Strikers during lockout, at Broken Hill, 1909, photographer unknown

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Strikers during lockout, at Broken Hill, 1909, photographer unknown, toned gelatin silver print, Series 04 Item 03, from Frederick Hancock papers and pictorial material, 1899-1962, State Library of New South Wales, SPF/3459


Owner: State Library of New South Wales collection
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 4616
labour strikes politics australia nsw early brokenhill miners mining lockout 1909 newsouthwales masks face

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    Blue Mountains Library, Local Studies

    • 15/Feb/2021 22:25:46

    What an extraordinary image, hiding their identities I guess. "In 1908 BHP attempted to reduce wages on the expiration of an existing industrial agreement. In response the unions commenced a recruitment campaign and began agitation for increased wages. Following an agreement on conditions BHP closed its mines and announced that it would re-open 'after the Christmas period with rates reduced by 12.5 percent. The company eventually re-opened with non-union labour. In response the unions picketed the mine and battles with police ensued. The lockout lasted 20 weeks with many miners defecting from the union ranks." Picketers with an effigy of a 'hanged scab' - "The Great Lockout of 1909 was prologued in 1908 when the bosses decided through the voice of John Darling, Chairman of Directors of B.H.P. that wages must come down by 12.5 percent, i.e. from the minimum of 8/7½ to 7/6 per day." (added emphasis) "During prolonged industrial struggles women bore the brunt of increasingly difficult household duties, exacerbated by food shortages and the lack of income. During the five-month 1909 Lockout, the first industrial dispute to take place in Broken Hill for sixteen years, women formed a Relief Committee to help those struggling to feed and clothe their families. The 'Big Strike' that lasted 18 months from 1919 to 1920 was an extremely trying period. Co-operative depots were established by the unions, supplying housewives with basic food such as bread, margarine, potatoes and onions. Many mothers saw their children suffer from malnutrition. Miscarriages due to poor diet and anxiety were common. The Big Strike was the last major strike that the women of Broken Hill had to endure. It was finally called off on 10 November 1920 after both the unions and mine managers agreed to the recommendations made by the President of the New South Wales Industrial Court, Justice Edmunds."