QC agreed to adjourn the Royal Commission hearings on the union’s activities to allow some of its Victorian members to fly to Sydney for the celebrations.

The Royal Commission and the union’s “celebrity” have been criticized by its federal secretary. Mr. Terry Gordon, speaking before the unveiling of the union’s restored banner.

He bemoaned the “false image that has been built up over the years of the press and that nemesis of the union movement, Mr Fraser”.

“We are not a pack of rats, murderers and thugs, but a stable union that has done a lot for working people,” he said.

Bob Dix (right), Victorian secretary at the march.

Bob Dix (right), Victorian secretary at the march.Credit: Paul Matthews

“All the Liberal Party has brought to light is a lot of fraud within their own ranks.”

Justin Scaccy

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