AWU Shearers Hall
The AWU Shearers Hall was opened in late 2013. In 2011, The Union Hall was donated and relocated by the AWU to the Australian Workers Heritage Centre's site becoming the latest addition to the centre's landscape and newly named the "AWU Shearers' Hall".
The Birth of the Labour Movement...
The AWU Shearers’ Hall has been refurbished and transformed into a quality exhibition space presenting and interpreting a highly valued and unique chapter of our working history. It illustrates how the building is part of this story….
The display informs of the history of the 1891 Shearer’s Strike.
It shows how the Great Shearers’ Strike of 1891 led, not to the civil war that was feared, but to the rise of the Australian Workers’ Union (Australia’s oldest trade union), the Australian Labour Party, the active participation of working people in parliamentary democracy, Australia’s unique form of industrial arbitration and our modern system of politics.
The exhibition is a key reminder of the significant part that bush workers – AWU pioneers played in the formation of the first social democratic party in the world. The party they created made history again by becoming the first social democrats in the world to form a government, after the Queensland State Election in 1899.
The AWU Shearers’ Hall is dedicated to the honoured memory of the Labour men and women of the past and to the great cause they have handed down to us – the cause which we have the privilege of advancing.
"The Shearers" Hall
This iconic building takes us back to the great Shearers’ Strike of 1891.
The hall was originally built in Blackall by the Queensland Shearers’ Union sometime after the formation there of the QSU in 1887.
It was the office and meeting hall of the Amalgamated Workers’ Union of Queensland formed by the merger of the QSU and Queensland Labourers’ Union in the year of the strike – 1891.
The Amalgamated Workers’ Union of Queensland then merged with the Australian Workers’ Union to form the largest trade union in Australia.
After the Shearers’ Strike of 1891, the hall was relocated some two hundred kilometres to Longreach by horse drawn transport where it served as the central headquarters for the AWU in the outback region.
In 2011, The Union Hall was donated and relocated by the AWU to the Australian Workers Heritage Centre’s site becoming the latest addition to the centre’s landscape and newly named the “AWU Shearers’ Hall”.
The building is recognised as Australia’s oldest office and union meeting hall.