Today, marks the centenary of the Great Strike of 1917. According to Joan Beaumont in Broken Nation the Australian eastern states erupted into industrial warfare in August 1917.
The catalyst was a dispute in the New South Wales Government Tramways Workshops in Randwick, Sydney. The railway management eager to cut costs introduced a new card system designed to measure the cost and performance of each worker. In response about 6,000 railway and tramway men stopped work on 2 August.
Within five weeks, almost 70,000 workers, across three states and numerous industries had joined the industrial action. Despite this initial energy, by September and October strikes at individual workplaces were broken and the union movement were left significantly diminished.
As Joan explains, the historical importance of the Great Strike of 1917 has largely been forgotten, overshadowed by the stronger story of the Anzac legend. Its centenary today is a good reminder that the search for historical truth is not always found in the headlines of history.
Do you think other events have been overshadowed by the story of the Anzac legend? How would you describe the Anzac legend?
Victorian Government railway engineering works, 1879
Australians commemorate Anzac Day, 25 April as a day of national remembrance for those who have died in war. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. This was the landing on Gallipoli, which happened 102 years ago, in April 1915.
Other 2017 military anniversaries
Other significant military anniversaries in 2017 include:
15 February 2017: 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore in 1942
19 February 2017: 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin in 1942
4 May 2017: 75th anniversary of the Battle of Coral Sea in 1942
4 June 2017: 75th anniversary of Bomber Command Operations in 1942
25 August 2017: 75th anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay in 1942
14 September 2017: 70th anniversary of Australia’s first peacekeeping operation in 1947
26 September 2017: Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood in 1917
23 October 2017: 75th anniversary of Battle of El Alamein and the culmination of the North Africa campaigns in 1942
31 October 2017: Centenary of the Battle of Beersheba in 1917
2 November 2017: 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Campaign in 1942
11 November 2017: 99th anniversary of Remembrance Day in 1918
Early Anzac Day crowds at Anzac Arch, Adelaide
Is there an anniversary in 2017 that is particularly important to you?