Chapter Fifteen Photos for
My Union Right or Wrong
27 of 33 slides

Lithgow Unionists Prisoners Release Committee
Leaflet - 1912

Photo 105KB

Leaflet re gaoled Lithgow strikers, 1912

In 1911, the [Labor] Council gave solid support to the Lithgow miners and ironworkers, during whose strike men were gaoled under Wade’s Coercion Act. The strike occurred under the McGowen Labor Government, with Holman as Deputy Premier and nothing was done to get rid of the draconian legislation. The Union adopted the Labor Council’s stand and gave solid support to the strike. In a motion moved by E.Talbot and seconded by J.B.Jenkins, the Union condemned the "present Government for jailing men under the Coercion Act".

from Chapter 15. See also Chapter 11 on support to the Lithgow miners and ironworkers.

Divider: rope

Text of Leaflet


Once again we respectfully claim your attention and consideration of the determined and heroic fight that is being put up by the Unionists of Lithgow against despotism and tyranny as represented by Messrs. G. and C. Hoskins, Ltd., owners of the Lithgow Ironworks.

This struggle has now been in existence, and bitterly fought, for the past fifteen (15) weeks, and the men remain as solid and firm today as they did at the commencement of this dispute - a sure and convincing proof of the justness of their cause.

The men of Lithgow are today fighting for the very life principle of Unionism and have opposed to them one of the bitterest and most vindictive opponents of progress and reform, backed up by the capitalism of the Employers' Federation.

While we are deeply grateful for the financial assisstance extended to us by the various Unions throughout the Commonwealth, it is imperative that we should ask for a continuance and extension of the monetary assisstance which is absolutely necessary if we are to emerge victors from this fight with the flag of Unionism borne triumphantly.

The forces that are opposed to us are powerful and seem fully bent on crushing us out of existence, and we must therefore, ask all true members of Democracy for their sympathy and practical support.

We would ask you to try and appreciate the sacrifice made by the men and women of Lithgow, and picture what it must mean to to see our comrades sentenced to fifteen (15) months' hard labor, and torn from their wives, children, and homes - branded as criminals.

In resisting this attempt at despoiling the principles of Unionism, we are fighting not only our own cause, but the cause of every unionist in this country. As a large number of our men who were recently fined sums ranging up to £5 for taking part in a strike are unable to pay their fines application has been made for warrants to be issued for their arrest and imprisonment.

It will thus be seen that the masses today have to fight as strenuously as our forefathers did in the dark days of the past for the right to combine and the right to sell their labor under something approaching fair conditions.

In this struggle the women are nobly playing their part, and acting up to the best traditions of mothers and wives - quietly and nobly supporting the men in their struggle.

Engaged in this dispute are members of the Ironworkers', Enginedrivers aud Firemen's, Engineers', Miners', Moulders', Boilermakers', Carpenters and Bricklayers' Associations, between 500 and 600 men in all.

We therefore earnestly appeal for your assisstance, and feel sure that after these months of sacrifice and privation, the Unionists of Australia will assist us to emerge triumphantly from this fight.

All levies and donations will be gratefully acknowledged by the financial Secretary

J. E. DIXON. Financial Secretary
E. TRUSCOTT, Western Miners' Association } joint
G. DELAHUNTY P.E.D. and F. Association } Secretaries

P.S. - Since the above was penned the Full Court of N.S.W. has upheld the appeal of Hyam Alexander, a miner lately employed in the Ironworks Tunnel, who had been fined £3 by Mr. Jennings, the Police Magistrate, for absenting himself from his employment. Mr. Alexander had ceased work in sympathy with the dissmissal of Cairnes, hence the charge. The result of this appeal shows conclusively that the miners were legally and morally justified in striking. It further shows that Mr Hoskins is responsible for the whole trouble.

Divider: rope

Lithgow Unionists Prisoners' Release Committee.

Coal Lumpers' Institute
Miller's Point

To the Secretary,
Industrial Workers of the World


At a meeting held in the Trades Hall, Sydney, on Friday, 10th May, composed of representatives of the following Trade Unions: The Coal Lumpers, Wharf Laborers, Trolly and Draymen, Colliery Employees' Federation, United Laborers, Western Miners' Federation, Lithgow combined unions, Lithgow Ironworkers, Aberdare Miners, Cessnock Miners, South Chiltern Miners, Coalcliff Miners Coledale Miners, Federated Ironworkers, Rockchoppers, Rookword Railway Workers, Bricklayers, Amalgamated Engineers, Ship Painters, Writers and Artists, Hotel, Caterer and Restaurant Employee's, Federated Seamen, Sawmill Employee's, Bookbinders, Shop Assistants, Tanners and Leather Dressers, Cycle, Motor and Electrical Trades, Cigar Factory Employees, Stone Masons, Theatrical Employees, Actors' Union, Tent and Tarpaulin, Federated Furniture Trades, Sign Writers, Straw Hat Employees, Canister Makers' Employees, and the I.W.W., Socialist Labor Party, Australian Socialist Party, and New Zealand Federation of Labour, the following resolutions were carried:

  1. That a Protest Meeting be held in the Protestant Hall, Sydney, on Tuesday, 4th June.
  2. That in the event of the Government refusing to release the imprisoned unionists, the Coal Miners of NSW, Coal Lumpers of Sydney, Wharf Laborers of Sydney cease work for a period of 24 hours as a protest against the continued incarceration.
  3. That each union be asked to contribute the sum of 10/- towards defraying expenses of the agitation.
  4. That each Union be asked to endorse the above resolution.

Hoping your union will give this matter its earnest consideration and reply as soon as possible to

Yours for Unity
F.J. Riley

Hon. Secretary,
Lithgow Unionists' Prisoners' Release Committee
Coal Lumpers' Institute,
Miller's Point.

Divider: rope

My Union Right or Wrong.
A history of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union 1900-1932
By Issy Wyner