Monday, November 2, 2009

Whitaker commemoration

About 150 people gathered to to learn about the life and times of Alan Whitaker.
Whitaker was an ANZAC and a waterside worker shot by police on 2 November 1928 during a bitter industrial dispute. He died on Australia Day 1929.
In Port Melbourne in 1928, unemployment was running at over 70%, and the shipping on which employment depended had dried up dramatically. The bitterly unpopular Beeby award meant that unionists had to wait for two pick ups a day on the exposed Hogan's Flat (the area between Station and Princes Pier) with absolutely no guarantee that they would get work.
Attempts to bring in 'volunteer' labour were resisted by unionists and their women.
We heard stories of descendants of those workers and what conditions had been like in their families with not enough to eat, not enough to pay the rent, and not enough to pay for gas.
Here Kevin Bracken, Victorian branch secretary of the MUA, life member of the Sandridge Life Saving Club, huge contributor to the Colts Football Club, introduces the day.

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