Rob & Glenda’s visit to Broken Hill

Glenda and I visited Broken Hill in October 2019.

Stained glass window in the Trades Hall building.

In January 2015, the City of Broken Hill was included on the National Heritage Register. Broken Hill has a very strong Union history and has the only union-owned newspaper in the country, the Barrier Daily Truth. As from last year it ceased to be issued daily and is now weekly. It has been going for over 100 years. Many issues published between 1941 and 1954 have been digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program.

If you belonged to a union, the paper was tossed over your front fence every morning. If there were five unionists in the household, five papers landed in the front yard.

The history of Broken Hill was marked with bitter and protracted strikes, particularly in 1892, 1909 and 1919, and this building was the focal point of these strikes. The 1919 strike lasted 18 months and led to the 35-hour week for miners and improved health and safety conditions.

Broken Hill Trades Hall – built between 1898 and 1904

Trades Hall logo

After 125 years of mining a 300 million tonne mineral system, the 7.5km long, 1.6km deep Line of Lode still supports mining, making Broken Hill one of the longest continual mining towns in the world.

The cemetery provides a valuable record of the diversity of Broken Hill’s early mining community.

Keep the red flag flying here. Workers of the world, Unite.

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Alf Clint

from Bill Thompson

Alf Clint was known to my father for years, both having lived and worked in the Balmain, Glebe and Leichhardt suburbs of Sydney. Alf would stop by from time to time when in Sydney and have a meal with the family. He provided me with a reference when I applied to join the Australian Army.

Photo: Brisbane Courier-Mail, 3 Nov. 1954

The Rev. William Alfred Clint was a great union and ALP supporter who took a special interest in indigenous welfare. He retained union and ALP membership all his adult life. His achievements included getting up the nose of the Bjelke-Peterson Government and establishing Tranby College in Glebe in Sydney to foster learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Alf championed business co-operatives as an appropriate model for indigenous enterprises. Amongst the older indigenous people Alf was revered, but sadly would be known by few today, though he has an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Bill was appointed by the Municipal Officers Association (now Australian Services Union) as an organiser for Nth Queensland in 1985; with responsibilities in local government, city, shire & Aboriginal & Islander Community councils & the port authorities; in an area from a line above inland Birdsville & Bowen on the coast, north to the Torres Strait.