Conspiracies and Early Labour History

There has never been a time when, as Colin Roderick claimed in 1991: ‘The notion of secrecy…was repugnant to Australian political life.’ Neither has there been a time when, as Professor Pike claimed in 1962, Australia was ‘the quiet continent’. Subsequent debate on this second error fixated on the suffering of our indigenous inhabitants and left the way open for the erroneous 2013 claims that ‘Eureka (Stockade) was a rare example of white-on-white violence’, and:

By shunning the violent route to democracy, Australians laid the foundations for the peaceful democratic reform through which the system has continued to evolve.[1]

These ingrained errors are a carry-over from a time when western Europe was writing the history books, when the future was assumed to be golden and when the British Empire, in its own eyes, could do no wrong.

The ‘march of progress’ view of history, from a dark past to a golden future, is known now to English-language scholars, as the Whig view, since ‘civilisation’ and ‘the enlightenment’ were made the hallmarks for British wealth and power and credited to ‘the Whig (anti-Tory) Party’. So dominant has this view been that Robin Gollan re-stated it when he and other Marxists established the Association for the Study of Labour History in the 1940’s. He continued to assume steady ‘political and democratic advance’ but credited the Australian Labor Party [ALP] for it, at least since the 1890’s. In his view, Labour History [LH] was an interruption to the old history, just as the ALP was ‘the movement’ which stopped Australia’s celebration of British imperialism, colonialism and exploitation of native peoples. The effects of ‘the old history’ have not yet been overcome as is evident from the ill-judged claims still being made.

It’s not accidental that at the heart of the problem are assertions about ‘secrecy’ and ‘violence’. There was a time when the covers of books about ALP history showed ‘labour rebels’ storming castles through clouds of dust and smoke. You could smell the gunpowder and hear the yelling and clash of metal on metal. One especially popular, 20th century account of the early ALP was Bede Nairn’s Civilising Capitalism. He told how the ALP ‘invaders’ had come in to clean up capitalism, but, he insisted, the invasion was calm and peaceful – you know, civilised. The word, ‘revolution’ was often used by class theorists but it was always a cover-up, used to avoid looking seriously at what violence actually involved. Its types and levels, its symbolism, its uses as strategy, its weaknesses and its media value never made the agenda. Labour History Conferences once grieved that the Australian working class had not chosen the revolutionary path. But violence was not discussed there either, any references were more marketing hype than erudition. Today, labour historians can’t even use the ‘r…’ word. They don’t talk about sex or booze, conspiracies or guns, either, which is important to note. Stuart Svensen in 1989 applied the word ‘WAR’ to the story of the 1891 Shearers’ Strike while Ernie Lane thought he was living a ‘revolutionary situation’. I can’t agree with either description but it does show that, despite the indifference of many, there was something of substance happening.

Of course, accounting for the origins of the ALP depends on what you think the ALP is or was. If it was a society for sword swallowers, it would perhaps tell of the first sword swallowers in Australia or perhaps just cover the birth of that one organisation, the registered and licensed Society for Sword Swallowers. However, the ALP was not established as a federal party until after the first sitting of the Australian (Federal) Parliament in 1901. So, before that …???

The ALP is regarded as having ‘descended from labour parties founded in the various Australian colonies by the emerging labour movement’ which process began in 1890. Other writers locate the origins of ‘the movement’ in an idealised Eureka Stockade, or even as far back as Botany Bay in 1788. There is also the question of who, among many, best represents ‘the (labour) movement’, who should be ‘in’ and who should be ‘out’.      Labour’s earliest parliamentary representatives were all, by definition, ‘outs’ who wanted to be ‘in’. Many were poor and felt they had a moral right to be angry. The aspirants at the time, and their historians since, have had a major problem – how to show the fierceness of the struggle to emphasise the bravery of those who broke down the walls while emphasising their respectability and their worthiness to sit in the most comfortable chairs of all. Selective recording and compromised memories have been the preferred approach, by those who made it and by the proponents of parliamentary democracy who came after their heroes. Are the most successful in a parliamentary sense, the best examples of ‘the movement’?

            The first ‘labour’ men and women were a mixed bag, much more diverse than the ALP is today. The cause to which they signed up, the mythical ‘light on the hill’, already had three sides to it. That ‘light’ was a weapon which your enemy could never have, it was a reason to go into battle, but it was also a way to tell who was on your side.             Inside ‘the Big Top’ of parliament from 1889 in NSW and Queensland, there were comfortable ‘billets’, plush padded seats which earned the occupant a wage just for sitting there. These paid seats were available for anyone who could convince enough other people that he or she had what it took to sit in the appropriate manner, something which was still being determined. The auditioning process for such a vaguely defined, but good job, naturally attracted all sorts of desperate, un-washed, ambitious but doubtful characters. How to choose? who was to choose? what did success look like?

Among the spielers and carpet-baggers, the whimsical spouters and the forthright psychotics milling around the ticket office, there were always a few who quickly worked out getting through the door required skills not on the job description. They worked out the real price being asked, they worked through a variety of costumes until they found one that proved adequate, they knew when and who to bribe, which password was the correct one, and whether ‘crashing through or crash’ was the better strategy.

In serious, real-time battles the ‘ins’ normally have resources far in excess of those held by ‘the outs’. The result comes down to weapons, size of army, tactics, resilience, and so on. Historically, newer and better castles have been built by contending ‘ins’, and an Arms Race has broken out. When civilisation came along, rules of engagement were drawn up and conflicts might be arbitrated the day before. Gentlemen’s agreements asserted that actual fighting, even little punch-ups, were not good for the neighborhood, and over many years a whole raft of cold weapons were devised to stop arguments becoming pitched battles. There were various kinds of officials who went around to check on how you were putting out your old newspapers, what colour your bin was, and so on, and there were the most complicated systems of determining which method was the best. One complicated system was called ‘democracy’ where people sometimes had to wait for years before they could see who favoured red bins and who favored blue bins. But at least it was a cold war, and the real estate market remained safe and intact.

This ‘democratic system’ didn’t spring out of the ground, or fall from the sky fully formed and ready to go. It had a history – and that history has been taught in schools using books produced by the system itself. So, of course, the school text books said that the Spanish system, or the Welsh System, or the Austro-Hungarian system was the best depending on what the people who wrote the books had been told in their schools, and before that the books they had used had been written by their teachers who had….

Even in a cold war, the system already in place favoured the ‘ins’. But whereas a well-dug-in artillery position with soldiers in red coats or blue coats, white hats or green hats could be seen from miles away, the weapons used by the ‘ins’ were often less visible. They were often disguised by big signs saying that they were off-limits to anyone without a pass, or had already been checked and passed by the Ministry of Home Economics as carrying no adverse effects. They were harmless, at least to humans, and their operators always told the truth, because they were just like the rest of us. Any complaints should be left on the doorstep to be processed by ‘the system’. In the meantime, all citizens could rely on ‘the news’ because the newsmakers were reliable and in competition with one another to bring you the latest truth first.

Who provided the information and whether it had been fact-checked was an obvious question which we still ask today. The erosion of faith in politicians, in ‘the government’ and in ‘the newspapers’ has been a long, slow process. We are still dealing today with bad news published many years ago because the rumours and the lies that were accepted back then, have been recycled. Back when Ned Kelly was a boy, if the answer about the source of the information was ‘the government’, most people accepted it because their favorite newspaper suggested they should. The better-paid editors of the larger print-runs, The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Brisbane Courier, say, cultivated ‘insider’ alliances. That was, and is their job. They and their agents, the reporters were after information, and they were prepared to pay whatever the sellers of the information wanted. The price was probably a quid-pro-quo – you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Even bargains made voluntarily, out of friendship, zeal or patriotism, could involve a Nelsonian blind eye to stories that didn’t fit, the printing of negative stories about the opposition or making up positive stories for the ‘in’ side, all the way to assisting with State surveillance and physical repression of ‘the bad guys’.

Ways of collecting ‘good’ information and preventing the collection of ‘bad’ range from over-hearing back-room ‘gossip’ to purchasing material deemed to be ‘in the national interest.’[2] Not only Australian labour historians have been negligent with regard to these matters. I am with Bernard Porter who wrote in 1992:

Domestic espionage is the hidden underside of political history…(Historians)- who are supposed to tell why things have happened in history – have had almost nothing to say about this side of it at all.[3]

Among the earliest waves of Australian labour publicists, writers like Henry Lawson and William Lane have been emphasised but there were many editors, printers, compositors and even newspaper sellers who were vital to the outcome of the era’s information war, all with different levels and sources of motivation. Strategies, grammar, design and marketing required different skills and while there were ideals to be trumpeted, there was money to be made and there was one’s self to be found, or lost.

Careers could be built on the experimental, flamboyantly-painted bandwagons, ‘THE WORKERS’, and ‘THE PEOPLE’. The well-oiled, already trundling wagons of ‘PROGRESS’ and ‘LAW AND ORDER’ hogged the road and had to be edged aside, sabotaged, or smashed through. The IUD’s of their day, what I like to think of as ‘elephant traps’ – bankruptcies, libel suits, temptations of the flesh – showed up the ill-prepared and the over-excitable. Further out of the light, there were the hard men, the professionals who had their orders and played for keeps.

Adventurers attracted to the colour and movement of the new charabancs were not all workers’ champions. A number were rolling stones who found a niche and prospered. Some, proverbial moths to the glittering flame of eastern Australia, were never going to ‘fit’. Hoping to die peacefully in bed at the end of a long and satisfying life, they flared and perished. ‘Billy’ Hughes, for example, was there as the first pegs were hammered as spectator, spieler or money-changer as the program manager demanded. His memoirs show the problem of selectivity and myth-making in action. Despite his many, documented problems with ‘the Party’ which eventually expelled him, he happily put rhetorical cliche (lies?) before realism:

(It) was this spirit of altruism, of sacrifice, of faith, of white-hot enthusiasm, which animated the Labour movement in those days and carried it, despite its poverty to victory…(etc, etc)[4]

He recalled the ‘newly formed legions of Labour (called) to the assault of the citadels of privilege’, only to bury them under mounds of comic phrases and verbal tricks. He made jokes of the fact his political meetings and audience votes were marshalled by stand-over men, and he painted himself as innocent benefactor of the enthusiasms of well-meaning supporters. His corrupted campaigns were not unique but the history he kept from his readers was extensive and important. Australia, far from being a nation which achieved success without violence, has been riven with bloody conflict in all of its phases. Past coercion of electorates does not seem now as important as massacres of indigenes or the persistent scourge of domestic violence but these are all manifestations of a single, problematic ‘Australian identity’.

When Mary Cameron, later to be Dame Mary Gilmore, urged the still-coltish Henry Lawson ‘to write Australia, and again Australia’ around 1892 she had in mind a romanticised and prudish view of the heroic, golden west ‘Australia’, not ‘the boozy, bawdy’ reality from which she yearned to escape. And after Lawson was packed off to Bourke that year, JF Archibald and EJ Brady told how they saw themselves restoring him to health by getting him out of the infected back-streets of Sydney: ‘We can’t have him becoming the poet of the Rocks!’[5] None of these memoirists ought to have been taken at face value, but that’s what biographers and later social commentators have done, even while they were castigating as ‘moral improvers’ the urban reformers and street-corner agitators with whom he was happily getting drunk and finding out about sex, opiates and blasphemous politics. The urban reality was not to AG Stephens’ pinch-nosed liking, and that over-rated critic built a monument of disdain to bury both Lawson and the people physically and spiritually closest to him. Stephen’s celebrants, the Vance Palmers and Colin Rodericks, et al, have been similarly blinkered and deemed his ‘burrowing in the mud’ irrelevant to an understanding. More politically-interested historians have not been able to see through the 19th century cant to what Lawson’s erstwhile protectors perhaps knew but feared to describe – that ‘the movement’ was growing in those poxy, ramshackle alleys and was dependent on them. They have presented the leaders of ‘the movement’, not as residents but as scrubbed-up escapees.

Reporters observing ‘the push outrages’ and the military deployments against strikers in the 1880’s and 90’s were ‘war correspondents’ in all but name but have not even been seen as players in the drama. For scholars looking back the accuracy of their reports has not been an issue any more than the memories of the players. Readers at the time wouldn’t have agreed. Acres of trees disappeared to satisfy theological nicety and political nuance. Explicitly labour-oriented periodicals began to appear in the late 1880’s but before them exponents of alternative views had already cleared a path. The Bulletin, begun in 1880, was consolidated through the efforts of a number of men working with JF Archibald (1856-1919), but of all those involved he has been the one linked to Sydney’s bohemians and counter-culturalists. He has been credited with formulating the paper’s responses to unionism, strikes, economic depression and the budding labor party but this is an ambiguous, almost meaningless attribution given the range of contributors.[6] In his declining years he reflected:

It does my heart good to see today a party in power with a pledge to abolish capital punishment…It does me good to know of the old age pension and the baby bonus, to see a recognition in the legislation of the fact that every man is a bank, that the State has its hundreds of thousands of little banks whose capital is their working force and strength. These are some of the things we fought for.[7]

It would be a stretch, no pun intended, to argue capital punishment was the principle reason The Bulletin was launched, though issue No 1 contained an exclusive interview with ‘Nosey Bob’ the State hangman. The editorial manifesto, also in the first issue included this:

…The Bulletin bids to win. The aim of the proprietors is to establish a journal which cannot be beaten – excellent in its illustrations…and unsurpassed in the vigor, freshness and geniality of its literary contributors.[8]

It was not uncommon at that time for newspapers to have hand-drawn illustrations but The Bulletin would probably never have survived without the brilliant depictions of ‘Enry Parkes’ and the rest which lit up its pages. These were caricatures, they were not realistic. That the text was often vigorous was proven by the libel suits it quickly attracted. One of its first eye-witness accounts, of the Clontarf Boxing Day Picnic of 1880, is especially relevant here. Entitled, The Larrikin Residuum, and penned by 37-year old Scot, William Traill,(1843-1902)it was simultaneously prudish and prurient. At its heart was a large man’s view of little people he clearly scorned as freaks in a disreputable side-show: ‘There were no manly youths. A six-foot constable towered like a giant among the seething crowd…’ The crowd was made up mostly of inner-city residents, otherwise known as ‘the brutalised poor’, giving themselves a cheap, outdoors ‘knees up’ and a ‘skinny dip’ in an ocean of clear blue water they could only watch the rest of the year. Traill was outraged by what he saw and so were his readers: ‘…Drink and excitement, inherited impulse and, above all, examples and evil associations were doing their work and breaking down the last barriers of modesty…’ What was the worst behaviour he saw?

…(Young) girls…flew wild-beast fashion at one another, boxed like men, and anon scratched and bit like cats. Female children …romped around with gestures and antics that would have shocked a camp of black gins. The males barely restrained themselves to a semblance of decency – the females resented no familiarity…

There were prostitutes on the site and no doubt casual fornication also happened. What was so shocking, and meant the issue quickly sold out, was that everyone knew these annual excursions were as they were but had agreed to turn away and pretend they were not. Traill was outraged by the lack of decorum and the nudity, his readers were shocked by a realisation of their own double standards, and the proprietors of the grounds, the Moore Brothers, were shocked at the loss of revenue the expose caused for the rest of the season. They sued, the sensational court case produced a damages verdict of one farthing but with costs sufficient to send Archibald and John Haynes, (1850-1917) proprietors, temporarily to jail for non-payment.

The Bulletin might have delved further into the story had it been as interested in publicising the street politics of real-time Sydney as, say, the journalist who wrote as ‘Harold Grey’ about brothels, pimps and ‘blue cafes’, and succeeded in having many of the latter closed-down. The Brothers Moore were the proprietors of the ‘British Seaman’ public house in the Argyle Cut, ‘the Rocks’ area of inner Sydney. Its trade was enormous:

  (In close proximity to the wharves, Sailors’ Home and the Seaman’s Church) the    house, a wretched looking structure of the old convict days…was a good    steady advertisement for the…Clontarf Pleasure Grounds where the coin rolled    in    on Sundays and holidays…[9]

Archibald expressed no interest in parliament but Haynes and Traill followed the well-worn path through journalism into public office used by Parkes. It is a path which can lead ambitious young men up the social scale or down into the darkest, sorriest corners, and it is difficult to imagine the first wave of recognisably worker-oriented reformers not having extensive involvement with the gritty, urban world which ‘Grey’ was exploring. Imagine if you can bluff, genial William Traill sitting in the ‘Chamber of Deputies’ representing South Sydney without a copy of The Referee under his arm or in his back pocket: ‘A huge Highlander, big and square in the head, his face covered by a mighty beard, his skull usually crowned with a shaggy tam-o’-shanter, his mouth usually gripping a large, coarse Manila cigar…’[10]  When the next generation of reformers came along – the likes of John Norton (1858-1916), William Willis (1858-1922) and Francis Crick (1868-1908) – links between politics and ‘the sporting life’ were firmly established. The drinking, gambling and womanising took their toll on these men and were formidable issues when the Party sought to be taken seriously as a social and cultural pillar. Norton, for example, appears to have had the world at his feet for a brief period in the mid-1880’s but to have allowed adulation and the drink to soften his brain. He had arrived in Sydney from ‘home’ on 5 April, 1884 and quickly became chief reporter on the Evening News and recognised as a brilliant debater. In 1886 the Trades and Labor Council of New South Wales accredited him official delegate to trades union congresses in London and Paris. After a controversial tour and triumphant return, he wrote and published an Australian edition of the US compilation, The History of Capital and Labour in all Lands and Ages. The next year, 1889, he became editor of the Newcastle Morning Herald, but dismissed for repeated episodes of drunkenness, he returned to Sydney and to long sessions at local hostelries. He became nominal editor and part-owner of Truth in 1891 but repeated drunkenness cost him that position. In the period 1893-95, he helped to organize the NSW Chamber of Manufactures on protectionist lines, eventually returning to a stabilised Truth, with mixed results. He never regained his previous political standing.

Before Federation, it was a given that standing for parliament necessarily involved street corner dust-ups, mass protest meetings and ‘crowd organisation’. In the 188o’s that meant Free Trade vs Protection confrontations, or Orange vs Catholic, and sometimes both. In the transitional, hybrid ‘90’s, the meaning of the words ‘labour/labor’ were the more likely causes for passions to swirl and broken chairs to fly. Whether MP’s were paid or not, getting into politics as a reformer took great commitment, adaptability and flexible ethics. Favors were done and quid-pro-quos received in the currency of the times, publicity being the most reliable coin of all.             The stories of these men were firstly written by them as events were happening, then as memoirs, then by people who remembered them, and then by scholars paid to portray them in ways that would sell to the public of the time. For a period after 1945 books of ALP history favoring certain ‘heroes’ and down-grading others were popular. Mansfield’s 1965 biography of Edward O’Sullivan (1846-1910) commented on a speech made in 1885: ‘The speech made clear the direction which O’Sullivan would set for the labour movement…towards political action on a abroad front.’ [My emphasis][11] An auxiliary series of biographies known as the Australian Dictionary of Biography {ADB – now on line] were produced at the ANU and are still regarded by many as definitive. Those relevant to ‘the labour movement’ were compiled by historians with views based on what Svensen has called ‘the legend of the Shearers’ War’ which he also calls a ‘kind of mediaeval morality play’. In 1989 he concluded his account of ‘the shearers’ war’ with:

One can only speculate on the reasons for the reluctance of labour historians to abandon bourgeois methodology and assumptions, for their apparent enthusiasm for only safe fields of enquiry, and for their failure to explore many of the vital issues which have confronted and continue to confront the working class.[12]

William Spence (1846-1926) of the earlier generation was, like O’Sullivan, deeply involved in the earliest trade union organising, but Spence was a bush-dweller, a mystical, non-drinking Christian who did not enter parliament until 1898, well after the others. He has come to be seen as akin to William Lane, both of whom were heroes at the time but are now both treated patronisingly as heavily flawed. Spence’s academic biographers, Lansbury and Nairn, wrote that he was ‘confused’, ‘muddled’ and verbose, and open to being ‘lampooned by the bright young city Labor men, especially William Holman and Billy Hughes.’[13] Mansfield’s biography of town-based, hard-headed O’Sullivan is a clear contrast:

O’Sullivan was physically sturdy with a ‘quasi-pugilistic’ appearance. He spoke             with tremendous energy even on the simplest subjects.

Although ‘not a discriminating reader’, he is never described as ‘muddled’, but as ‘unusually consistent’. When his initiatives fail, it is because of ‘lack of organisation’ not from personal weaknesses. Most tellingly, his successes are the result of tactics frowned upon when used by less-worthy figures, namely stump-oratory, patronage-seeking and audience-stacking:

…At a mass meeting at the Prince Albert monument in …1884 O’Sullivan founded the Democratic Alliance to be the political voice of working men. It failed through lack of organization; its associated newspaper, the Democrat, also failed…Connexions made with John Gale, proprietor of the Queanbeyan Age, and L. F. Heydon, assisted his (election to Parliament)…Sir Henry Parkes campaigned against O’Sullivan and was harassed by noisy crowds. O’Sullivan used the same weapon against another premier trying to oust him, (Sir) George Reid, in the 1898 election…[14]

Elected as a Catholic Protectionist in 1885, O’Sullivan was later joined by what Mansfield called ‘other radical democrats’ – Thomas Walker, WP Crick and WH Traill. ‘Honest’ John Haynes stood out among these new MPs as comparatively free of corruption but is not remembered in the same way. Haynes’ ADB biographer allows only that he ‘professed concern for public integrity and the dignity of parliament’ and that unfortunately for the cause of integrity, he ‘was a vituperative and unruly member.’ That he might have been unruly because of frustration at the lack of integrity on show in the House seems not to have occurred to this author:

His sharp wit, argumentative nature and readiness to allege corruption and impropriety involved him in many disputes. He made bitter enemies amongst protectionists by publicly repudiating his Catholic faith in the 1887 election, and afterwards often attributed sectarian interest to political opponents.[15]  

My comments here about these biographic summaries would amount to nit-picking if the high level of personal and collective corruption obvious in politics at the time had been pursued by these authors in other places but it has not been. Neither biography has anything beyond the most material and are heavily NSW-oriented. Sectarianism for these ‘fashionable’ authors is only reluctantly mentioned, being unfortunate and irrational and therefore outside the realm of modern politics. The Protestant Standard acknowledged in 1887 that Haynes’ win for the seat of Mudgee had involved ‘the organised body of Orangemen’ being brought to bear against ‘the organised body of the Roman Catholic Church and protectionists.’[16] In other words, audience stacking was common and like faith, drunkenness and breaking the law, were important.

Few of the noisier activists engaged in early labour politics have been graced with an entry in the ADB. If they achieved high public office later on, little has been provided about their activities in the murky but pivotal period before and during the Great Strikes. The chief generators of the ALP’s parliamentary success, we have been repeatedly told, were William Holman, ‘Chris’ Watson, and ‘Billy’ Hughes. The author of ‘Civilising Capitalism’, Bede Nairn, provided the ADB entries for Holman[17] and Watson:[18]

HOLMAN: (edited for length only)

    …With his (family) Holman arrived in Melbourne in September 1888…(Next) year the family settled in Sydney, where he worked at his trade. By 1890 he was frequenting the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts reading room, where ‘schemes for the redemption of society’ were formulated. With W. M. Hughes he led the Ethical Society, an impoverished students’ group, soon joined by George Beeby, they studied the works of Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and Boehm-Bawerk….(In) 1890 Holman belonged to the Australian Socialist and the Sydney Single Tax leagues. He joined the Labor Electoral League (Labor Party) in 1891…He threw himself into the zestful activity of the early party… by 1892 he represented Leichhardt on the central executive. The theoretical socialist aspect of Labor appealed to him…

The overwhelming impression is of words – read, spoken and written, not actions. Meetings are calm, and polite. The ‘zestful’ activities of a man just twenty years old are confined to the study of ethics and to civilised, rational discussion. In the case of the only slightly older Watson, Nairn exhibited an extraordinary degree of hero-worship:

WATSON: (edited for length only)

…Losing his job in 1886, he migrated to Sydney [from NZ] where he took work as a stable-hand at Government House. Briefly a compositor on the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald, he was influenced by William Traill to move in 1888 to the new protectionist paper, the Australian Star. By then Watson was about 5 ft 10 ins (178 cm) tall, with sapphire-blue eyes, dark brown hair, moustache and budding beard: his athletic appearance and strength complemented his good looks. A rower and Rugby player, he was a great card-player, good at billiards and enjoyed a glass of beer.

A list of Watson’s official positions follow, larded with the man’s ‘debating and speaking skills’, his ‘proficiency, dedication and gregariousness’ and his exemplary inner self:

…To him, trade unionism exemplified mateship, and was pragmatic, powerful and versatile enough to sustain Labor by adaptation to democratic pressures and changing circumstances. He noticed contemporary advanced social and economic doctrines, but was too practical minded to be unduly swayed by them, though he toyed with ‘State socialism’. Radiating friendliness and respect for others, Watson moved to the centre of Labor action, his authority assured by his rapport with individuals no less than by his exceptional courage and common sense…

During the industrial tumult, we are told only that Watson ‘was a sympathetic observer of the preliminaries of the maritime strike’, except for:

During the Broken Hill miners’ strike, on 15 September 1892 Watson (on horseback) had led a procession, headed by a T.L.C. deputation, to Parliament House…

Nairn had no reflection on this ‘break-out’, or on other testing times when, it seems, our hero remained aloof:

(He) oversaw the organizing of a special unity conference that met on 9-11 November 1893 at Millers Point. Looking and sounding like a born leader, Watson chaired the turbulent gathering…(etc)

This particular 1893 meeting had special significance. Nairn’s setting for it is colorless. Fitzhardinge provided a similarly dotted outline for Hughes[19]:

HUGHES: (edited for length only)

In 1890 (he) moved to Balmain where he opened a small mixed shop, took on odd jobs and mended umbrellas. It was a time of ferment…Hughes’s shop sold political pamphlets, and the back room became a meeting-place for young reformers, among them W. A. Holman and (Sir) George Beeby. The visit to Sydney that year of Henry George stirred their imagination and Hughes made his political début as a street-corner speaker for the Balmain Single Tax League.

A ‘backroom’ meeting place for ‘mob orators’!!?, yet:

He apparently took no part in the election of 1891 which brought the first Labor       Party into parliament…

No part of any kind, not even as ‘a sympathetic observer’?

In 1892 he joined the Socialist League and debating societies at Balmain and the Sydney School of Arts; he had probably already joined the Balmain Labor Electoral League…

Only ‘probably…’? was he not soap-boxing for his new faith?: ‘… Hughes and Holman followed J. C. Watson’s lead to convert the LEL’s to ’solidarity’, is code for accepting the disciplines of centralised administration, which is where we find the same names:

       …Hughes spent eight months organizing in the central west…returning to Sydney       to win pre-selection…for the 1894 election. His electioneering was enlivened by       his and his friends’ production of New Order…

The amount of time Hughes spent out west is contestable and his memoirs are remarkable for their ambiguity, about New Order particularly. In the Preface to his ‘Crusts and Crusades’ he wrote that talking about ‘the honorable men’ he had met would be ‘like talking out of school’ and that these accounts of long ago should be seen as ‘amusing tales’. A number would do credit to any anthology of short, comic stories, but just as Lawson’s fiction was based on real people, Hughes’ narratives were of observed characters, most with political significance, and since the disguises can be penetrated, they refute his non-disclosure statement.

Hughes’ earliest political meetings succeeded through the use of dodgy practices, but they disappear under his comic patter. The men to whom he owed most, three burly Irishmen named ‘M’Callian, McKay and O’Neill’, have been lost to labour history and cannot be consulted. Alf Edden, a Labor colleague, is allowed to be himself, complete with comical dialogue based on his Durham accent and drinking habits. An important rose-grower is disguised as ‘Adolph the Anarchist’ when there is clearly no need to hide his identity. This contrivance of hiding in plain sight is discussed further below with other examples.

Beeby’s biography by Nairn[20] does at least suggest movement and private realities despite the presence of Holman and Watson:

BEEBY: (1869-1942)(edited only for length)

In 1890 (Beeby) attended Henry George’s meetings and became a single taxer; next year he was secretary of the first Labor Electoral League formed at Newtown ..In 1892…editor and manager of the Bowral Free Press…Unemployed by December,…  early in 1893 he went to Hillgrove and organized Labor…By then he had left the single taxers and had joined the Australian Socialist League. He gave significant support to J.C. Watson…became his deputy…mainly against George Black…Joined by W. A. Holman, he moved his newspaper to Hillgrove, but it soon failed and they returned to Sydney broke. Next year with Watson, Holman and others he was charged with conspiring to defraud…but he was cleared.

Nairn also wrote Black’s entry.[21] In Black’s own words, he was used to ‘running with the fast set’, today he’d be seen as promiscuous and vain but a strong and forthright journalist. It was only after 1889, as sub-editor for The Bulletin and 35 years old, that he showed signs of his having become politically important:

BLACK:(1854-1936)(edited only for length)

…By 1891 he had fathered twelve children (five of whom had died) by Mrs Duggan,           and was a well-known Domain speaker, School of Arts debater and member of the            Socialist and Republican leagues.

Nairn’s prudish view was that Black was still a rake and while this is private he can’t leave it alone:

In May 1891 Black joined the initial Labor Electoral League formed in West Sydney…(In) June…Labor won all the seats in West Sydney…   Black at once set his sights on party leadership…(His) private life hampered him politically. He broke violently with Mrs … and formed an attachment with    Mrs…Anxious to have her company at the 1891 Melbourne Cup, he described her as his wife and got a free railway pass for her. In December, (Crick) obtained a (parliamentary) select committee to investigate the incident; it reported in March 1892 that while Black had acted improperly, he had believed that he had conformed with customary parliamentary practice. No action was taken, but Crick and John Norton pilloried ‘Baldy Black’ in Truth. He replied in kind in the Australian Workman — which he edited in 1891-92 — and lectured on ‘The polecat element in politics’.

If fraud, mis-representation and the ‘polecat element’ were ‘customary parliamentary practice’ why does Nairn not analyse them as issues for labor? If they were private why spend any time on them? Why was ‘the private’ the only activity in Black’s life during the Great Strikes that was not ‘literary and oratorical’? Why did not the fact that he was a long-time resident of or candidate for ‘the Rocks’ (Miller’s Point) area attract any attention?:

…Black’s literary and oratorical talents kept him active and influential in          the Labor Party. As the party’s annual conference and central executive tightened         discipline over the parliamentarians in 1891-94 he emphasized..(and) advised.          Single-member seats applied at the 1894 general election and Black won as a                ‘non-solidarity’ against the endorsed Labor candidate in Sydney-Gipps, the              Millers Point area of West Sydney; but when that year’s      conference reworded           the pledge he rejoined the party and retained his seat at the 1895 election…

‘Harry’ Holland played on the same fair ground, for a while. A consistent radical he made his biggest mark in New Zealand, not Australia. O’Farrell’s entry[22] for him is as sparse as the others but there is some sense of personal involvement:

HOLLAND: (1868-1933)(edited only for length)

In 1890 (Holland) became unemployed, and after two years of privation he left the Salvation Army and joined the Australian Socialist League in Sydney in 1892…

He found erratic work on the Australian Workman in 1893 and in October (the) next year he and a friend Tom Batho launched the Socialist as a voice for the left-wing militants and unemployed… (As) a journalist and public speaker, (he became) increasingly critical of the new Labor Party, which he regarded as insufficiently revolutionary: he finally broke with it in 1898.

The account of the early ALP in your hand does not attempt to reiterate what is already reasonably well-known. It attempts to provide newish insights by linking old information in ways not previously done and so to provide new information. It involves people who have rarely made the footnotes of ‘proper’ history and it shows those who have in a different light. It brings back to life ‘Jack’ Andrews, ‘Billy’ and Bertha McNamara, ‘Sam’ Rosa, ‘Alf’ Yewen and ‘Larry’ Petrie. The better-known become the fellow-travellers, there are some still hidden behind nom-de-plumes.

Back then, it has to be understood, secrecy was almost a life-style choice – JF Archibald refused ‘photo opportunities’ and William Astley, ‘Price Warung’, had a drug problem – but it was the day-to-day perils which led directly to most literary aliases, the multitude of changed addresses and identity transformations. Not Astley but ‘Warung’ is remembered by his acquaintances ‘(giving)…the impression that he was the confidential agent of a mysterious and hidden personality of consummate power and resources.’ AG Stephens, over-rated literary critic and his contemporary, remembered him as ‘a sad rogue.’[23]

Not every ticket-holder into what became labour’s own big tent was planning violence, hogging the megaphone or slinking about in the shadows, but all were affected by the plots and counter-plots out of which the ALP staggered, bloodied and torn, to celebrate Federation in 1901. They had all been required to choose a path, often to choose a side. Few of them have been given their authentic voice. ‘Tommy’ Dodd’s exchanges with police in 1894 as he was arrested for refusing Senior Police Constable Handon’s call to move on, are as close as contemporary records take us:

Ere, you’re treadin’ on my toes…Roll up boys! Don’t let the dog take me…I’ve got two or three members of Parliament at my back, and I’ll make it hot for you…I’ll have fifty witnesses in the morning…(In court, to Prosecutor Crick, sometime MP) He knows as I’m opposing him for West Macquarie, and that he won’t get in…[24]

This minor example of journalistic verisimilitude is part of one of last century’s ‘bovver boys’, aspiring to go from a larrikin gang to the ‘the House of Fossils’, as the Macquarie Street edifice to ambition, the NSW State Parliament, was known. The path being undertaken was uncertain, the environment tumultuous, civil war was considered possible, even likely, and violence and secrecy were topics of everyday conversations. Spies and informers were known to be in the audience at public meetings, and machine gun posts ‘observed’ strike camps and street parades. Working people’s options necessarily included coded messages, disguised courier networks, and a choice of whether to escape altogether, into the bush, to South America, or into fantasy and paranoia.

Before Svensen, Verity Burgmann’s In Our Time (1985) and Ray Markey’s (1988) The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales, 1880-1900, expressed frustration with the work of their predecessors and both attempted improved versions. Burgmann sought to rehabilitate the image of the socialist agitators, influential but side-lined by Nairn and the like. Markey was the more old-fashioned, arguing that ‘The Labor Party in the late 1890’s resembled a radical Country Party rather than an urban, working class organisation.’ His view that ‘populism’ was developed by a parliamentary-oriented leadership – he named George Black, William Holman and ‘Billy’ Hughes – who widened labour’s voter base beyond Sydney’s industrial workers and helped ‘the bush’ triumph over ‘socialism’, is one of the few fully realised ‘story-boards’ available. Being a materialist historian, he has little time for the uncertainties or ambiguities of human experience. Events, such as the loss of banking credit, simply happen or don’t happen. Legislated solutions to social problems, like ‘unlocking the land’ simply fail, the Sydney Trades and Labour Council simply loses out in a power struggle with the Australian Workers Union, ‘the State’ simply intervenes on the side of the employers, and so on.

Burgmann was open to humanity’s diversity but, like Markey, failed to come to grips with the ‘theory vs real life’ paradox inherent in basic terms such as ‘socialist’. Real socialists must be ‘state socialists’, others are ‘utopian’, ’moderate’ or ‘evolutionary socialists’ and they, of course, fail to understand or to act as real socialists would. For Markey, ‘class conflict’ is something real socialists engage in, whereas the other kinds don’t. That’s how you can tell them apart. Workers who are class-conscious, by definition, engage in class conflict, the non-class-conscious workers don’t. In their accounts, violence has a large presence but never has to be investigated, analysis can remain at the level of definitions and abstractions. ‘Violence’, the topic, is only broached to be dismissed – why was there no Australian revolution? or why was the ALP never a revolutionary party? or why was there never any class struggle in Australia? ANSWER: because the working class was never class-conscious. The next question: why was it never class-conscious? ANSWER: because it didn’t match X’s definition.

With the exception of Svensen, labour historians who have followed Nairn, O’Farrell and Fitzhardinge, have presented the same play with only minor script changes. Is it even conceivable that the (mostly) young men they speak about were all drawing-room steady, honest and transparent and had no part in the underground message networks like EJ Brady’s or the schemes of ‘Ragnar Redbeard’ and the Lanes? Was ‘Shear Blades Martin’ really a one-off? Known conspirators were in constant contact with these squeaky-clean, future labour leaders in pubs, in doss-houses and on the street, and, despite factional disputes and raging ambitions, were more or less on the same side. They clearly knew one another well and retrospective ‘omissions’ only magnify the likelihood that important connections with real life existed but needed to be concealed, then and later.

Traill, in one of his first leaders for The Bulletin wanted his editor Archibald to head his 1881 column on the death of the Russian Czar, ‘Dynamite As A Civiliser’, but had to settle for ‘The Execution of the Czar’. Traill’s indictment of the dictator and rationalisation of his murder was however reprinted far and wide:

…(The Czar’s) death was not an assassination. It was an execution – the execution of a murderer more deeply-dyed than ever swung on a British gallows…[25]

The system being protected in Russia was dictatorial and repressive in the extreme, and therefore sympathy for rebellion was conceivable. A Bulletin commentary on the local situation of 20 October, 1890, began:

The Revolt Has Begun

Were it not so what need of the… military preparations on behalf of Capital? What need of Nordenfeldts and armies if it were not recognised that this strike differed from the rest in proclaiming war, not against individuals but against a System?

Locals were arguing that for working Australians, ‘the system’ was dictatorial and oppressive in the extreme, and that sympathy for rebellion was conceivable. There was a choice being posed, not only about a future ‘socialist’ ideal, but about the contemporary situation. Was it so bad that it needed to be swept away?

The system being protected in eastern Australia with rapid-fire machine guns was at least as chaotic as that in Russia. Thousands of unemployed were roaming the streets, property prices had collapsed, and ‘understandings’ between legislators and commercial banking houses were being re-written. The same scenes were being acted out around the globe. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, described the US ‘panic’ coming to a head in 1893:

…A failure two years earlier of the British banking house of Baring Brothers had merely accelerated the process. In February, 1893 a major [US] railroad, the Philadelphia and Reading, had gone bankrupt with debts of $125,000,000. Stocks kept falling, trusts collapsed, and thousands of farm mortgages were foreclosed…By April, 1893…it was apparent to almost everyone that disaster loomed…[26]

On almost the same day in April 1893, Arthur Desmond was jostled into a police wagon in Sydney for having written on the wall of a Sydney bank ‘Gone Bung’, that is, he was arrested for merely asserting a bank was insolvent. You won’t find this ‘coincidence’ of timing in Markey or any other Australian history book, indeed, you won’t find Desmond even in the footnotes of most of them. A central figure in the secret history of the ALP, Arthur Desmond called himself ‘Ragnar Redbeard’, others thought him ‘one of the most mysterious figures in our history.’

            This essay asserts that five years after Traill’s justification of the Czar’s murder in 1881, his complacent world was shaken to its core by a single ‘dynamite’ event, also not found in any Australian labour history, and that the fairground on which the Australian Labour Party ventured to pitch its first tents in 1890-91 was still reeling from the Haymarket explosion, Chicago, May 1886. Taking that longer, global view I suggest that what was going on was neither a war nor a revolution but what is called today a ‘counter-insurgency.’ The State was fighting back against perceived threats, and was doing so in new ways which left ‘the movement’ for change confused, divided and punching at adversaries who had already moved on. That part of it which played out in Australia had elements of farce and high drama, spectacular grand-standing and numbing tragedy. It was in part a mock-serious game and in part a fight to the death.


The Haymarket Affair and its Consequences:

In 1884, it was agreed by the Federation of Organised Trade and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada that 1 May, 1886 would be the date from which ‘eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor’. Property owners and business people mobilized to prevent any such thing happening. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Chicago.

This was the era of rampant capitalism – the decades after the Civil War when circumstances peculiarly favourable to ruthless investors and corrupt politicians made possible the amassing of huge fortunes. In their way stood labouring people increasingly aware of the opportunities available to them from the same circumstances. Curtailing hours of work was hugely attractive and just for a moment they looked to the future with optimism:

In what is generally regarded … as the first May Day parade, Albert Parsons, his wife Lucy and their two children … led 80,000 workers up Michigan Avenue [Chicago] singing, arm-in-arm.

Parsons and his closest activist colleagues were self-described anarchists. On the other side of the world, founding members of the Melbourne Anarchist Club chose the same day for their first formal meeting. Mostly young, serious minded free-thinkers, they came together to calmly debate radical social change theories coming to them via northern free-thought magazines. They could not have known how quickly they would be called upon to deal with the consequences of those ideas being put into practice, nor with allegations that it was their ideas which had caused large-scale murder and mayhem.

Just three days after their first meeting and three days after a joy-filled May Day, an explosion occurred in Chicago with such impact that it reverberated around the world. The trials which followed, now known as ‘the Haymarket Affair’, were described shortly after by a Sydney activist as ‘the most dramatic event in all labour history.’ A more recent scholar has written:

The full meaning of the Haymarket Affair becomes apparent only when set in the perspective of labor’s Great Upheaval of the mid-1880s.[27]

On the evening of 4 May 1886, at 10.oopm, one hundred and seventy-six Chicago policemen were marched out to disperse an orderly meeting called to protest a shooting of locked-out workers by those same police the day before. The Mayor, after attending the meeting, had already gone home believing that the peaceful gathering, which had dwindled from some thousands to about 200, was on the verge of being wound up. The police however were formed up in ranks by Captain John Bonfield and the meeting was ordered to disperse. At this point someone, to this day unknown, threw a bomb, apparently at them. Bonfield later claimed they were also fired on from the shadows. The wounds that many sustained indicated random fire but the police made no attempt to establish the source of any of the bullets. It seems that they, stunned and frightened, had regrouped and returned fire at anything that moved. With the crowd dispersed and the smoke cleared, the organizers of the meeting, eight self-styled anarchists, were arrested and charged with capital crimes. All were prominent labor organisers, some had witnessed previous attacks by Bonfield’s troops on strikers seeking to prevent strike-breakers getting to work sites.[28]

The events of that day[29] were made immediately available to the world with an unprecedented intensity.[30] Especially strident and bigoted, the Hearst publications sought sales and political leverage by demonising all anti-capital advocates. All ‘anarchists and other such traitors’ should be ‘violently handled’. Rural and urban areas of the US experienced their own ‘full- blown panics’.[31] Racism was not the only element in the prejudice:

… long-haired, wild-eyed, bad-smelling atheistic, reckless foreign wretches, who never did an honest hour’s work in their lives, but who, driven half-crazy with years of oppression [before coming to ‘the land of the free’] and mad with envy of the rich .. [32]

Extreme language was common on both sides, indeed on all sides. A partisan US newspaper editor at election time, October 1886:

The grain stacks, houses and barns of active Democrats should be burned; their children burned and their wives outraged, that they may understand that the Republican Party is the one which is bound to rule…[33]

The palpable smell of danger spread around the world and lingered for over a decade. It remained strongest where labour activists sought redress and remained a potent political weapon while ever bombast and appeals to heroic deeds could turn an election. There are many examples – Commander Melville of Britain’s CID during the 1890s thought anarchists were ‘sewer-rats’[34] which perhaps explains his favorite disguise, that of a sanitary inspector.[35]Elsewhere in Gribble’s biography, anarchists are ‘murder-minded internationalists’ and ‘gangsters’. On the other hand, Melville is described as ‘resourceful’, ‘plucky’, ‘determined’, ‘scrupulous’, ‘cheerful’, ‘physically strong’ and ‘an inspiration to his men’.[36] The Haymarket affair’s infection of language and social attitudes linger yet.

The highly flammable elements gathered at Chicago included an atmosphere of unbridled commerce bred on opportunism. The city was the boastful, rambunctious standout in a nation-wide revolution.[37] Between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I the United States experienced extraordinary social and economic changes. In 1870, only one-quarter of Americans lived in cities. By 1920, over one-half did. Chicago grew from a population of 298,977 in 1870 to over 2.7 million in 1920. This process of urbanization was the cause and the effect of industrialization and immigration. Technological advances, particularly in the making of steel, allowed the construction of large factories for mass production. Large-scale, well-financed companies came to dominate most industries. With these changes in the scale and organization of industry came significant changes in workers’ opportunities and experiences. Factories no longer needed many skilled artisans or craftsmen, whose work could now be done by machine. Instead, they needed numbers of unskilled or semiskilled workers to operate the machines. Industrial workers in dangerous or exploitative conditions had little leverage to negotiate fair wages or workplace protections. Cities struggled to meet the demands that such rapid growth placed on housing, transportation, water, and sewage systems.  Many of these workers were recent arrivals from abroad. Between 1880 and 1920, more than 23 million immigrants came to the United States.

By the time of the Civil War, after less than 30 years of unrestrained capitalism, Chicago was the metropolis of the mid-West – the world’s largest railroad hub, the world’s largest lumber market, the world’s largest grain port. Built of timber, it burned in 1871 like a giant forest fire, supposedly the largest urban conflagration of the age. A city of braggers, its wealthier, more ambitious citizens saw opportunities to rebuild bigger, faster and more profitably. Eager entrepreneurs brought people in swarms from the East and from Ireland, Germany and Central Europe. The Protestant elite who hired them was, nevertheless, hostile to their foreign ways, their labor unions, and their socialism. The new immigrants faced hostility, too, from fellow workers who were Anglo-Americans or older immigrants. Passion, conflict and instability were guaranteed.

The front page of the December 25, 1873 issue of the Chicago Tribune did not wish residents of the city Xmas cheer. That was on pages two and three. The entire front page dealt with organizations threatening the city. Under the headline, “Our Communists”, the city’s leading English language newspaper promised to give Chicagoans “A brief sketch of the Socialist movement” and to identify “The First Organization in Chicago” to introduce this new doctrine. Articles included a biographical sketch of “Carl Marx,” and a summary of Marx’s “peculiar ideas as expressed in his work The Communist Manifesto.” There were also articles setting out the desperate situation of the local poor. Over one-quarter of the city’s working population was unemployed, many of those still employed had suffered severe wage reductions. Socialists had taken over the leadership of the unemployed who were increasingly demonstrating their anger. The newspaper laid the responsibility at the feet of one group: recent German immigrants and their workers clubs, the first of which had been established in 1858. By 1871, the Tribune wrote, the largest had accepted as its creed the Manifesto of the Communist Party and had held meetings to discuss this “peculiar” philosophy. There were many others in the city, with lending libraries, and beside debates organised picnics, balls, concerts, and song festivals.

Disparities in well-being between the rich and the poor had hugely increased. Demands from below for reform became louder, searchers for explanations and effective tactics increased their efforts. A great ‘labor upsurge’ – ‘working men and women from every trade, of every skill-level, and of all nationalities and races’ streaming into labor organizations by the tens of thousands’ – made itself known all across the industrialising world. In the United States, the labor organization most closely identified with this Great Upheaval was the Knights of Labor. In Schneirov’s view:

With its well-known motto, “an injury to one is the concern of all,” the Knights epitomized the theory and spirit of class solidarity. The characteristic form of the Knights-mixed local assemblies drawing together workers of all trades-offered an organizational alternative to existing craft unionism.

The Knights developed and popularised a new and for a time, successful weapon, ‘the sympathy strike’ which allowed local organisers to specify the when, who and where of strikes or boycotts rather than wait on the centralised executive for a response. Chicago’s Mayor, Carter Harrison, came under pressure for assisting labour activists to participate in municipal governance and for maintaining strict neutrality during difficulties. Sometime in 1885, he succumbed and appointed a new Police Commissioner, Bonfield, who immediately went on the offensive, against organised labour. The change in the balance of forces was stark and immediate. The further level of State violence, martial law to quell civil dissent remained. President Grover Cleveland introduced the military into the streets of Seattle in February, 1886 and into Chicago in 1894.

Whoever was ultimately responsible, the hysteria around the Haymarket events enabled the Chicago authorities to disregard what evidence there was, and world-wide protests, to execute Parsons and three others and to jail a further three. The eighth was found dead in his cell the day before the executions, 11 November 1887. Two days after the execution, London police attacked peaceful demonstrators attempting to maintain the freedom to speak on political issues in Trafalgar Square. Three were killed, over two hundred injured. In Chicago in 1887:

[On] the eve of their execution, a long procession with muffled drums and banners draped with crape marched through the streets of New York …. On the Sunday after the execution their dead bodies were carried to the grave in Chicago with demon­strations of respect and sympathy such as are rarely accorded to unquestioned public benefactors, and in all parts of the country there are indications that a considerable class regard these men not as criminals but as heroes and martyrs.[38]

At the graveside, ex-Senator Trumbull asserted:

The time will come when mankind will look back upon the execution of the anarchists as we of this day look back upon the burning of witches in New England.

In 1889, Chicago’s Captain Bonfield and his colleague Schaak were exposed in a series of articles in the Chicago Times for exaggerating, if not concocting the Haymarket tragedy to gain promotion and to defuse pressure building up for their dismissal over corruption.[39] The pair sued but they and the cases were dismissed. In 1891 the ‘great Italian criminologist’ Cesare Lombroso, claimed that the faces of anarchists ‘possess peculiar physical characteristics common among the inmates of our idiot and imbecile asylums.’ He claimed 34 per cent of his ‘anarchist’ sample possessed the ‘criminal type’ of face as compared with 43 per cent among ‘ordinary criminals’ of the prison at Turin. He found 40 per cent ‘criminal types’ among photographs of Chicago anarchists, seventeen out of forty-three having ‘disagreeable peculiarities of the face’.[40]

In 1893 a pardon was given to the three anarchists still in jail by the incoming Democrat governor, Altgeld, whose published report referred to the injustice done to those executed: ‘the jury had been rigged, the jurors legally incompetent, the judge partial and the evidence insufficient.[41] The politics around the affair meant, however, that Altgeld, the governor, never won public office again. Bonfield was chosen by Chicago’s Mayor to police the International Exhibition that year during which an American ‘Jack the Ripper’ tortured and killed dozens of women. Bonfield was again found operating a theft and fencing network and was arrested and charged. A street jingle became popular:

Please to remember eleventh November

Government treason and plot

I don’t see the reason why Government treason

Should ever be forgot.

After the threat was seen to be contained, calmer reappraisals even by some of the status quo’s most militant defenders were allowed into the public domain:

[The] great majority of Anarchists … are a harmless body of people … unalterably opposed to all forms of murder and violence.[42]

More recent scholars have put the Haymarket media campaign into a longer-term, left vs right context:

So expertly was the campaign [of red-baiting] waged that it molded the popular mind for years to come, and played its part in conditioning the mass response to the imaginary threat of the ‘social revolution’ frequently displayed … since 1886.[43]

The revolutionary threat was not entirely imaginary and this revisionist interpretation is not yet the full story since ‘left vs right’ is no longer a sufficient descriptor, if it ever was. Manipulation of the public via an apparently benign commercial press was not new in 19th century Chicago, and ‘the experts’ behind the red-baiting considered themselves at war with a perverse, devious enemy. They believed that the ends did justify the means. This is a perennial and often-canvassed theoretical issue, one which fully deserves the attention it has already had, and more. But it is only one of the ‘issues’ involved, just one of the perspectives on offer with which to attempt insight into the whole.

The boom times were coming to an end, and not just in Chicago. Globally, speculation had out-run substance and market confidence was faltering, teetering on the lip of the inevitable downturn. All of the elements normally involved took on added tension, the spaces between cause and effect began to shorten considerably. Those with more to protect had extra reasons for secrecy and violence. Those who had least to lose had less reason to hug the shadows and pretend compliance.

For the active participants, distinguishing real from imaginary threats became a 24-hour a day activity. Sorting information flowing from soap boxes, from Town Halls or from on-line editorials became a complex, time-consuming process. Some ‘actors’ were in a better position than others to control the flow and to shape its movement.

The separation of fields – domestic from foreign, legal from illegal, espionage from counter-intelligence, political from non-political, a free, independent press from partisan ‘ventriloquist’s dummies’ – is a common-place element of the manipulation. Rhetorical camouflage – ‘destroying in order to save’, ‘unpleasant but necessary’, ‘for the greater good’, ‘plausible deniability’ – has been commonly used with physical force or is in contemplation. This tactic is most effective when an otherwise sympathetic figure – a current hero, or a revered figure of past authority – personalises the message. Writing in 1901 retired British army officer Lee asserted that:

(The) idea of preventing or repressing riots by means of a civil police force was hardly considered to fall within the range of practical politics … [However] the signal manner in which the military had failed to keep order during the Gordon Riots [1780] conclusively demonstrated how unreliable was that arm for the purposes of peace maintenance…[44]

The first organised Metropolitan police forces began to appear in England after the 1780 riots. By the second decade of the twentieth century the camouflage – unlimited force behind a benign ‘bobby’ required renewal:

Systematic military policy-making towards internal security in Great Britain dates from the period following the First World War. It was stimulated above all by widespread fears of possible revolution, sharpened by a belief in the collective incapacity of police forces to deal with civil disorder.[45]

That the British military had not continued to be part of the civil control apparatus was a myth fostered by the military. Jeffery quotes Lord Ironsides: ‘[For] a soldier there is no more distasteful duty than that of aiding the civil power’.[46] The one refresher complements another, that of spying: Sir Douglas Haig, General Commanding in Chief, June 1919, said to the Head of Special Branch, Sir Basil Thomson, who was looking forward to getting access to military intelligence:

I said that I would not authorise any men being used as spies. Officers must act straight­forwardly and as Englishmen.[47]

Richard Deacon’s History of the British Secret Service backgrounds the long-term existence of an official spy network but only in terms of defensive information gathering against external threat.[48] The same shell-game allows the non-inclusion of Britain in lists of defined police states even though it has from time to time been used as a model by a State that is included, eg France, Spain.[49]

Before they became government employees, spies were employed by ‘the court’ or factions thereof. Modes of operation and of administration altered less drastically than the change in employer. A re-organised Home Office from the 1770s ‘ran’ domestic and external agents some of whom were within the military and some were not.[50] Co-operation was always possible between these two arms of government for domestic purposes and ‘appropriate’ physical force was used when necessary.[51] Major-General Sir Wyndham Childs who took over Special Branch in the CID in 1921 authenticated the long-term and continuing liaison: ‘[The actual stock of arms available to the police] was a subject on which I had taken the deepest interest while in the War Office [up to 1920]; for part of my work there had been the consideration of revolutionary activities from a military point of view, as it was the duty of the Adjutant-General’s Department to deal with all questions of military aid to the civil powers in case of disturbance’[52] Nineteenth century authorities continuously adjusted the civil police force but it was never far from the reach of the military. Reith has emphasised the importance of the century to the evolution of the ‘police-idea’[53] and the importance of the civil police as a medium through which the army and naval force found it necessary to function.[54]

The military were ordinarily trained to fight battles with ‘fronts’, no man’s land, large-scale retreats and manoeuvres. They instinctively recognised an invasion, even a large-scale uprising. Conspiracies, stump orators, subversion in words, needed adjustments towards adaptability, stealth and a greater priority on ‘knowing the enemy’ before moving. The strategic question remained the one of adequate response. Assessments determined the level of force required to achieve outcome ‘x’.  Government could only fall if the applied force proved insufficient, and there were no reserves or a Plan B. Civil police developed to control indoor meetings, as in taverns, and a range of responses had to be developed. Initially there were only two – infiltration and massive intervention to break up meetings, conspiracies, groups altogether. Outside meetings became less important and were increasingly tolerated unless a speaker was considered blasphemous, or threatening violence or spouting disloyalty, and even some of this was tolerated as being public it was believed to be ineffective.

In Chicago, the local police ‘saw’ the unruly as ‘foreign’ and therefore un-American and therefore threatening objects which could be struck down indiscriminately. In England, and the colonies white people, at least, looked familiar. Why then did the British military move so dramatically against the very public striker meetings and strike camps in the late 19th century? Part of the answer has to be because grimy and uncouth, miners and bush labourers outside the cities were still seen as ‘foreign’, at least by the officer class. In towns and cities, by the late 19th century, unruly crowds were more ‘us’ and less ‘them’ with the least-easily accepted being the ‘street arabs’, the poorest, the least tamed, the most different. The unemployed, whether voluntarily-so or not, were a sometimes independent and unpredictable force. The more foreign, or organised, the more threatening they could be. Crowds could be discouraged from violence by reason or by shows of superior power, but they could be under orders, or being paid to be confrontational. When political meetings were first accepted as legitimate elements of the democratic process they had some of the characteristics of battles with ‘fronts’ and deployments of opposing armies. Tactics were evolving and the rules of engagement still being negotiated, especially where weapons were concerned. Governments were less certain how much force was just enough and military advisors had to do without the counter-productive ceremonial and colour-coding of previous years.

In the evolving British model, plain-clothes police operated as secret political police during the nineteenth century. From 1829, the ‘peelers’, the Metro­politan Police, were dully uniformed, they collected information and they mixed with the public in ways armed, brightly dressed soldiers never could. Even so, as pseudo-soldiers they were quartered in barracks, drilled in public and in private, armed or not, and marched to their ‘beats’.[55] Additional ‘special constables’, who had always been available under other names in previous centuries, were revamped by special legislation in 1831, 1835 and 1837.[56] Lee described this legislation as ‘an adequate defence against mob violence’ and one of the two key advances made during ‘the most important decade in our police history’.[57] The converging priorities of the bureaucratising process were clear as early as the Seditious Meetings Act of 1817[58]  which required that police note taking be formalised for court appearances. The 1848 Crown and Government Security Act[59] replaced the capital charge of treason, which was hard to succeed with in court, with the felony of sedition which was the same thing made easier to prove. Later again, came the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which had anti-conspiracy clauses.[60]

Plain clothes policemen officially designated ‘detectives’ appeared in 1842.[61] In 1833 a Parliamentary Committee had expressed the opinion: ‘With respect to the occasional employment of police in plain-clothes, the system affords no just matter of complaint while strictly confined to detecting breaches of the law.’ This Committee solemnly deprecated any employment of spies as a practice most abhorrent to the feelings of the people and most alien to the spirit of the Constitution.[62] Charles Dickens played a part in turning domestic suspicion of detectives into admiration,[63] and detectives in the next sixty years became an example of the archetypal virtuous, British white, male hero. Their alleged success in preventing Fenians, anarchists and labor agitators shooting royalty, burning down the Bank of England or blowing up the Houses of Parliament, that is, all that was ever glorious, was largely responsible for their exalted image. The fact that no attempts were made by the majority of persons using the term ‘anarchist’ to do these things was considered irrelevant when denunciations were being handed out. In the twentieth century similarly romanticised ‘spies’ with domestic and overseas applications were given their own administrative structures. International espionage became the norm and domestic surveillance again dropped out of sight.

The ISIS phenomenon shows that as far as media-demonisation is concerned, correlation of evil with a threatening group or idea is still most easily made when the enemy is foreign and non-Christian. Locals who ‘look foreign’ may be labelled ‘home-grown terrorists’ while otherwise violent Australians are never ‘terrorists’ or even evil. They are one-punch cowards, traumatised veterans, mentally-ill drug-takers, or just ‘angry white males.’ In his 2006 positively-reviewed history, Matthew Carr drew attention to ’the ritualised official response’ and the ‘praetorian guard’ of outraged moralists and media pundits which supports it:

As a result of the September 11 attacks the world has been sucked with frightening speed into a vicious downward spiral of war and atrocity, in which elementary notions of legality, morality and human dignity are being trampled on by both sides…I believe that those of us who are being terrorised have the right and even the obligation to re-examine how terrorism came to acquire such fearsome ascendancy over our era.[64]

In the 1880’s, mass media hunting as a pack was a new phenomenon. After the Haymarket event, the archetype for the ‘indiscriminate’ or ‘senseless’ murder charge against anarchists was probably Emile Henry’s bombing attack on the Terminus Restaurant (1894)or Vaillant’s on the French Chamber of Deputies (1893) both in Paris, during a period of French political upheavals. One person was killed in the first and none in the second.[65] Henry’s logic was cool and precise: ‘The whole of the bourgeoisie lives by the exploitation of the unfortunate and should expiate its crimes together.’[66] However, the further one looks at the statistics, the more anomalies there are. In numbers of attacks,[67] in numbers of victims,[68] in applications of indiscriminate force, the label of ‘mindless terrorist’ attaches more reasonably to the disciplined military, police and para-military, such as the Pinkertons, the Black and Tans, or regular troops, than to anarchists.


In Australia:

Nineteenth century Australia has often been described as though the only law-breakers were bushrangers or land speculators and the only spies were bushrangers’ friends.[69] As a matter of simple logic the British would have brought 18th century ideas of power formations and their hemisphere’s attitudes towards surveillance. Fears of Fenians, Chinese secret societies, possible French or Russians invasions, and of home-grown republicans and worse, only meant continuous injections of official British thinking about security.

The English spy/detective/policeman correlation discussed in The Rise and Fall of English Freemasonry holds for the Australian colonies, even before plain-clothes officers were officially termed detectives, around mid-19th century. Captain Arthur Phillip brought military and domestic surveillance to bear immediately he arrived. He could not have carried out his job otherwise and is what would have been expected from someone with his military intelligence background.[70] He appointed twelve watchmen in August 1789 to be the colony’s first constabulary.[71] The first professional ‘thief-taker’ was ex-convict Israel Chapman appointed 1827,[72] yet ‘the constabulary’, however it was termed, already had unquestioned power, especially in outlying areas, to detain at will or report even those officials considered to be shirking work.[73] Quite apart from their powers of arrest or their level of competence, their role in the collection of information on all sorts of social phenomena for government use is clear. An 1833 Act empowered the Governor to appoint two or more Justices of the Peace to act as Police Magistrates, their duties being to suppress all riots, tumults, affrays or breaches of the peace and all public nuisances, vagrancies and offences against the law’. The magistrates appointed constables in their domain and determined work conditions. Uniforms were introduced in 1834[74] when the Colonial Secretary issued instructions for the Police Magistrates to ‘furnish confidential reports on crime, police, convicts and any other matters in their districts which it might be useful for the Government to know about’.[75]These men were, at the same time, public servants gathering welfare statistics, secret agents attempting to head off threats, lobbyists for special causes and self-serving propagandists. Later administrative changes only formalised the generation of statistics on, for example, numbers of Chinamen, sanitary facilities, single women and unemployed mechanics in regions and districts.[76]

In 1839, following the separation of the police from the magistrates, W.A. Miles came to the Colony as Superintendent of Police with ‘the intention of modelling the Sydney force more closely on the London Metropolitan Force’, that is, of updating the model. Despite his feeling that shortages of numbers and funds impeded Miles’ efforts, O’Brien has concluded that, ultimately, in all colonies ‘the example set by England in instituting an effective police force was followed … the character and methods of the original being closely copied’.[77] After a ‘riot’ in 1850 in Sydney, a Board of Enquiry was appointed to look into civil control methods used. O’Brien records a contemporary comment that it ‘was not unusual for … the crowd to be dispersed by troops’.[78] Out of the enquiry came an Inspector-General of Police responsible for all NSW constabulary. The gold rushes produced a mammoth influx requiring a rapid, further expansion of effort, including legislation such as the 1862 Police Regulation Act, hurried in after the Lambing Flat uproar[79]which continued the centralising trend.[80]

It is little known that colonial public services grew three times faster than total populations in this period.[81] A Victorian Select Committee, July 1852, looking to express its autonomy from NSW had recommended the recruitment of not less than eight hundred police including two hundred ‘experienced’ men from England.[82] Walter Rendale came out from England in May 1853 with Inspector Samuel Freeman and a party of volunteers, and was given the title ‘Detective’.[83] A force of nine mounted detectives appeared in 1853. Dressed as bushmen, they patrolled the back-roads but complained about their having to observe military-style discipline which isolated them from the general population.[84] Having to endure the incongruous mixture of swords and disguises continued in both Victoria and New South Wales up to the 1880s.[85]

Detective-Inspector Christie’s personal account[86]records a distinct Detective Office in Victoria by 1865,[87] with a ‘Superintendent of Detectives’ in charge. One Superintendent, Sadleir, had ‘secret agents’, no doubt informers, and his men’s skillful and patient use of them. Sadleir also refers to them as ‘scouts’ and says each had a secret sign.[88] In rural Victoria, in various disguises, Christie personally searched for illicit stills and for smugglers working across the NSW-Victorian border. He had access to secret telegraph codes[89] and authority to open personal mail. Disguises as extensions of plain-clothes are documented elsewhere in the pursuit of bushrangers[90], as is the use of the plain clothes disguise by special constables.[91] In NSW from 1866, a recent biographer asserts, as the incoming Colonial Secretary and Minister for Police, Parkes personally devised a new plan for ending ‘the bushranger scourge’:

He had special constables secretly sworn in for covert operations, and personally    selected the men to lead them. These mounted parties would act like the posses    of the American West, tracking the outlaws      to their lair.[92]

The only difference in form between the reports on dissidents which now come forward from detectives and uniformed police, and the reports made explicitly for military intelligence during the First World War is the opening sentence indicating who it is for.[93] On 9 March 1868 a memorandum from Superintendent Nicolson to the Chief Commissioner concluded a report on Fenianism in Australia with:

1 have no reason to believe there is as yet any organisation of the kind apprehended [Irish National League or similar] in this colony. It may be in contemplation.

The memorandum refers to a cabman at Hotham [Melbourne] ‘said to be a disguised Headcentre Fenian from the States’, that is, the USA.[94] In 1869 Christie was summoned by the Duke of Edinburgh, recovering from an assassination attempt in Sydney, to be his bodyguard for the rest of his colonial tour.[95] Following the receipt of information that Fenians intended to kidnap the Duke in New Zealand, an intended trip to the Otira Gorge was abandoned.[96] Christie was asked to join the Detective Branch of the Royal Household but he declined, preferring to become a professional athlete. Christie later worked on the wharves as a Customs Detective. In 1901 he was engaged as royal bodyguard and co-ordinator of ‘a plan of supervision’ on the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.

Twenty-three years after the Duke had been shot, Sydney’s Truth[97] explored Sir Henry Parkes’s part in the then current social unrest and asserted that Parkes (1815-1896) had used the 1869 shooting as an excuse to introduce the Treason Felony Act. Parkes had claimed at the time that he knew before the assassination attempt that a plot existed. Publicity plus the legislation during a great public outcry did not hurt his career. Afterwards, embarrassed spies, the judiciary and Parkes assisted with a cover-up of not only the evidence but of the surveillance network itself.

Is it possible to determine how seriously a threat of major upheaval from civil dissent was taken, locally and/or at home? and/or determine what police/military resources were applied by ‘the authorities’ along the eastern sideboard during this period? How many extra troops were mobilised? How many extra covert resources were brought in? What were the politics around the decision-making?

Historians’ neglect of these matters may be a result of a lack of visible evidence but that’s the whole point of secrecy, isn’t it? There may seem to be no evidence because there is no evidence, which may mean the government of the time saw no need for an application of resources. But since as we have already seen the period was one of heightened, nay, hysterical perceptions of threat the idea of ‘no (extra) response’ seems untenable. AND given that the full story of the governmental responses to a similar situation ‘at home’ is still unknown because a blanket ban on relevant records has been in place ever since, that is for over a century, and has recently been extended indefinitely, I assume the response there entailed a great deal which was out of the ordinary.[98]

Officially-designated ‘soldiery’ in all colonies remained subject to British Imperial authority during the period under review despite contemplation, especially in the 1850s, of volunteer corps as a possible way to reduce costs by allowing some local control.[99] Official accounts insist that ‘the last Imperial troops left (in this case, Victoria) in 1870’ but show that in August, 1899, ‘the senior Imperial Military Officer in Australia was Major-General Charles Holled-Smith, Commandant of the military forces of Victoria.’[100]  By 1886, each colony had volunteer defence force units but uniforms, for example, ‘followed the British style, with infantry in red jackets, artillery in blue.’[101] It is one part of the legacy of Colonel Tom Price that less flamboyant colours and slouch hats began to make their appearance when he was put in charge of the Victorian Mounted Rifles in Victoria in 1887.

The Empire’s increased profitability and prestige in the second half of the century had changed minds dramatically and not just in London. Competition for military advantage – the Arms Race’- had become intense and new players and new ways of doing business had appeared. British control of Suez was only secured in 1882 and further east ‘the natives’ were testing the established boundaries. Australia was, after India, ‘a rich and tempting prize’,[102] and while the will to autonomy was certainly strong in some places, the politics were confused and prone to public grandstanding and opportunism, all of which covered a great deal of secret deal-making.[103] Much has been made of moralising bombast suggesting any talk of independence approached treason and that defending ‘the Empire’ was a sacred cause. Lord Carrington, Governor of NSW in 1888, considered he had a ‘duty’ to ‘strengthen the cordial relations’ between ‘the mother country and this fair land and which are so precious to both’. (p.412, ‘1888’) Elsewhere it was argued that:

[Volunteering] would not only end the danger of invasion … it would also impart into the youth of the nation obedience, promptitude, and self-respect and provide a safe and salutary occupation for the increasing hours of leisure at men’s disposal.[104]

I’ve asserted in The Rise and Fall of English Freemasonry that the bombast was essentially hollow, mostly a noisy show hiding radical shifts in influence from ‘old boy networks’ to very hard-nosed bargaining by professional agents – of government, of wealthy cliques and of what is now called ‘the media.’ Surface conflict over votes, careers and ambitions have always been one part only of the reality but many historians seem satisfied with it. News reports and later academic accounts usually obscure or do not ask – which troops were involved? who was in charge? what were their orders? Without a deeper probe, a peoples’ history is anecdotal.

Research has brought to light a series of letters which provide a glimpse of the co-ordinated surveillance network in place in the 1860’s. The correspondence links the Victorian Chief Commissioner, the Victorian Chief Secretary, the Victorian Governor, a Royal Naval commander, Commodore Stirling, and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in London. Concerned with yet another threat to the Duke’s life from someone called ‘Bertini’, surveillance of the suspect was put into place whereby ‘a member of the Detective Force’ resided not just in the same hotel but in the same bedroom, not just a spy but an under-cover agent.[105] Records indicate a British Admiralty-Colonial Detective Branch network operating in 1894,[106] when concerns included coastal defences, arrangements for war mobilization and surveillance of foreign vessels.[107] It appears that from the 1870s the British War Office sought better information on the defenses of all Australian colonies. In 1887, an Imperial Conference in London, attended by spiritually-inclined politician Alfred Deakin from Victoria among others, discussed the role of the Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific region and how much ‘Australia’ would contribute to secure protection of its ports. The War Office promised that an Inspecting Officer for all Australian troops would be appointed to ‘advise’ colonial governments.[108]

Mutuality of ‘home’ and colonial interests in internal policing, too, was still assumed, but it is true that the late-1880’s and 1890’s presented difficulties not encountered previously.[109] Until that time, colonial detective and uniformed police recruiting followed the ‘home’ pattern. Queensland had a Detective Branch by 1864, South Australia had 9 full-time detectives by 1884, and so on.[110] A West Australian ‘police espionage’ system was gingered up by escapes of Fenians in 1868 and 1876, and when the Russian Consul visited the Victorian Mint a file was raised at Melbourne Headquarters. ‘Continued co-operation’ with Scotland Yard was communicated on ‘a case of Imperial importance’[111] but these files have been sanitised and contain nothing further of use.

The 1880s, according to O’Brien, ‘ushered in a more difficult era for Australian detectives’. There were ‘new criminals’, young colonials ‘who were more dangerous in every respect’. Grabosky’s statistics for Victoria in the early 1880s show that arrest was being employed as social control and that prisons served as warehouses for drunkards, vagrants, aged and infirm, and lunatics as well as the more conventional offenders, to a degree unsurpassed before or since.[112] Detective duties included serving of bi-weekly stolen property lists to pawn­brokers and dealers, acquainting themselves with the whereabouts of criminals, suspects and prostitutes and furnishing a surveillance return every six months.[113]

(The detective) took me a roundabout course through main and bye-streets, talking    chiefly about the standing quarrel…between the uniformed and the plain-clothes    police…occasionally stopping to…converse with (a prostitute) at the corner    of an alley…these appeared to be his regular information agents.[114]

Newspaper reports tell of disguised WA police driving that colony’s stage coaches and recording all visitors arriving by boat.[115]Official Victorian police records show that their tasks included ‘rigidly inspecting’ mail at the central post office where one detective was always on duty. One presumes this included anything addressed to local addresses from known activists overseas, such as Most, Tucker, etc. The inevitable corruption of force members dependent upon success to achieve material improvement took on new forms – promotion of burglaries so that rewards could be obtained, paying of witnesses to ‘induce them to keep to the statement they at first furnished’ – are two that are known. It is unlikely that government resources directed to surveillance and suppression were considered unnecessary. During the last years of the century as the status-quo won victory after victory, it would have been the only supine administration in the Empire if colonial governments had done nothing in the face of assertions from friends and foes alike that civil war was possible. And yet, few ‘secret records’ have been found.

Links between the UK power-brokers and colonial capitalists are another element. That there was considerable communication cannot be doubted, that much evidence has been destroyed or secreted away is a probable explanation.[116]

The less public politicking being conducted globally in the 1880’s was behind the alleged health-cure voyage of the retiring Conservative MP and specialist in Colonial Affairs, the fourth Lord Carnarvon who left England in 1886. His schedule, in South Africa, Australia and elsewhere, shows it was much more than a holiday but just how much was ‘official’ and how much his own, is uncertain. He was a committed imperialist, and keenly wanted to set up a global Masonic Parliament to maintain fraternal influence on Whitehall and Downing Street and no doubt on local parliaments. He is known to have carried instructions from the Prince of Wales to try to deflect thoughts of lodge autonomy among local brethren. Discussed further elsewhere, he was unsuccessful in both of his masonic projects but they were considered achievable at the time. In November, 1887, Premier of New South Wales, Parkes, proposed changing the name of that State to ‘The Colony of Australia’. He was forced to back down by opposition from other States but accepted from London the compensatory title of a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George.[117]

As elsewhere, newspaper editors and reporters were paid to ferret out the plans, faction fights and difficulties of ‘the opposition’ and were expected not to disclose those of his/her employer. How much local control existed in mainstream editorials is not yet clear, nor the extent to which they employed their own spies as The Times did, for example.[118] The Age which seemed liberal in its views and even sympathetic towards what it called ‘the rights of the working man’ is unlikely to have been assisted with inside information by the authorities but their public attitude was only a subtle form of the ploy perceptible in other papers,[119] that of separating ‘the incorrigibly criminal’ protestors from those who could be corralled inside the respectability dynamic. The totality of a pre-1886 Age summary of what was a life and death struggle excused the use of superior fire-power against un-armed labourers:

Serious riots have broken out among the wharf laborers in Montreal. They were suppressed by police with considerable difficulty, and not until they had to make use of their firearms to disperse the rioters.[120]

This is in the same vein as earlier summaries, yet it was no longer possible for ‘the army’ to simply wade into un-armed civilians and expect there to be no consequences, as at Peterloo in 1819, or at Eureka Stockade. In 1861, Victoria’s volunteer troopers had been called out ‘to aid the civil authorities’ against railway gangers ‘incensed by a 2/- per day reduction in their wages.’ The local police magistrate brought sixty Mounted Rifles to bear and they ‘soon quelled the riot.’[121] But by 1886, decision-makers, civil and military, were asking themselves questions, and were finding that clear, legally sustainable powers were not available in the new circumstances – who was to make the call to act aggressively? did the Riot Act cover all possibilities? when was the decision to be made? how were the consequences to be dealt with? what, if anything, could be withheld from parliament?[122]


How the Haymarket Affair Came to Australia:

Free Thought to Free Action

          Labour historians have complained of the lack of Australian theorisation, akin to that developed in Europe by Marx, Morris, Bakunin, or in the USA by ‘philosophers’ such as Tucker or Thoreau or Emerson. They have noticed the debates under the name, for example, of the Australasian Secular Association and/or of the Melbourne Anarchist Club but have dismissed them because their titles did not contain ‘socialist’, ‘working’ or ‘industrial’ and, therefore couldn’t possibly be relevant or important. The centrality of the celebration of ‘May Day’ by anarchists in the Haymarket Affair made this major event impossible to integrate into any ‘labour history’ taking its cues and its themes from Europe. These difficulties have had major consequences in both the practice and the reporting of ‘the labour movement.’


The first Australian references to ‘anarchy’ or its derivatives date from the mid-nineteenth century and show early misuse of the word. W.G. Wentworth, newly established NSW Tory, used the word to slander opposition politicians, John Dunmore Lang [123] and Henry Parkes [124]. Even when the word was used more accurately it could still be seen as a term of abuse, as when Henry McDermott, a Sydney City Councillor in 1842 [125] complained that he had ‘suffered abuses’, that is, he had been called an anarchist for suggesting ‘agricultural areas’ and small towns on the coast to encourage decentralization. [126] More usual was the association expressed by James McEarchern who established the Tambaroora Association of Alluvial Miners in 1852 and disputed merchants’ claims that individual miners were causing ‘law and order’ to be superseded by anarchy and confusion.[127] French printer and philosopher, Proudhon, is credited with the first notable, public statement that anarchism could be thought of positively. The first, known positive expressions in Australia appeared in the 1880’s in Melbourne[128] as part of debates over organised religion. The social heights of the city were in the grip of ‘narrow, forceful men’ who were using their political dominance ‘to carry into legislation the social tenets of their churches’.[129] As in the northern hemisphere, this provoked secular societies and anti-church propaganda. A youngish band of self-styled ‘free thinkers’ then rebelled against the restrictions of organised Free Thought and formed themselves into the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC). Today, an informed attempt to encompass the strands of anarchism in a single definition would be:

[Anarchism is] a system of social thought, aiming at fundamental changes in the structure of society and particularly … at the replacement of the authoritarian state by some form of non-governmental co-operation between free individuals.[130]

Following the lead of its counterparts in the USA[131] and England,[132] organised Free Thought in Australia necessarily encompassed breaks with conventional thinking on a broad range of issues. The Australasian Secular Association [ASA]was established on 17 July 1882 by Thomas Walker(1858-1932) who elected himself President and undertook to pay himself a stipend for lecturing, and James Donovan, about whom little is known other than that he was elected Vice-President.[133] Walker was an adventurer, already on the run from authorities in Canada who wished to interview him about certain money-raising ‘projects’ he had begun and abandoned when questions began to be asked. He did not remain long in Melbourne, either, but travelled to Sydney and, much later, to Perth where he became a successful and apparently respectable Attorney-General and Parliamentary Speaker. The ASA flourished without him, attracting a raft of other non-conformists. With the help of Charles Bradlaugh, leading English secularist, the membership obtained the services of English-born Joseph Symes as president, chief lecturer and editor of its journal, The Liberator, from February 1884.[134] The first Symes’ editorial, 1 June 1884, began with the ambitious pronouncement:

This paper is started in the interests of freedom, not licence, not lawlessness, but such freedom as is consistent with the rights of all.

His choice of words reflects the collision, happening as he was writing, of a theoretical debate over the authority of established churches and ‘the God idea’ with the more urgent concerns of social justice. External attacks on the ASA temporarily covered over differences within the free speech camp[135] but when the ‘atheism of politics’[136] emerged formally, Symes’ stubbornness and his interest in a parliamentary career made his choice of sides in the Haymarket furore easy, and prevented him and the Liberator converging with the anarchist/secularist line[137] taken by Ben Tucker, Bostonian editor of the influential ‘anarchist and free thought’ journal, Liberty.[138] One biographer has written of Symes:

Aroused by the smugly parochial, wowserish society of (Victoria), he led agitations for free speech, an uncensored press, excursion trains and the opening of art galleries and public libraries on Sundays.[139]

The Lord’s Day Observance Society and the Victorian government retaliated with three major and some minor prosecutions in 1885-87. Unable to engage reliable counsel, Symes defended himself in the courts and routed his persecutors. Smith went on to say:

These harassments worsened his health and temper. He became dictatorial with his followers and his denunciations of cant became increasingly strident and exhibitionist.

He stood in the Legislative Assembly elections of 1889 but came last. His programme included land nationalization, graduated income tax, abolition of colonial titles and governorships, a free Sunday, legalized contraception, the ending of discrimination against Chinese, and Home Rule for Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Smith concluded, without mentioning anarchism, that Symes’ radicalism was ‘probably the most extreme to be announced in nineteenth-century Australia’.

Being largely self-taught, leading radicals knew the value of written materials and while many worked on newspapers or journals others maintained news agencies. Symes helped his income along with a news agency at the corner of Bourke and Queen Streets, an inner city location.[140] Clerical attacks on Free Thought, Symes and the ASA, some reprinted in The Liberator, illustrate the geographic penetration of ASA propaganda into and through the strongly-independent press at the time. For example, the Launceston Examiner and the Queensland Evangelical Standard are quoted on 22 June 1884.[141] A listing of Liberator agents shows it was sold throughout New Zealand, in all colonies except Western Australia, and as far north as Cairns. Thirty country towns, in Victoria had distribution outlets for The Liberator.[142] Pars and correspondence indicate how keenly rural Australia followed the debates testing not just the ASA and the MAC but the larger questions of justice and equity.[143]

Around half the ASA councilors and a similar percentage of the membership had quickly become disenchanted with him. Most of the executive positions on the Liberator Publishing Coy at its launch were filled by men who had already or later turned to anarchism, the most prominent being the native-born brothers, David and William Andrade,[144] Fred Upham from Rhode Island, New York,[145] Donovan and George Newberry, about whom little is known. Others prepared to ‘out’ themselves as anarchist included Nichols, Peter McNaught, Brookhouse, John White and McMillan. Others such as Fryer and ‘Monty’ Miller[146] were derided as anarchists by Symes’ supporters because of their rebelliousness. After Symes, these were the most active members of the ASA. As time went on, it became obvious he was progressively alienating the Association’s strongest elements, and thereby diminishing its impact on progressive issues. By 1888, it was a shadow of what it had been when he arrived.

Will Andrade, better known much later for his bookshops, had his earliest piece published in the Liberator, ‘The Basis of Morality’ (‘self-control is the key-stone’) on 29 June 1884. Many others followed. In October 1885 he was appointed delegate to the Annual Conference in Melbourne by the Picton (NZ) Secular Society, and was made secretary of the Liberator Publishing Coy. In January 1886 he resigned the latter position to prepare for his wedding on 6 February to Emma Wickham. One of his last articles as secretary was a biography of W.W. Collins, another secularist lecturer from England, for whom he moved his family to Sydney in May. Before leaving Melbourne and after the first reports of the Haymarket had been read he contended in debate that Symes’ actions in defying the government over free speech were not consistent with his support that night for the procedure of changing laws through the ballot box:

The people at present put barriers to their own freedom by having governments. Anarchy was what the world needed and progress could only be obtained by individual freedom.[147]

‘Chummy’ Fleming was another early ASA member who turned to anarchism, having arrived in Australia two years before Symes.[148] His family had had a long history of ‘working class’ militancy. He had been introduced at age 10 to factory work which profoundly impaired his health.[149] He had attended Free Thought lectures before coming to Australia at an uncle’s invitation. Getting short-lived employment as a bootmaker, he attended the 1884 Second Annual Secular Conference in Sydney and in 1885 was Secretary of its Ballarat (Vic) branch where he would have met Rose Stone, another secularist being harassed by town believers.[150] A very staunch free-thinker, she moved to Melbourne, became an ASA Sunday school teacher and lecturess before marrying and, as Mrs Summerfield,[151] moving to Sydney where we will meet her again later. A man called Lee replacing Fleming in Ballarat, was punched, kicked, stoned and chased by 2,000 people in September – ‘during the time that we were being ill-used, the police stood and did not interfere.’[152]

Overwhelmingly, these names are anglo-saxon and apart from the atheism, do not fit the hysterical caricature being perpetrated in Chicago, viz: ‘long-haired, wild-eyed, bad-smelling, atheistic, reckless foreign wretches..(etc).’[153] Their interests were decidedly international and the ASA had begun receiving specifically anarchist literature from overseas around 1885, as overseas secular and free thought societies were doing. No doubt there were non-anglo radicals in Melbourne and in other States but they have not yet been researched.

Proudhon’s 1840 position is today called mutualist-anarchist. He wrote:

[The] authority of man over man is inversely proportional to the state of intellectual development which that society has reached… Property and royalty have been crumbling to pieces ever since the world began. As man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy.[154]

Arguing for a society made up of small-scale producers freely associating to exchange labor products equivalent in value, Proudhon believed in change to a just society through principle, not revolution.[155] Tucker, a significant North American figure for Australian anarchists wrote in 1888:

When [Josiah] Warren and Proudhon, in prosecuting their search for justice to labour, came face to face with the obstacle of class monopolies, they saw that these monopolies rested upon Authority, and concluded that the thing to be done was, not to strengthen this Authority and thus make monopoly universal, but to utterly uproot Authority and give full sway to the opposite principle, liberty, by making competition…universal…

He went on:

The Manchester men [Ricardo, etc] were… inconsistent. They believed in liberty to compete with the labourer in order to reduce his wages, but not in liberty to compete with the capitalist in order to reduce his usury.

This strand of anarchism, which has attracted different names, has argued for ‘Absolute Free Trade … the logical carrying out of the Manchester doctrine’ as the means to socialize resources. They were thus up against State Socialists who wished to seize capital, and opposed to ‘class’ monopolies, in particular, of money, land, tariff and patents.[156] Tucker’s anarchist solution for injustice was all about wealth and economics, as were many of his opponents. G.D.H Cole was debating the same issues thirty years later:

Socialists have all too often fixed their eyes upon the material misery of the poor without realizing that it rests upon the spiritual degradation of the slave.[157]

The distinctions between two organizing principles which have dominated radical political theory ‘from the time of the Paris Commune’ (1871)…and which can be ‘exemplified by the split between the Marxists and the anarchists’ from that time have been much clarified since. They involve three inter-related questions: the constituency of the movement; the structure of the movement; and the role of the state and organised politics. Closely related questions are about the forms of ownership and of decision-making.[158]The author of this formulation, Chodorkoff, had in mind the communist-collectivist strand of anarchism, not the Proudhonian/Tucker strand. In key exchanges with Karl Marx at meetings of the International Workers Movement in Europe in the 1870’s, Mikhail Bakunin raged about the need for personal endeavour with a sharp anti-State polemic.[159]His view of anarchism as social revolution, and not just one of economics, is clear in the following:

The future organisation of society should be carried out entirely from below upwards, by the free association and federation of the workers in associations first of all, then in communes, in regions, in nations and finally in a great international and universal federation. It is only then that the true and invigorating order of liberty and general happiness will be established, that order which far from denying either of them, affirms and brings into harmony the interests of individuals and of society.[160]

He regarded conflict and struggle, even in a fully evolved, future society as inevitable and natural, and thus he pre-supposed the need articulated by twentieth century anarchists to develop insights into healthy resolution of conflict as alternatives to either State surveillance or personal and mass violence.[161] Dolgoff commented that contrary to impressions given by historians about him, that he advocated indiscriminate violence against persons, Bakunin opposed regicide and stressed that any destruction be of institutions:

It will then become unnecessary to destroy men and reap the inevitable reaction which massacres of human beings have never failed and never will fail to produce in every society.[162]

In the same 1869 Program of the International Brotherhood quoted by Dolgoff Bakunin wrote:

It will not be surprising if the rebellious people kill a great many of [the oppressors] at first. This will be a misfortune…and as quickly over; but…neither moral nor even useful.[163]

The phrase ‘propaganda of the deed’ had come into vogue from the 1870s as a new, emotive name for the very old idea of civil dissent. Among undifferentiated ‘socialists’ it was also known as ‘direct action’. Premised on the belief that ‘the workers’ were unlikely to be moved to revolt by theory it was hoped they might be sparked into action by a spectacular ‘deed’ or at least take a lesson from it. As the dissent theories had gathered substance in the second half of the 19th century, differentiated ‘strands’ had adopted terms, tactics and even things like colours, to further distinguish themselves. ‘The deed’ amongst anarchists initially involved peaceful demonstrations, speeches and burning of public records.[164] Reaction of the authorities made it inevitable that the zealots would ‘weaponise’ and would speak of their violence as virtuous because it was defensive. In an atmosphere tense with expectation and often ablaze with sensation, anarchist/socialist circles began to buzz with defiant talk of heroic stances and martyrdom ‘for the cause’. In an age of imperialist image-making, the temptations for bombast and for provocation are obvious. Cranks, would-be politicians and police spies infiltrated meetings until it became difficult to determine who was a mercenary and who a genuine believer. A parroted cry – ‘death to tyranny’ – could mark a hired gun, a mug duped into ‘dirty tricks’, a detached idealist or a desperate zealot.

As we will now see, a very sophisticated theoretical level was reached inside the MAC before it followed the ASA into acrimony and was swamped by external events. Their analysis of power rather than of class as understood by Marxists, and of the non-violent basis of autonomy and collective decision-making within small groups is about where 20th century advocates of self-government have now reached.[165] As the MAC membership debated before them, the more recent ‘social anarchists’ have recognised that autonomy is only viable for mass society when large-scale changes in attitudes occur, thus education and personal growth are far more important change-agents than cataclysmic revolution. Unfortunately, State-surveillance and power to determine media debates has grown enormously since 1886 because of the theoretical flash point which the Haymarket explosion, the ASA and the MAC brought to life.

A lengthy column by the unidentified correspondent ‘Gyges’ in The Age on 1 May 1886 included a Spencerian view of anarchism and references to Seymour’s The Anarchist and Tucker’s Liberty before word of the bombing could have been received:

[Anarchist] propaganda must not be overlooked in any review of existing political fermentation if only that it furnishes a sort of raison d’etre for the terrible, inflammatory and explosive Nihilism which from time to time startles the world …The watchword of the old world was ‘obedience’….The watchword of modern democracy is ‘liberty’… Society must in its evolution, pass through these convulsions but they are birth not death throes…

The first mention of the Haymarket affair in Australian papers was via identically inaccurate cables on 6 and 7 May in all dailies with international content. These cables did not mention anarchist involvement. The first editorials appeared on the 10th of May:

It would be an injustice to the cause of labor to represent the riot and bloodshed … [in the USA] … as the natural and legitimate outcome of the system of combination which labor has in late times adopted as its great hope against the absolute dictation of capital … the violent measures into which those engaged in a movement, lawful and laudable in itself have been betrayed, have not in­frequently alienated public sympathy and thrown back for a long time the cause that those measures were intended to forward…[166]

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) in reporting a European labor event made a similar point, but much more bluntly:

The disturbances in Belgium are quieting down after fearful excesses on the part of the strikers, or rather the bands of anarchists, convicts, social democrats, thieves and the scum of the populace who joined what were at first legal demonstrations and converted them into a saturnalia of riot, incendiarism and rapine.[167]

On 6 May, commenting on the US ‘labor riots’ preceding the Haymarket the Globe (Melb) gushed on ‘Happy Australia’: ‘It is for the Australian artisan to remember that through the ballot-box he controls the country.‘ The previous day it had reported a procession of Sydney unemployed to interview the Governor to bring attention to their desperate plight. Reports from other parts of the country indicate hundreds of unemployed prepared to labor ‘for almost nothing’.[168] The (Melbourne) Age of 17 May 1886 editorialised its support for a peaceful struggle to shorten the working day: ‘The attempt to organise an 8-hour system [in the US] is put down by volleys of musketry’.

Joseph Symes at The Liberator wrote:

Newspapers may write down the poor, soldiers may be called out to shoot the agitators, advanced or anarchic newspapers may be seized … what then? Their sufferings will add fuel to the fire and only hasten on the final victory.[169]

This Symes editorial appeared on the day of the first advertised Melbourne Anarchist Club meeting. A brief but accurate report of that meeting appeared in The Age,[170] provoking The (Melbourne) Herald to do an outrageous ‘beat-up’. It insisted that the Club’s aim was ‘to hoist a species of social “black flag”, order in a supply of red-caps and go on a rampage’.[171] Sensitive secularists immediately called on Symes to repudiate the Club. Ebullient and forward-looking when he arrived in Australia, he was giving way to periodic bouts of self-pity or self-glorification. He responded in his trademark bellicose language:

(The) name [Anarchist Club) is one of the grimmest jokes conceivable …Rather despotism…(Anarchy) means no rule at all, a dissolution of society.[172]

The publicity[173] was attracting visitors to the Club. They found basic meeting procedures were observed and a concern for decorum.[174] Efforts to reorient the ASA as in the northern hemisphere became a frenzied struggle for control of the Association, a struggle which continued after the Club moved to separate premises and began its own journal, Honesty.


Inside the MAC:

An Andrade letter to Symes appeared in The Radical after Symes refused it, claiming that during a last attempt to debate the issues in October 1887, he, Symes, had:

studiously avoided discussion of the subject before us [either fearing to commit yourself, or else feeling ignorant of it] and tried to draw me off…treating this most serious of all problems…of human relations…as though you were the clown in the pantomime.[175]

Speaking on Queen’s Wharf, a popular, Sunday soap-boxing venue, David Andrade began denouncing Symes as a greedy, self-seeking despot. He asserted that Symes had ‘tried to have the Melbourne Anarchists murdered as they were in Chicago’.[176] Symes, often at the same venue, argued that the anarchic section of the ASA was trying to ‘burst up’ the ASA in order to use the funds to buy dynamite. Sinnott, Symes’ sympathetic biographer, later used some of Upham’s words to justify the first claim but failed to substantiate the second. Upham had said in November 1887 that:

Secularism has outlived its usefulness. Our hope…[lies] in Anarchy which is based on rebellion against authority.[177]

The early propagandists of the MAC were unlikely dynamitards. They were all being influenced by Proudhon through the so-called ‘native American’ tendency set out in Tucker’s Liberty and Harman’s Lucifer. Honesty’s first editorial set out the paper’s aims and methods:

…And it will show how this evil institution [the State] can be peacefully and successfully eliminated … and how society can pursue a course of orderly prosperity without any Utopian reconstruction ….

Its first issues serialised Proudhon’s ‘Idea of a Revolution’ beginning with: ‘Reader, calm yourself: I am no agent of discord, no fire-brand of sedition.’ His revolution, of course, was to be ‘in human ideas’ which was also the substance of a Gregory paper to the Club in July 1887, ‘An Anarchist Bomb’. In January 1887, David Andrade spoke to the Club on the Chicago trials and sponsored a resolution to the Illinois State Governor deploring the results. The February 1888 editorial and a feature article strongly attacked the execution of four of ‘humanity’s truest friends’.[178]

Benjamin Tucker has been credited with having provided the first explicitly anarchist material to England[179] where the connection with the MAC and for the early years of the Sydney Australian Socialist League was not William Morris as Kenafick has suggested[180] and as O’Farrell[181] and Mansfield[182] have assumed, but Henry Seymour, secretary of the National Secular Society at Tunbridge Wells where he kept a Science Library.[183] Seymour’s path to anarchism through secularism brought him into conflict with Charles Bradlaugh, English Free Thought patriarch and MP, who, by September 1884, preferred to see the negative image of anti-authoritarianism.[184] Seymour published Bakunin’s God and the State, in 1883, the year Tucker completed its translation into English.[185] Tucker was erudite and open-handed but by 1892 he had settled on Proudhon as ‘the chief authority of our system’[186] and had set himself to translate Proudhon’s entire output. He produced engravings for sale at 50c of Proudhon and Bakunin, that of Proudhon being the only illustration in the first twelve issues of Honesty, the MAC newsletter.[187]

Tucker’s paper had been available in English secular reading rooms from 1881 and Seymour’s The Anarchist had followed the Bostonian in most predilections from its beginning in May 1885. The ‘English Anarchist Circle’ formed around his paper and produced the 1885 election manifesto which Andrade read out at the second Club meeting on 16 May 1886.[188] At that meeting, the first publicly advertised, Upham as chairperson read the Prospectus, then Elisee Reclus’ Futility o£ Voting. Andrade read an article ‘Might and Right’ from Liberty and J. McMillan read from Edmund Burke’s ‘The Inherent Evils of All State Governments’. In its first issue in April 1887, Honesty advertised books by Bakunin (‘Founder of Nihilism and apostle of anarchism’), Proudhon, Spencer and Tchernychewsky’s What is to Be Done? [189] Auberon Herbert, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Reclus also had titles mentioned. In 1888 when the paper was advertising Liberty, Lucifer, Freedom (London), The Anarchist, and Le Revolte (Paris), Tucker assessed that Melbourne was taking in excess of one-eighth of his ‘book and pamphlet patronage’.[190] This implies 1887 was a year of increased activity as only ‘a small quantity’ had been imported by the end of 1886.[191]

Tucker had synthesised those anti-government arguments which emphasised economics as both the realm of the chief impediments to liberty and liberty’s ‘first application’ if it was to be effective.[192] The four monopolies of land, credit, tariffs and of patent and copyrights were ‘productive of all the evils of society’. Abolition of compulsory taxation and of the four monopolies formed the two main themes of Tucker’s writing and that of his contributors over three decades.[193] However the composition and the priorities of this body of contributors changed as Tucker’s did.

Tucker’s emphases on individual liberty, economics and voluntary contracts also made up David Andrade’s intellectual core. He early on wrote that whereas he might differ with Tucker about capital and profit, he was ‘at one’ with the Bostonian on laws and government. As Tucker did, Andrade referred to his philosophy as individualism which is reflected in the Manifesto, below, and for a time both also saw their philosophy as ‘socialist’.[194] Tucker regarded the MAC, Australian anarchism and David Andrade as virtually synonymous. In advertising Honesty in Liberty Tucker wrote:

It is a sufficient description of Honesty’s principles to say that they are substantially the same as those championed by Liberty in America.[195]

Truth Seeker, a New York rationalist magazine said of Honesty’s writers that they were converts to the extreme individualistic views of Michael Bakunin and Herbert Spencer: ‘They are hot-headedly wrong like our loved friend Tucker but they are able’.[196] Among Honesty’s other earliest contributors, Donovan espoused natural rights, while moving through a minimal Statism to Tucker-Andrade anarchism,[197] and Brookhouse advocated enlightened self-interest. When Tucker flirted with the strongly individualist notions of German philosopher Max Stirner, Andrade and Upham followed him which meant that for a time they all defended the use of dynamite. For at least three years from 1881 Tucker had published indiscriminate admiration for those ‘who do not assent’[198] to oppression, in particular the Russian nihilists, and had justified their use of dynamite as self-defence. The Haymarket events forced a clarification. Now it was communism which was closest to violent rebellion:

The Chicago Communists have chosen the violent course and the result is to be fore­seen. Their predicament is due to a resort to methods that Liberty emphatically disapproves.[199]

He defended them against ‘the State’ since he believed them innocent. He defended the rights of Johann Most, who was being demonised as ‘the Voice of Terror’, and who Tucker described as ‘a quack’. But when Russian emigre to the US, Alexander Berkman, attempted to shoot steelworks manager Frick in 1892 Tucker wrote that ‘violence is the power of darkness’.[200] Just three weeks before the Haymarket explosion, in lecturing the others on the correctness of Herbert Spencer’s anti-State arguments David Andrade had argued that this English philosopher did not go far enough:

Social liberty can only be realised by granting individual liberty. And if it cannot be got by peaceable means, through the obstruction of physical force, physical force must be employed to secure it. Dynamite is one of the best friends of toiling humanity.[201]

He told the ASA:

Anarchy comes along and says to the stupid voters: ‘Wake up! … You have got a State tape-worm inside of you, and you are feeding that instead: take an emetic in the form of a healthy mental revolution; if it doesn’t act after a time, try a stronger dose – mix a little dynamite with it. … our political system is Christian to the core: it stinks of humility and slavery. But the new Terrorism overturns all that. Tyrannicide becomes a virtue and slavery a crime.[202]

Ironically, it was Andrade’s communist-anarchist opponents’ use two and a half years later of a more moderate form of this argument, after he had long abandoned it, which split the Club for the second time, this time irrevocably. Only the ‘Yankee’ Fred Upham openly expressed support for dynamite within the MAC prior to the explosion.[203] Very little is known about him. He delivered the first lecture on ‘Anarchism’ to the ASA in October 1885,[204] and was on hand to organise the Club’s first formal meeting in the ASA rooms on 1 May 1886.[205] With the brothers Andrade and three others, one of whom was recorded as ‘Miss Wigraf’, he there welcomed the Club’s Prospectus. It makes no mention of dynamite or any other form of violence:


To the People of Australasia

The Melbourne Anarchists’ Club extends its greetings to the liberty loving citizens of these young colonies and appeals to them to assist its members in their efforts to remove those public sentiments and public institutions, which have been transplanted here from the northern hemispheres, retard social progress and happiness; and to substitute in their place the enabling principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity!

The objects of the Melbourne Anarchists’ Club are:

To foster public interest in the great social questions of the day, by promoting inquiry in every possible way; to promote free public discussions of all social questions; and to circulate and publish literature, throwing light upon existing evils of society, and the methods necessary for their removal.

To foster and extend the principles of Self Reliance, Self Help and a Spirit of Independence amongst the people.

To uphold and maintain the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. By Liberty we mean ‘the equal liberty of each, limited alone by the equal liberty of all’. By Equality we mean ‘the equality of opportunity for each individual’. And by Fraternity we mean ‘that principle which denies national and class distinctions, asserts the Brotherhood of Man and says “The world is my country”‘.

To advocate, and seek to achieve, the abolition of all monopolies and despotisms which destroy the Freedom of the Individual and which thereby check social progress and prosperity.

To expose and oppose that colossal swindle, Government and to advocate Abstention from Voting, Resistance to Taxation, and Private Co-operation or Individual Action.

To foster Mutual Trust and Fraternity amongst the working people of all ranks, and to turn their attention to their common foes: the Priests and the Politicians, and their co-adjutors, attacking principles rather than individuals.

To invite the co-operation of all, who have realised the innate evils of our governing institutions, and desire their speedy dissolution for the general benefit of Humanity.

To promote the formation of voluntary institutions similar to the Melbourne Anarchist Club throughout Victoria and the neighbouring colonies, and, with their consent, to eventually unite with them forming the Australasian Association of Anarchists.[206]

David Andrade has claimed authorship of this Manifesto,[207] which is very similar to that published earlier in England by Seymour, and by the Australian Socialist League in Sydney the following year. The Sydney branch of the ASA in 1886 was already in danger of dying out from mutually destructive struggles with the Australian Free Thought Union and the Sunday Platform Group.[208] Nevertheless, a group of young enthusiasts was beginning to attract attention as journalists and travelling lecturers on subjects from secularism to Irish Home Rule. Will Andrade’s frustration with ‘weak-kneed Freethinkers’ and his calls for a Sydney Anarchist Club[209] bore unanticipated fruit when W.H. McNamara, (1857-1906) described as ‘an imposing figure’ and an accomplished orator ‘with dark hair and a large black beard’, met with six others on 4 May 1887 and began taking members.[210] One of these, Anderton, later reflected that this, first version of the Australian Socialist League (ASL) was established on ‘State-Socialistic’ principles. After a number of Sunday debates [211] attention was diverted to local loyalist attempts to emulate ‘the Jubilee insanity’ in London. Republican-focused protest meetings led to the hijacking of indoor, loyalist gatherings and to publicity about the issue.

Disruptive audiences at public meetings were certainly not unknown prior to 1887. Elections had been volatile gatherings for hundreds of years in Europe and stratagems had been exported around the world with the idea of public testing of candidates for office:

Intimidation was common at elections in England even under Charles 1 but this unsatisfactory state of affairs reached the most unconstitutional proportions under the administration of William Pitt when detachments of the army and navy surroundered the hustings and threatened those who were prepared to vote against the court candidate.[212]

An account of a poll at Brentford in Middlesex in December, 1768, detailed the tactics of Sir William Beauchamp Proctor who, finding himself losing to a friend of the agitator John Wilkes, unleashed gangs on the voting apparatus itself, inns and houses suspected of favoring his opponent, and by-standers. The terrified citizenry, fearful of what might happen next, eventually responded and drove ‘the rioters’ out of town. This ‘gentleman’ perhaps had memories of a time when sheriffs had complete control of elections and could do as they liked – or rather as they were paid to do by the highest-bidding candidate. Freeholders not prepared to vote as ‘requested’ were ‘disabled or disfranchised’. There were many creative ways of obtaining the desired outcome.

Corruption of the outcome of an open-air election meeting was easier to arrange than an organised protest meeting and, well into the 19th century, military intervention remained legally possible and politically-manageable. Shifts in suffrage rights and in education made the legality of military usage in civil dissension less obvious and less politically palatable. The Haymarket events spectacularly demonstrated how the United States had diverged from the ‘British’ model, still evolving. In Chicago, hired thugs, para-military such as the Pinkertons and the police  were marshalled on one side, that of the status-quo, the opposition relying what was called ‘moral suasion’, the claims of reason and morality. These proved fragile on their own and in need of legislative help, such as changes in death penalty provisions, and statutes regarding political rights. Public expressions of dissension proved popular when rendered into carnival-like parades and not amenable to military or police interference. This has remained the front line issue in the US. In ‘British’ colonies, the pace and kind of adjustment have had local dimensions. A ‘hired, drunken mob’ was noted in 9 Dec, 1852, preventing a second attempt by Tasmanian citizens to petition the Queen regarding the Convict Prevention Act. The first, equally-frustrated attempt had been ‘a mighty triumph of the people’ according to one journal while another could not ‘find the words to denounce the scoundrelism which could plot and accomplish such shameful scenes.[213] On 14 March 1871, ‘Victorian Industrial Protection League’ heard from a range of pro-tariff speakers lured by the GBP300 now available in Victoria for an MP. The solitary policeman on duty ignored pleas to arrest a disturber or his assailant who threw him bodily of the stage and prevented him from contributing.

In February, 1880, an editor supportive of the liberal, Victorian Berry government, under extreme pressure from an obstructionist Opposition, critically examined the threats of revolution which could follow if their (Tory) demands were not met:

The formidable element in times of civil commotion is the vagabond class…which can always be bought by the highest bidder, and which cares only to plunder the industrious and to defy its natural enemy, the police.[214]

This is the same scornful dismissal of ‘the little people’ Traill made about the Clontarf rabble. The writer has made the mistake of many theorists – to assume this ‘lumpen proletariat’ is always and only homogenous, in this case, immoral because ‘available to the highest bidder’. Elsewhere in this leader, the acceptable ‘mass’, the people, is exalted as the all-wise and all-moral:

(The Conservatives) can defeat manhood suffrage by stuffing the rolls, and         frustrate the result of elections by detaching Gaunsons and Orrs {tractable MPs]        one by one but they know that the plebiscite once established would make the will          of the people irresistible…’

The Opposition MPs were engaging in political violence by obstructing the work of the House:

            Had the Opposition filled the Assembly gallery every night with fifty or sixty             larrikins…to drown the voices of the Government speakers this point would have        been easily understood; but the more insidious and efficient employment of five           or six larrikins within the Assembly itself, who employed the forms of the House            as a cloak for incessant obstruction, does not in the least alter the…case.

Henry Parkes was an old hand by November, 1880 when he campaigned against payment of members and Sunday opening of museums and libraries. One particular meeting was noisy but without any organised disturbances and he closed it down when he was ready to leave. A shift in the information war was evident when the Clontarf picnic of December, 1880, was publicised in the Bulletin, since it meant ‘investigative journalism’ was sufficiently popular to prevent its practitioners being suppressed as before. Little else changed with regard to the disposition of ‘the people’. Local government matters, to wit, tramways in Oxford Street, Sydney, were decided by a ‘howling mob’ preventing a ‘floor resolution’ in May 1881. Parkes, outside a meeting in March, 1883, claimed he was there out of curiosity, an assertion which didn’t prevent his cab being spontaneously set upon by the less-respectable, including some Irish ‘hooters’ and ‘surgers.’ His solicitor insisted that what had happened ‘was no more than took place at any political meeting.’ Elsewhere, McNamara was arrested for ‘creating a disturbance’ in resisting the assaults of a crowd objecting to his selling Liberators in a public park.[215]

‘Larrikins’ were emerging, however, as a distinct force which could extract quid-pro-quos, as in June 1883 when they acted as ‘cockatoos’ for a Sydney-city publican flouting drink laws. No longer ‘little people’, or just ‘the people’, they had toughened up and, it would seem grown in height and fitness. In Brisbane, in August, ancient eggs and blue metal were the preferred missiles of ‘a mob of rowdies’ preventing a candidate being heard and pursuing his supporters afterwards. In Maryborough, December 1885, members of ‘the Skeleton Army’ harassing the Salvation Army processionists wore green colours ‘round their hats and coat sleeves’, indicative of a shared, if hired allegiance.[216] In Adelaide ‘a small mob of larrikins’ molested ‘free labourers’ loading coal during a strike in October, 1887.

June 1887 may mark the date from which the hiring of disruptors became acceptable within ‘the movement’ in Sydney, at least.[217] Known now as ‘the Republican riot/s’, meetings that month were called by local loyalists to determine the format of celebrations for Queen Victoria. The events were taken over by ‘a mob’ variously labelled ‘evil’, ‘a threat to British civilisation’, mindless larrikins, and a prepared and well-drilled collection of secularists and socialists. Admission tickets were forged to ensure numerous disturbers were present and some disturbers acted in unison to signs from a ‘prominent (but un-named) Trades and Labour delegate.’ Premier Parkes and a bevy of Sydney worthies twice lost out to ‘Tommy’ Walker (from Melbourne), Louisa Lawson and JD Fitzgerald, and succeeded only when they countered with a force of police, and Artillery and Naval Brigade members sufficient to win the fist fights.

Walker was already on the parliamentary road, having been elected on a ‘democratic’ platform in February, 1887 by Northumberland coal miners prepared to pay him a stipend. A second series of meetings produced a more resilient ASL which McNamara, Black and Walker announced on 26 August 1887.[218] Commentators[219] have rarely noticed that the first manifesto of the ASL, produced by the re-formed ASL, the initial draft of which Anderton attributes to Potter and McNamara,[220] has three paragraphs out of seven word-identical with those of the MAC’S prospectus and only the differences in one paragraph out of seven are substantial. Both Andrades, of course, welcomed this League and the boycott by Sydney secularists of the Liberator.[221] The October, 1887 issue of Honesty showed where reactions to the Haymarket had brought them. Reporting the ‘disastrous’ end to a New South Wales shearers’ strike to which truculent squatters had responded with fines, jailings and threats of conspiracy charges, the editor’s only constructive suggestion was that ‘the law’, clearly on the side of the anti-shearer forces, ‘must be opposed’.[222]

The growing audience for ‘socialism’ was dividing into camps more recognisable as ‘State-Socialist’ and a decentralised form, vaguely ‘communist anarchist’. The non-hierarchical, non-centralised variant was initially the majority preference because ‘the State’ was generally not a popular concept. Individualist and economics-oriented anarchists very reluctantly gave up the label ‘socialist’ yet there is great similarity between their idea of the labourer owning his or her labour product, the communist-anarchist idea that ‘all means of production of wealth’ must be treated as ‘the common property of all’ and that of the worker receiving ‘the full value of [his/her] labor’.[223] The first is concerned with power of decision making over one’s creation and the latter is concerned with equity and fairness. Yet they contain the same seed. Extending this argument further, it becomes apparent that both the mutualist and the communist-anarchist prescription contain an econometric and a decision making aspect, either of which can be emphasized over the other. This janus-face was to prove the undoing of William Lane and the New Australia project later.

JA ‘Jack’ Andrews[224] is the most important member of the group which moved through the Melbourne Anarchist Club. His was a wide-ranging imagination and a strong intellect; he was a gifted theoretician, poet, inventor and historian and he has left a lot of material on which he can be judged. Unfortunately, in addition to having used pseudonyms, much of his material has been scattered and lost, or was published in very low budget papers and is difficult to obtain. Like Symes and Fleming, he grew up a rather sickly and protected child who developed introspective and intellectual ways to cope with a world which tormented him, in his case, firstly as a youth at Kew (Melbourne) State School and then in the Victorian Public Service, which he joined at 17 in 1882.[225] He later described himself as having been an ambitious young man, working on various literary projects simultaneously while in a Young Men’s Literary Society,[226] which included William Astley (‘Price Warung’). He has said that he joined the MAC in 1886 but his first recorded appearance is 2 January 1887. He apparently took over from a Mr Blake, as secretary of the Co-operative Printing Company for a few weeks around May 1887, an event sufficient to get his name on the second and third issues of Honesty. He then went to Dunolly, rural Victoria, for a period of employment with a solicitor, May 1887 to May 1888, during which his health improved and his allegedly bad stutter diminished.

The Radical newspaper, later the Australian Radical,[227]  began to appear while he was out of town. From March 1887, it was set up at Hamilton, near Newcastle, NSW, and moved rapidly to a Tucker-aligned anarchist position under urging from Andrade. WR Winspear, its proprietor was secretary of the Newcastle ASA when he married Alice Drake,[228] and receiving a legacy shortly thereafter he decided to get ‘a socialist’ paper going.[229] Sydney’s ASL members discovered it in September, 1887, and perceiving it as a channel for socialism/anarchism,[230] they adopted it as ‘our little organ’.[231] George Black, later one of the Labour’s first MPs, wrote in The Radical in November, 1888, that ‘Freedom, love and truth must be the moving principles of every dweller in an anarchical community’.[232] Correspondence shows rapidly expanding sales to supporters in Adelaide, Melbourne, NSW country towns, and Brisbane. While healthy given the era and the difficulties, supporters at its peak would not have topped one thousand, however.

When, in May, 1888, Andrews returned to Melbourne he found the mutualists heatedly arguing among themselves about the best method of measuring labor time and labor products to ensure equity and independence, and with the ASL over definitions. He later said the arguments made him realise he had to reassess his own views. His response when it came precipitated more debates, quite a lot of which was on violence, as tactic or as an inevitable stage of domestic radical change. These debates helped define the already gestating Labor Party.

McNamara, in responding to an 1888 Tucker attack on him as a State-Socialist and plagiarist claimed the ASL to be more libertarian than the Boston anarchists who after all were ‘devotees of unbridled free-enterprise’. He said the ASL advocated:

the abolition of all imposed authority, State or otherwise, and the full liberty of the individual. We advocate harmony and universal co-operation. We call this our system: modern or scientific socialism. We repudiate once and for all ‘State Socialists’ because we deny all State power and authority.[233]

McNamara wanted to deny that this position, which he often called ‘free communism’, was anarchist, while Winspear, Andrade and others wanted to refer to their position as ‘evolutionary socialism’:

Unlike the state socialists, the modern or scientific socialist endeavours to wean the people from coercion and authority.

Winspear wrote in June, 1888:

While State Socialists, whether land nationalists, protectionists or [other] are working to build up the authority of the state the modern socialist is doing his best to decentralise the authority of the state and increase the liberty of every member of authority’.[234]

On 3 June 1888 the MAC heard Upham on ‘The Anarchism of Prince Kropotkin’. He used recent articles in the Nineteenth Century journal,[235] which emphasized the need for voluntary communes to protect people against the war and ‘terrible in­equalities’ attendant upon ‘the increased powers of production in recent years’.[236] The first response by Kaufmann on the question of aggression and human nature took Robert Beattie and Peter McNaught away from Kropotkin. David Andrade intervened to bring the discussion ‘back to the point’ by reading a speech on ‘Communist-Anarchism’ delivered on 15 March that year by Kropotkin, wherein:

an uprising of the masses and forcible expropriation of the present proprietors was advocated; houses, machinery, food, clothing, etc were to be seized by the people, divided amongst themselves and a Commune proclaimed.

The complexities of the Proudhon-Tucker-Andrade lines of theory were provoking its audience to look for more immediately practical ways forward. While admiring Kropotkin as a destroyer, Andrade said he had no sympathy with his methods which would destroy individuality, cause the innocent to suffer and leave the labor problem practically unsolved. Larry Petrie was sorry to hear Kropotkin opposed. In this country it may be possible to effect a revolution on individualistic lines, but he considered that in Europe forcible expropriation will be necessary. Newberry and Upham both supported expropriation, the latter in particular showing his conversion to what he called voluntary communism, a label used earlier by Beattie.[237] In the following week’s meeting Petrie introduced ‘Anarchy and the Coming Revolution’.[238] He spent some time summarising indicators of the European movement towards socialism and concluded: ‘All these things point to revolution … and meanwhile we must not waste time saying how we will destroy governments, but always keep fraternity in view’. Donovan agreed that ‘the present discontent is more widespread’ than ever before and hoped that in revolution ‘we may stop shop of the all-pervading tyranny of State-Socialism’. Andrews urged education of the people ‘by precept and example’ which Beattie supported:

Moral suasion and example are the best weapons…force should never be  resorted to if possible.

Fryer asked if it was not inconsistent for anarchists to want a new organisation like ‘the Co-operation’, just then being mooted by the Andradeans, when they wanted to abolish the State. Newberry pointed out that the Melbourne Co-operation No. 1 was a step to ‘practical anarchy’. Anarchists, he said, were striving to substitute a voluntary system in place of the present system of force: ‘If force would more certainly achieve the end, he should advocate it’.

Debates of socialist theory had not ceased, they had escaped the confines of the ASA and the MAC and reached the CBD. In a long item, probably its first about anarchism, Sydney’s The Bulletin of 24 March 1888 berated the Sydney Morning Herald – ‘this fossilised organ of middle-class ignorance’ – for its review of Liberty and Law. This was a book by George Lacey, ‘not long ago a resident of Sydney,…honorary secretary of the Liberal Association of New South Wales’ and ‘editor of a local journal called The Liberal’. The Bulletin reviewer resented Lacey’s attempted ‘refutation of the individualism of Herbert Spencer’ in the mistaken belief that ‘Spencer is a doughty champion of the Property and Defence League and is being attacked by a totally new brand of socialist’. The Bulletin writer thought Spencer, ‘like all men of brains’ who consider ‘the problem of existence and attempt to gauge the position of man in his relation to the cosmos from the standpoint of natural science’, was a ‘Socialist, (but) a far more scientific and thorough-going Socialist than Mr Lacey’. The writer pointed out Lacey’s plagiarism of Gronlund’s Co-operative Commonwealth and works by Hyndman, Nordau and Spencer himself. Lacey had attacked Spencer’s belief that ‘everyone has freedom to do all he wills, provided he infringes not the like freedom of every other man’. The Bulletin pointed out to the SMH that it could ‘hardly desire a more socialistic utterance’ than this and went on to repudiate the correlation by the Herald of socialism with anarchism, there taken to be violent revolution. This is the point of the whole exercise for both papers. Lacey had attacked Spencer because, he claimed, ‘individualism leads directly to nihilism’, ie anarchism, ie physical violence. Spencer was defended by the SMH so that the correlation of socialism, i.e. community control, with nihilism could be made, and The Bulletin attacked both for confusing an issue it said was perfectly clear – socialist writers had clearly represented anarchism as the very antithesis of socialism.

Elsewhere, a sixty-nine page booklet produced in Melbourne, in 1888, and sub-titled ‘The Dance of Death in the Gaol Yard – The Final Act in the Greatest Tragedy of the Age’, hysterically misrepresented the Haymarket events, with total blame being put on those hanged or jailed.[239] A letter headed ‘Land For The People’ to the private-owned, ie, not a union paper, Shearer’s Record in April 1888 began:

Sir: In reference to the above heading I hurry up to state that I am not an Anarchist, Communist or Nihilist, as some of your readers may imagine to be the case…

Readers of the Melbourne Daily Telegraph were having their education continued in such editorials as that for 15 October 1888 which referred to ‘the torrent of anarchical democracy … lately let loose upon England undermining and must ultimately destroy that fabric of military and naval strength upon which our stability as a nation rests’. Bulletin-style trivialisation didn’t help. Cartoons such as the ‘Winetard’ – an alternative to the dynamitard[240] – ‘Death the Old Anarchist’, full-page by Phil May, and a smaller ‘the Anarchist’ in the same issue,[241] confused the issues. The Reverend Charles Strong showed a keener ear. The December 1888 issue of his newsletter[242] quoted at length from Kropotkin’s ‘Industrial Village of the Future’, while the March issue for 1889 both commented favorably on a letter from ‘JA Andrews’ claiming that he and Christ were both nihilists, [243] and favorably reviewed Tolstoy’s anarchism.                      The MAC had moved to a ‘Co-Operative Home’ in Albert Park, Melbourne in July 1888. In November 1888 Andrews explained the meaning of a label he often applied to himself, ‘nihilist’ – not in the sense of wanting to level everything as the papers and the privileged would have it, but in the sense of doing away with existent institutions; conceptually denying them not physically destroying them.[244] As the conflict heated the Club’s atmosphere Petrie in December delivered a paper on the important topic of equity. Andrews reported that Petrie:

introduced the moot points between ‘individualist’ and communist sections. An earnest and useful debate following, in which the matter at issue was reduced to whether a man producing for the simple sake of satisfying his activity, is justified in acquiring thereby a monopoly of the raw material, affected by his labor, which he does not require to      consume or use. Mr Andrade maintained that the fact of labor gave him that right absolutely whilst with the exception of Mr McNaught [may be either Peter or John] the other speakers unanimously held that having produced gives no title outside of the liberty to use, and that if that liberty is not exerted, the matter should be as available as any other untouched resources to all comers.[245]

In January, 1889, Andrews noted the bitterness of the last confrontation within the Club between the two anarchist tendencies. He opened a debate on ‘Revolution’ by arguing that:

(All)evolution not accompanied by the forcible reclamation and defence of liberty, so long as that was being encroached upon, must be in the direction of loss, and of the development of a master-race and a slave-race. (The speaker) quoted statistics partly worked out by La Revolte and partly by himself showing that at least 10,000 lives are lost every day solely by the pressure of the existing system and tending to prove that should a revolution … be even as bloody as any war has been, it would be a direct saving of life. Violence against persons was of no use; the idea of the Revolution would be the seizure and maintenance of free access of all things necessary to liberty; still that could not be expected to pass without fighting…

Comrades White, Petrie and Rosa strongly supported the paper as also did Comrade Fleming subject to the proviso that there should be no rash loss of life or wasted force, while Comrade McNaught (was) more cautious because he feared that the effect of warfare would be to degrade the reform party…Violent opposition was made to the revolutionary doctrine by Mr Andrade who said that the ‘blood­thirsty Communist-Anarchists’ wanted ‘perpetual massacre’.[246]

The willingness of communist-anarchists to speak of the reality of civil conflict was being turned by Andrade into advocacy of the thing they specifically wished to avoid. Andrews and those who sided with him had walked out of the co-operative house in November, 1888, now they left the Club altogether.[247] The thirteenth and last issue of Honesty appeared in February 1889. During 1889 Andrews and Winspear spelled out in The Australian Radical their respective views on ‘Revolution and Physical Force’. Andrews had asked Winspear to debate him on the subject and Winspear, in a rather fine essay, supported the gradual education of the masses to a need for change at which time the old order would collapse and be replaced. He argued that a physical force revolution was as likely to extend tyranny as end it:

… on the morrow of the revolution we would want to go peacefully to work and would desire to live in liberty and equality, without government or authority, but it is safe to say that new governments would be formed and new standards erected and robbery and inequality would commence afresh, from the simple fact that mankind do not yet possess a knowledge of the evils to be wiped out …We wish to make men free, and the method we adopt is punishment. We say that government has encroached too much, yet we call into existence a machinery which enforces its will with ten times the rigor that it did. Before proceeding further we may well ask whether we must enslave ourselves to make us free? and whether a display of terror is the readiest mode for making men wiser, fearless, equitable and independent?[248]

Andrews, in response, doesn’t answer these claims directly, rather he argues that within the revolutionary ferment there would be a great germination of discussion and blossoming of ideas. He quoted Kropotkin to show that just prior to the 1789 French Revolution, the peasants and bourgeoisie showed few signs of unrest, then again to support by implication the paralleling of his ideas with Winspear’s that the use of force in an unprepared situation would be counter-productive, that education should proceed until there has been more infiltration of the masses by the ideas. He qualified this by suggesting that ‘the masses’ are more likely to go along with someone whose actions they know and trust rather than someone who is known only from his or her talk. His view of revolution was crucially different to Winspear’s. It was:

…the refusal to pay rent, the resistance to eviction, the persistent entry upon lands, upon factories, machines, magazines, the reiterated practice of working and keeping the whole produce,     of leaving employment and not leaving work or the workshop.

Although Andrews said that ‘sometimes no force would be necessary’ to carry out these measures, Winspear saw his views as anti-people and as disregarding the evidence of evolution which shows people to be progressing through the use of intellect to a more civilised state. He agreed that few other people seemed to accept this idea, though this may be because as individuals must fight in their own way against government we may not hear of these separate initiatives.[249] Andrews agreed that the exploiters might fade away without the need for a pitched conflict, but in that situation fear was being used as a weapon by the majority and cannot be any more or less brutalising than actual violence. He asserted that this was the present situation:

… it is these same ‘peaceful’ measures adopted by our oppressors from which we suffer far more than from their direct use of arms, because if they were not in reserve the ‘peaceful’ measures would be ineffectual…Certainly the propaganda to which we attach the greatest importance will greatly diminish the extent and the severity of the struggle…The Revolution is no war in the common interpretation of the term…We know very well that if it simply rested with us we could not create it …It is more than cosmopolitan – it is a cosmical movement of which we are not the motive power but the index. We are not the wind moving the straw, we are the straw moved by the wind, and behind us is the hurricane in its  fury.[250]

With Fleming at the Richmond Young Mens’ Society[251] Andrews responded to ‘Mr Harvie’s’ paper condemning the Chicago anarchists as ‘socialist bombers’, and made what appear to be informed remarks:

If our comrades … were such experts in explosives as we are told, they would not have used a fuse-bomb, which is both dangerous to the thrower and unreliable altogether, but a percussion bomb. If, as urged, they had wanted to provoke a conflict with the police, they would not have thrown a bomb at all, which unless the majority of the enormous crowd were perfectly aware it was going to be thrown, would have stupefied and disorganised them even more than the police, and thus spoilt their own ends…[252]

The economic depression, unconcerned whether reformers resolved their differences or had sufficient resources even to meet regularly, further sharpened attitudes and made peaceful amelioration of hunger more difficult. Soap-box oratory was an alternative to an in-house journal. There were also other peoples’ meetings and magazines. At a later meeting when he spoke on the 1871 Commune in Paris he was partially supported by one W.A. Holman,(1871-1934)yet another new arrival from England, who later was Premier of NSW.[253] Andrews later said he was now into the hardest time of his life, often going without any food at all for up to four days. To save money he slept in parks, in water tanks, in doss houses, or walked the night streets. He foraged for wild food on the river bank strengthening his theories of self-sufficiency. His total income was derived from Radical sales which activity and that of unemployed agitation earned him constant police harassment[254] especially during the winter of 1889 when ‘his’ group fully expected riots and possibly bloodshed. The communist-anarchists had begun meeting as a Melbourne ASL from 12 March 1889 with Andrews as ‘secretary’. He was already seeing the local police as capable of the same perfidy as their Chicago brethren, and capable of employing spies and working up fake bomb scares. Meeting at the Golden Fleece hotel in Russell Street ‘his’ group was disrupted by police interventions whereupon they met outside. The group suffered further losses when a Knights of Labor Assembly, a Land Nationalisation and a Single-Tax group appeared.[255]

‘Sam’ Rosa, Dr Maloney and WD Flinn changed its constitution in July 1889 to turn it into a Social Democratic League. Dr Maloney later served in the Victorian Parliament. Samuel Albert Rosa, 1866-1940, had arrived in Melbourne in 1888 and gravitated quickly to radical circles. He was probably native-born but claimed to have been an executive member of the Social Democratic Federation in London at age 18, and in 1886 to have been working as a free-lance journalist in the USA where he joined both the Socialist Labor League and the Knights of Labor.[256] Despite their lack of resources, Fleming and White remained stalwarts of the Melbourne unemployed struggle well into the 1900s. Their approach was simple and direct – castigate the capitalist ‘robbers’ and demand the government underwrite expansion of the labor market. They cajoled and lectured, led march after march on Parliament House and assisted deputation after deputation to lobby politicians. In January 1889, Winspear recorded Fleming jailed again for seven days for merely speaking on Queens Wharf.[257] The Liberator of the same date has a letter from Fleming with a firsthand account of the Harbour Trust’s attempts to close the wharf with assistance from the police. Varley, another agitator, was speaking to 4-500 people when a bale of hay, often used for seats or platforms on the wharf, was set on fire, possibly by locals described as ‘roughs’. Fleming got up to support his friend whereupon he was punched and jostled off the wharf on to the roadway. He eventually retaliated, the crowd cheered, and only then the police asked ‘the roughs’ to desist.[258]

The rhetorical boundaries between ‘a push’ or street gang, an organised trade society and individual unemployed in practice were now clearly fluid, and a member of any one of them was a potential mercenary when ‘muscle’ was required. Often dismissed as mindless thugs or ‘out-for-a-lark’ larrikins, these ‘roughs’ could be hired, and achieve power, money and influence by making their fighting skills available. They could also attach themselves to a cause because they believed in it, or thought they would be aided by it. Information on gang members acting politically or being used by politicians is sketchy but the insights to be had, lead to the conclusion that these street fighters were, for a period, a crucial part of day-to-day politics.

Involvement of push members in day-to-day politics had been made more likely by the more-or-less professionalisation of bare-knuckle boxing in the 19th century. Promoters and special favorites had deep access into political, criminal and wealth creation circles as they do today. Akin to today’s football fans, a primary push allegiance could be to a team, an area or a faith, a political party, or a single personality. After that was satisfied, gang members responded to a variety of temptations. Even those easily identified as ‘push members’ by their clothes or by police reports, might be professional criminals, excitable adolescents, idlers, irregularly employed or fully employed artisans, even unionists. In Sydney, ‘Sandy’ Ross led an Orange (Protestant) Push. Larry Foley (1849-1917)[259]  has been celebrated as the ‘Father of Australian Boxing’ but he led an equivalent Catholic gang, the ‘Greens’, into vicious battles for turf dominance and thus control of the profits of crime specific to his locale. Other gangs were designated, as they are today, by geography or cultural artefacts – such as, in Sydney, ‘the Miller’s Point Push’, ‘the Straw Hat Push’, ‘the Forty Thieves’ from Surry Hills and ‘the Gipp Street Mob’. The jostle between them was constant and gangs rose and fell in status but one could remain on top for an extended period. The well-known boxer, ‘Griffo’, was celebrated as ‘The King of the Rocks’ because he was push leader when the Rocks Push dominated its area close to Circular Quay wharves from the 1870s to the end of the 1890s.[260] Born Albert Griffiths (1871-1927), he sold newspapers and learned to fight well enough to become World Champion in the Lightweight Division in New York in 1895. Some gangs fought when and where required for whoever was paying – ‘although protected by bruisers, (John Norton) was apt to resort to physical violence.’[261] In this Melbourne 1889 case, ‘roughs’ acting under police instruction were opposed to a number in the crowd that Andrews claimed were prepared ‘for sterner business’ implying a degree of organisation. ‘Defy the police’ was the watchword ‘but extreme order was maintained’.        A respectable but supine path available to the desperate who were not organised was to ask the government for work.[262] Community charity was often insufficient to prevent a slow wasting turning into quick self-murder. Up to four bodies a day were being found in the Yarra, often with a pawn ticket their only possession. Beattie ironically suggested the poorest get together as a ‘Suicidal Saviours Association’. Every midnight members could cast lots, the unlucky member to force himself or herself into the ‘odouriferous mud’ of the river, his or her nearest relative or friend would then ‘have the privilege of finding the body’ and thus be entitled to ten shillings, and five other members might be employed as jurors at the inquest, and get paid four shillings each.[263]

Late in June 1889 Andrews reported that he was shifting his Sunday soapboxing to Studley Park [suburban Melbourne] and requested assistance from others.[264] In August he considered that:

The number of persons reached by some form of socialist propaganda      in    Melbourne is certainly not less than 3000 weekly … The party of       Anarchy is       become too large to form a circle of acquaintances under any condition.[265]

Although prepared to stand alongside Symes on behalf of freedom of speech[266] ‘Chummy’ eventually realised that the approach of the Liberator’s editor was to brow-beat ‘Thomas Workman’ about self-help. Andrade’s approach to ‘the labor question’ was equally unhelpful. Reporting a meeting of 700 unemployed he wrote:

(Much) to their discredit they did nothing beyond complaining of the tauntan MP had given them, and resolving to ask the government to nationalise the land (poor deluded people)…their lack of employment is not to be wondered at, when they show such pitiable ignorance of the cause of their misery.[267]

Andrade was trying to keep the MAC going. At least two Club meetings were held in 1889 at the ‘Co­operative Home’. A Reunion on 9 July, 1890 attracted his brother back from Sydney, a man called ‘Rose’[268], Anstey another future MP, Newberry, McMillan, Fleming and Goodlet. Meetings were thence held fortnightly at the Temperance Hall until 4 December 1890.[269] Andrade then established a newsagency and printery in Sydney Road, Brunswick and it is probable that an affiliated group met there until sometime in 1892 when he established ‘Liberty Hall’ in Russell Street, Melbourne. This was no more successful and he moved his family to country Gippsland in 1894 where he became the local postman and attempted self-sufficient living.

Arguments in the Sydney ASL over education were separating supporters of the freedom to allow students to decide what they preferred (Winspear, William Andrade) from those who saw a need to provide opportunities for all through co-operative action (McNamara, and others). Some of the ‘free communists’ were drifting towards accepting parliamentary reform as the way to ensure community programs. What bothered these collectivists in the ASL was not the association of force with anarchism – though they recognised its strength[270] – but the charge of individualism. In his editorial in the 17 August 1889 issue, Winspear showed where his thoughts had led him by anticipating an article from him which would:

be a direct challenge to those who do not believe in individual liberty, laissez-faire, free land, free labor and unrestricted competition.

Before it appeared, McNamara moved to have the Sydney ASL sever connections with an editor considered to be ‘advocating all that real socialists fight tooth and nail against’. It is not clear how the ASL reached this decision or whether there was any dissension. Winspear preferred to print ‘Jack’ Andrew’s ‘long effusions’ from Melbourne rather than those of Sydney members Yewen, or Weber, or even ASL meeting reports.[271] The Radical, never a profitable enterprise, limped on without the ASL till April 1890. When he could not even feed his family, Winspear tried burglary, was arrested and jailed. Bereft then, even of an erstwhile bread-winner, Alice suicided, abandoning their children to welfare. The ASL was unable to put into effect plans for a newspaper of its own.





Theory Meets Practice:


During a three month coalminers’ strike in 1888, police alleged that when ‘new labour’ was brought to a pit-head near Newcastle in September the miners became violent. The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) demanded that strong measures be used against ‘the rioters’ while Sydney’s Daily Telegraph needed seven headlines above its report to reflect the gravity of the situation.[272] In a flash, it seemed, troops were rushed to Newcastle on the overnight steamer armed to the teeth and ready for any confrontation. A Bulletin report was initially dismissive. It spoke of ‘a small disturbance’, told how the government[273] had expressed alarm and despatched twenty-four ‘high military officers’ and privates who found on arrival with ‘an expensive cannon and other panoply of glorious war’ that the belligerents had ‘gone home to tea’. On 20 October, however, amid continued Establishment drum-beating over ‘rioting miners’, The Bulletin suddenly announced:

The Revolt Has Begun

Were it not so what need of the… military preparations on behalf of Capital? What need of Nordenfeldts and armies if it were not recognised that this strike differed from the rest in proclaiming war, not against individuals but against a System?

What had changed in a month? Noisy headlines about the Haymarket explosion had been running for two years, so why was this Sydney paper talking up ‘war…against a system’ now? The Bulletin seemed to have vital, new information, going on to say:‘…And already the workers are steadily, silently making their preparations…’ What secrets did the writer know? Who had he been talking to? Well, perhaps no-one. There is a whiff of bombast in the rest of this sentence:

…to nullify all these schemes of oppression and possess themselves, once and for all peaceably, if it be possible, but by any means and at any cost, of the full heritage of men. [My emphasis]

Vain glorious rhetoric – whipping up contempt for the authorities by trivializing them and by inflating the workers’ strength and the nobility of their cause – could not assist strikers, at Northumberland or anywhere else. Its mirror opposite, the rhetoric of the Establishment papers, could not assist the forces of law and order to achieve their goals. In both cases, the language has other goals. Sometimes honestly held, the excited words could be aimed at rallying support in a crisis, or they could show an editor’s belief that ‘his’ readership considered that there was a crisis, ie, it was a marketing strategy to massage the paper’s readership. Lastly, the words could be an electric button-hole used by ‘spouters’ – showmen, snake oil salesmen, aspirant politicians – to attract attention. Yet, there was sometimes genuine passion about real issues and, at times, there was real blood in the street.

The Australian Star, a paper factionally-aligned with the parliamentary opposition, the Protectionists, joined the conversation with a qualified insistence ‘that any use of the Nordenfeldt, indeed any shooting of a striker’, could have resulted in the ‘vast majority of working men (flying) to arms’.[274] On what basis was this assertion made? It appears to be pandering to both sides simply for commercial gain by building a sense of excitement without showing commitment to either. The paper had a stake in the sensational, and heightened the tension by suggesting the outcome of any armed conflict could not be predicted. Did the editor really think civil war was possible, that the government might have fallen, that society might collapse in turmoil? It made no suggestions about how citizens might prepare for such outcomes. It is, in hindsight, a ‘ho-hum’ statement – ‘this is all very predictable’, ‘capital and the workers are at it again’, ‘we’ll get excited because readers are excited but really nothing will change, and soon we’ll be back to normal’.

Ellis described this 1888 strike as ‘the greatest coal strike in history’ but since he was writing the Company’s history he did not mention the military. John Turner, locally-based, academic historian, concentrated in his account on national economics and did not mention the military either. A local history, Story of Lambton does not even refer to the strike though it has a lot to say about the miners. Another enthusiastic and researcher quoted the letter-books of a key mine manager, even nominated the numbers of the letters which ‘contain references to arrangements police and military made’ but does not himself go into those ‘references.’ All of this neglect is despite the existence, beside the letter books, an easily available, detailed chronology of the struggles to unionise in the Newcastle District up to 1911, painstakingly assembled in longhand by an untrained union official in 1953-4.[275]

A recent biography of Parkes is a spectacular example of the continuing deplorable state of Australian history writing. Partisan to an absurd degree, poorly researched and cliche-ridden, it has a total of two sentences on the 1888 event:

In September, disorder in Newcastle, which was rent by a miners’ strike, saw    Parkes dispatch volunteer corps troops to the city. To his embarrassment,    the troops took a Gatling gun with them, and his opponents expressed    horror    that the Premier would even contemplate using a machine gun against his own    citizens.[276]

The introduction of machine guns into imperial wars against ‘the primitive/noble savage’ was notable enough, their introduction into civil conflicts in eastern Australia surely rigorous examination. Parkes has been quoted as saying he wanted to spit upon the Northumberland miners because they showed him insufficient regard but one has to assume there was more to this situation than personal pique. A recent essayist has blamed ‘Anzac’s long shadow’ for a lack of attention to such matters, arguing that cliched commemoration of a mythologised campaign has obscured the importance of defence strategies and the educational possibilities of war.[277] I believe the treatment since 1915 of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli is better seen as a result, not as a cause. The question is why so little interest in understanding or explaining the past, with violence and/or war two particular areas of neglect. Just in regard to the above incident, the contemporary and later accounts are just as cliched as those articulated each year at Anzac services, and of use only to partisans of the mythical entities, the ‘working class’ and ‘the Establishment’.

Between Bourke-street and Little Bourke-street there were lanes arranged in a    kind of grid pattern… Many of these never appeared…on any map of the city…

This review is not intending to work through the decade’s multiple incidents or the opinions expressed about them to attempt some sort of accounting of relative legality, viciousness, or morality.

…In some cases they were merely passages left by the property owners        to enable the nightmen to have access to the earth closets…

It is concerned with the real muscle buried under the generalisations of pale history.

..Yet, here and there along these, spaces had been found for the erection of some    tiny hovel, in which people dwelt,…

There are willful, pulsating, risk-taking, vacillating and secretive people at work creating the 1880’s and ‘90’s extremes of poverty, ruthless injustice and un-realised possibilities.

…so that they were in a     manner, main thoroughfares…what might be called            secret passages…

A conflict akin to the frontier war being waged against the indigenes, was being waged on urbanised and settled fronts, but in both cases, the gun slingers and the desperadoes, the zealots, demagogues and the lying schemers have been twice rubbed out.

…These bye-ways were as foul as it is possible to conceive of…[278]

They have been erased by the toxic charms of respectability, and by the soft, pasty hands of historians who’ve turned away from the reality to produce pap. In the case at hand, behind the mythologies and the cliches lurk valid questions, including: Were the troops acting under Parkes’ authority? If not, whose? Was the Riot Act not read because the main body of troops, apparently Permanent Artillery, was neither volunteer militia nor police? Was this sortie led by the State’s de facto ranking officer, Colonel CF Roberts, because ‘someone’ wanted the action tightly disciplined and no shots fired? What would have been the benefits and/or the losses if miners had been shot, or the troops scattered by a serious, large-scale protest? Were they as expendable as the natives?

An accurate summation of the much-publicised confrontation in September at Adamstown/New Lambton is that 150 Permanent Artillery officers and men with 86 more troopers from the nearby Fort Scratchley marched to Newcastle Station to board a train which had a Nordenfeldt machine gun mounted on a flat truck in front of the engine. All troops carried carbines and sword bayonets, and there was a further force of 76 local police on hand at the pit-head when they arrived.[279] Records show that there were a number of similar episodes across the three months of this one strike, and that the involvement of this amount and kind of weaponry was not new. Heavy weapon intervention in civil disturbances has a much more varied history than anyone yet knows but in 1879 at least angry Northumberland miners had found themselves negotiating with ‘the panoply of glorious war.’ Henry Parkes was Premier on that occasion, also. [See my They Called Each Other Brother for some of his secret history.]

The letter-books of JY Neilson, Manager of the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company mines enable a look behind the cliched accounts of the 1888 conflict.[280] His weekly reports to the Directors and additional letters to the Company Secretary, Binney, provide a running commentary on the impending collision of forces, and, importantly, its timing, not by Parkes, but by players more locally placed, especially Neilson himself.    His letters show a canny, pragmatic man who dragged himself out of the ranks of underground miners to a position where he could describe the community providing his livelihood as ‘a mob’ and ‘the enemy’, and their leaders as ‘conspirators’ and ‘agitators’.

Early in August, 1888, he expressed himself quite relaxed that a dispute was threatening, and confident that its end would be on the Company’s terms. His experience told him that the ‘quiet miners’ and their families would find themselves suffering so greatly after two months or so they would beg for a return to work. He advised ‘the Masters’ their best strategy was to do and say as little as possible and allow ‘the natural processes’ to play out:

If the above course had been pursued in 1873 strike, Masters would have won in    six weeks instead of which all the wavering miners were     daily fed with rumors    of a settlement and in 8 weeks the Masters were beaten.

On 5 September, aware the miners had access to dynamite, he wrote:

(The) only thing that I am afraid of is that some attempt may be made to upset             the passenger train.

By the 18th other companies had begun bringing in ‘new labour’ to load small coal and on the 19th he reported to his Directors that ‘their miners’ were getting restless:

Should you decide to introduce new hands to fill small coal, the bitter                   feelings will increase, but this ought not be attempted without sufficient police             or military to awe the mob at the onset. [His emphasis]

To Secretary Binney he wrote the same day:

You should be prepared to be masters of the situation the moment the    new    labour arrives. Do not allow “the powers that be” to persuade you       to wait    until all the worst passions of the mob are roused – and some violent act committed    before they will give you a sufficient force.

He believed there should be an equal number of soldiers and police but that the soldiery were the key as the miners would not be deterred by the police whom they saw every day. As he had done in 1879, Parkes issued a Proclamation on the 20th September threatening dire consequences for anyone interfering with persons ‘fulfilling their lawful occupation.’ The Bulletin reporter then told how three of the arrested miners had been released on bail and quoted a despatch from Premier Parkes to the ‘offending justices’. Chief Justice Darley had written to Parkes very exercised about ‘the impropriety of granting bail’ in such a serious case as this, so Parkes, in sending the Newcastle magistrates a copy of this letter, reminded them that ‘the first duty of the justice of the peace is at all times to conserve the interests of peace, to support all in authority in the maintenance of the law, and to do his utmost to preserve the good order of society’. In asking the magistrates for what explanation they could possibly have for granting bail, Parkes asserted that ‘the persons offending voluntarily put themselves in the wrong’. He went on to say that any social position the arrested men might have only aggravated the offence.[281] It seemed that in his eyes it would have served them right if they’d been shot for throwing potatoes and lumps of coal which is all the charge sheets show they had done.

On the 26th, Neilson told Binney that he had ‘by chance’ run into Col Spalding who had advised him that if he required ‘a protection force’ a written application had to be made through a Police Magistrate [PM]. To expedite matters, Col Spalding had said he ‘will come up tomorrow (in private clothes) and look over the works to decide what force will be required which will enable him to decide what to do.’

On 1st October, to Binney, he wrote that though had Col Spalding had wired Sydney for instructions after their Saturday meeting nothing had been received as yet. Neilson is frustrated by the ‘foolishness’, as he sees it, of the officials with whom he’s dealing:

…Col Spalding…thinks it would be imprudent to further divide the       forces            now available…and advised me to write to you to apply to       headquarters      for         an additional force as he fully anticipates meeting with strong opposition at           Wallsend…(This) is a great mistake… Mr       Perrott (PM) endorses Col                       Spalding’s opinion and says that he cannot   do anything as he must remain at                West Wallsend to be ready, as he says “To read the Riot Act and to give the order            to fire” (pompous old fool).

Neilson is sure that Perrott will never get a chance to read the Act for ‘so long as the force is there…none of the miners will go near them.’ ‘Under the circumstances’ he accepts that he has to delay the introduction of ‘new labour into ‘his’ mines until extra troops have arrived to augment those on hand and until someone makes a decision about how the military are to be allocated. He emphasises the need for ‘the Masters’ to continue to give no support to mediation attempts and says that while we wait for the miners to accept reality he will use ‘deputies and shiftmen’ not in the Miners’ Association to repair a bad roof in that section of the mine where the small coal is. On 5th October he wrote again to Binney to keep the Board up to date on his protracted negotiations:

I went to Newcastle this morning and there met Col Roberts and Superintendent Meyers. As I wired you I saw them again this afternoon after their return from the Newcastle Company’s (mines) when Col Roberts stated that he could not possibly divide the forces further and Supt Meyers said it was impossible for him to send sufficient police for so large a place as Wallsend and that if non-union men were sent it must be at our own risk.

Neilson then immediately proceeded with Col Roberts to see (the Manager) Mr Keightley ‘to ascertain when the Newcastle Coal Coy would be done with their men as Col Roberts said they (the military) were only sent for a fortnight:

(He) at first told Mr K he would withdraw his force at the end of that time but         Mr K begged to keep them for another week when they would finish and it was finally           settled that the military would be withdrawn from Newcastle Company on Friday         week and sent to Wallsend as Sir Henry Parkes was anxious for each colliery to             have its fair share of protection..

He advises Binney that ‘as you can see it would be futile to bring non-union men here at present notwithstanding the miners’ statements they will not interfere they cannot be trusted’. Despite further protestations from Keightley, Roberts remained firm and visited the Wallsend ground to determine the troop placements he would use:

The mobbing of Sir H Parkes at Wallsend 2 years ago has created the impression             that our men are perfect demons and Col Roberts says he     must have a strong                  force and his Nordenfeldt gun to be prepared for any emergency.

Weather then slowed down the troops’ relocation but that allowed Neilson to secure other details. He advised Binney to recruit as many experienced ‘tunnel-men’ as possible and ‘if possible get a couple of engine drivers and…2 good ships’ cooks’:

I have had quietly 3 horses per day shod in township, and the necessary number            of horses are now ready. I have also secured sufficient miner’s lamps on the place.           The Military and Police will provide their own food, I will only have to provide         for the men and will engage Mr Broughton of Newcastle to be providore who will            supply everything even to tin pannikins and spoons.

With all arrangements in place, the troops met ‘the new men’ on the Thursday, accompanied them with Nordenfeldt to Wallsend and the lifting of small coal commenced without incident. In due course, the 17th of November, the majority of the miners sued for resumption of work whereupon Neilson insisted that one miner in particular, Summers, be excluded before he would allow them back.

The Nordenfeldt was a central element in these events. Obviously relevant to the question of State violence, the full story of how it came to be in Australia would make entertaining reading. As high value chips in a murky, no-holds-barred competition, the movement of ‘multiple-volley machine guns’ between factories, arms dealers and government armories was not straightforward.[282] Corruption oiled many of the links in the chain, including apparently respected globe-trotting journalists who were instrumental in the dis-information which was common practice to de-stabilise a competitor’s bid. Some agents manipulated warring sides to obtain sales. At this time, the best attempt at perfecting a system of concentrated or ‘volley fire’ was that of Heldge Palmcrantz, a Swedish engineer who invented a mechanism that permitted the operator to keep up sustained fire or a single barrel. A gravity feed over each barrel meant the cartridges fell into place and after firing the cases fell through openings in the frame. Palmcrantz convinced a Swedish banker and broker, Thorsten Nordenfeldt, to finance mass manufacture a deal which meant the gun was re-named the Nordenfeldt.

Such was the world-wide interest in these weapons in the 1880’s that while the first factory was being built, the design was being surpassed but its reliability, workmanship, and endurance, that is its performance in practical situations, was ‘phenomenal’.[283] At one test of the 10-barrel, rifle caliber model, at Portsmouth in July 1882, the weapon fired 3,000 rounds of ammunition in 3 minutes 3 seconds, without a parts failure or stoppage. It and the five barrel version, the model which faced the Northumberland miners, had a feature called ‘automatic scattering gear’. This separated the shells in any volley so that for example, a burst of 10 shots covered up to 10 charging men spaced three feet apart. This spread of bullets could be altered for trajectories up to 500 yards by adjusting a thumbscrew placed on the left rear of the gun:

The broker proved himself one of the world’s greatest salesmen, as, by sheer merchandising ability he promoted successfully a multi-barrel weapon inferior to half a dozen other guns available at the time. Nordenfelt was a shrewd businessman who made every effort to meet the whims of influential people who could help him in disposing of his products.

The kidnapping in November, 1888 by railway officials of unionised shearers on a train at Cowra (NSW) ostensibly to ‘protect 2 non-union men and pastoralists’ agents’, was a crime which might also have attracted more attention than hitherto, alongside the kidnapping by unionists in Koroit (Victoria) of non-unionised shearers around the same date.[284] In both cases, the detained men were quickly released a few miles away but the very similar events were reported very differently and the perpetrators treated very differently by the law. The Koroit kidnappers finished up in court, the railway officials were applauded. Similarly, whereas jailed Glebe and Wallsend ‘rioters’ were released after a month in jail, NSW Minister for Justice Gould refused release of riotous Brookong (NSW) shearers after six months on the grounds that their camp had been organised, they had patrolled the roads, had had guns, and people had been intimidated. Clearly, the more closely protestors resembled military and the more competent warriors they appeared to be, the more anxious some authorities became. The Brookong judgement was given by Sir William Windeyer, High Court judge and close friend of Parkes. It included a distinction only useful to those in power:

If a man’s liberty were interfered with, if his life were threatened by overwhelming numbers, he and every other honest man is entitled to protect himself by taking the lives of those who come upon him. This in law is deemed justifiable homicide. On the other hand, if lawless persons took life they were guilty of murder.[285]

In his eyes, ‘lawless persons’ threatened lives whereas ‘the State’, here assumed to be foreign, threatened liberty. To defend the latter against ‘overwhelming numbers‘ was legitimate, to defend the former from ‘the State’ or its agents was criminal and potentially murder.

John Deasey, County Mayo MP in Australia to raise funds for Irish eviction victims complained his mail was being tampered with, and upon getting agreement from the New South Wales Postmaster General, O’Connor, that the envelopes looked tampered with, a Royal Commission was established. For some reason, Deasey destroyed the envelopes concerned whereupon the Royal Commissioner insisted the contents of the letters had to be produced in evidence. Failing that, Commissioner Pilcher found the charges ‘could not be sustained’.[286] The Sydney Morning Herald agreed, saying that:

It is no uncommon thing for Governments to open letters to obtain information that they desire, as in the case of suspected treason, in time of war, and of great peril from anarchical or other causes.

But since, the paper argued, ‘we are in no danger from Mr Deasy’ ‘our’ Government could not have tampered with his letters![287] The conservative interests were under threat from Protectionist who were gaining the upper hand in close meeting encounters. This is clear from the language of abuse used, for example, by the Evening News, the Free Trade advocate. Protectionists were now ‘roughs’, ‘ruffians’ and ‘blackguards’. The editorial writer referred to one seat in particular during the State election of 1889:

To the protectionists of South Sydney belongs the dubious honor of transforming the hitherto fair-field of political discussions in Sydney into a bear-garden of disgraceful disturbances and unmitigated ruffianism.’[288]

This was the seat which Wm Traill won in 1889. Successful candidates for the NSW Parliament enjoyed payment only from 1889, nearly twenty years after Victoria, and the ground was suddenly thick with aspirants. Leather lungs and vivid catch phrases were priorities, along with an ability to finesse one’s position and one’s alliances. Organised meeting disturbances to assist non-conservative interests were not necessarily ‘protectionist’ and the Free Trade activists did not simply roll over. Before generalisations are possible there is a need for greater detail of the arrangements made over the period 1890-94. Between formal meetings in the capital cities and confrontations between military, strikers, free labourers, employers, et al, patterns will be found eventually, and they won’t fit simple ‘us’ ‘them’, black and white dichotomies. Perhaps successful disturbance of a capital city meeting had greater significance in the playing out of a stand-off hundreds of miles away than we yet realise.

‘Jack’ Andrews thought so at the time and wrote about it, but his testimony is not sufficient to illustrate dynamics which I feel in my bones must have been in play. The link must be the obvious one, the one illustrated in the behinds-the-scene negotiations on the northern coal-fields already set down – the squeeze on the decision-making politician balancing the demands of the military, the voters and the influential individuals responsible for the decision-maker’s future prospects.

Could any confluence of political elements be more important than that in place when military confront armed malcontents? Imagine a volley of machine gun fire ripping through the flesh of even a handful of civilians at a pit head, at Circular Quay, at a shearing shed somewhere in the Mallee or out of Claremont? The employment of cannon was a more forceful statement than a parliamentary vote, or an arrest and trial, even the execution of an individual. Whether the authorities intended, nay hoped, to use this destructive force or not, the fact that violence of this magnitude was even contemplated should make us pause for deeper thought than we have had. Artillery was a blunt weapon whether cocked or not, their deployment required lots of space and freedom to move, there were questions over their legality in civil arenas, and other politically-reliable violence was available. Hired muscle was often a superior tactic and a more predictable weapon than the professional soldiery.

Who a political operative chose in 1889 as his ‘muscle’ was as much a political decision as a commercial one. ‘Billy’ Hughes made out meeting manipulation was a joke, George Black later wrote ‘nostalgically of the organised interruptions at political meetings’ without explaining what he meant.[289] The relevant detail is not always given but, for example, a September, Free Trade meeting in Sydney featuring Minister Carruthers was ‘protected’ by the police – Sub-Inspector Mackay, one senior sergeant, ten uniformed and several plain-clothes police – and by ‘professional pugilist’ Sandy Ross and Orange ‘friends’.[290] Though never officially a member, secretly Parkes was a ‘client’ of the Loyal Orange Institute of NSW, from 1865 to his last campaign in 1894.

The Protectionist Australian Star had an interest in applauding worker unrest in free trade areas and it attacked government MP and free trader Bruce Smith in September for not supporting the London dock strikers and for suggesting they were not worth sixpence an hour.[291] However, it did not point out that the ‘free men’ filling small coal at the northern pits the year before had been paid 10/- for an eight hour day. A further Australian Star editorial is even more enlightening:

Time was when the present movement at the London docks would have been suppressed by ruthless force, while all over the world that action, if noticed at all, would have been applauded. But times have changed … education has literally created a new mankind in a new world. Labor’s methods of righting its wrongs are no longer those of the savage beast, for the masses have learned the use of moral weapons and the power of moral discipline.[292]

This is an amazingly clear example of blaming the victim for being ‘suppressed with ruthless force’. Memories of Nordenfeldts have supposedly dimmed in 12 months and now that labor no longer acts in a way that requires it to be harshly treated it can be rewarded by not being harshly treated. A clear example of setting ‘self-restraint and patient endurance’[293] on a higher ethical plane than force, at least for the masses, it is the emphatic pointer guiding any doubtful readers onto the parliamentary road.




1890            The Maritime Strike in Sydney and Melbourne

               A Government Brought Down by Anarchist Action

               Colonel Tom Price vs JA Andrews

               The Parkes Government Hangs On, Again.


…The boom times were coming to an end, and not just in Chicago. Globally, speculation had out-run substance and market confidence was faltering, teetering on the lip of the inevitable downturn. All of the elements normally involved took on added tension, the spaces between cause and effect began to shorten considerably. Those with more to protect had extra reasons for secrecy and violence. Those who had least to lose had less reason to hug the shadows and pretend compliance.

           For the active participants, distinguishing real from imaginary threats became a 24-hour a day activity. Sorting information flowing from soap boxes, from Town Halls or from on-line editorials became a complex, time-consuming process. Some ‘actors’ were in a better position than others to control the flow and to shape its movement…

The first ‘Decade of Uncertainty’ to have communication systems which insisted that newspaper chains report events happening thousands of miles apart, 1890 was the first ‘crisis’ year in which it was feasible to consider that a single event could have almost immediate consequences on the other side of the globe. Chicago economistDavid Hale opined through Max Walsh, Australian finance writer, in the 1980’s:

While it was the Barings crisis which triggered the panic of 1890 in the US, it was the collapse into bankruptcy of Jay Cooke, the daring, lionised railway tycoon that began the collapse of the US. In Australia, a string of land boomers, the media folk heroes of the day, went belly up.[294]

            Logically, it was also feasible that ‘events’, real or imagined, could be reported at point ‘A’ in order to have effects at point ‘B’. Those in the know were feasibly able to benefit from early knowledge of the event, or from the knowledge that ‘the news’ was false. Hale wrote:

While it may seem hard to believe today, from the start of the silver crusade in the 1870’s right through to its culmination in the election of 1896, large numbers of Americans believed that British interests controlled the country’s economic policy. In popular folklore, British investors were not merely passive beneficiaries of [US] deflation but had actively encouraged it through conspiracy and intrigues.[295]

Folklore or truth, the collapsing global boom was wiping out paper fortunes on main streets and increasing despair in the alleys and out on ‘the selections’. There were investors who had bet on the downturn, and bought cheaply at the bottom of the market. They needed no assistance. Consider another group. The Australian property market had been fuelled by banks, many controlled from London, operating in a ‘free system’ in the colonies – few legal restrictions, no central bank and no government-provided deposit guarantees. When the market here lost most of its upwards traction and financial institutions received calls for due payments, the responsible executives could close their doors and put out the lights. They could, on the other hand, arrange with legislators to change the rules, just a little. When the legislators and the executives of the financial institutions were the same people, or members of one family, or of one gentlemen’s club the re-drawing of the rules might only take a few days. It might involve a quid-pro-quo, but if it kept the bank’s lights on…

Of course, it is also feasible that the legislators, subject to local electorate circumstances might find it difficult, even impossible to carry the proposed legislation. It’s feasible then that a single, disturbed meeting, say, in Sydney, or Melbourne, could have consequences at some distance…A decade of grumbling editorials about ‘the problem of pushism’ provided no progress in understanding, and no change in content. The complaint remained: “Sydney and Melbourne have this huge social evil, the police are powerless and citizens continue to be harassed and assaulted in the street”. The writers say nothing about gang dynamics or its context, and show no interest in exploring why laws to suppress ‘larrikins’ were repeatedly held up in parliament, even when reporters who ‘displeased gang members’ became targets.[296] It would seem another ‘cone of silence’ was in place, lest the uses being made of ‘the social evil’ by the rich and ‘wannabe powerful’ became visible.

At the beginning of the year, political disturbances, major or minor, were not expected. Editorials congratulated Australians for being so well-mannered. Even the collapse of the Premier Building Society was ‘a good thing’ since it shone a light on an unworthy ‘speculative’ diversion from productive enterprise. Meetings, if disturbed, had only the odd ‘noisy individual’ to contend with, a task handled easily by a lone constable. In March, lectures by Henry George, Single Tax guru from New York, were accorded enthusiastic but undisturbed hearings, and striking wharf labourers at Port Pirie, SA, showed total respect for their non-unionist opponents. No military or police interventions were invited. In May, however, ‘gentlemen undergraduates’ from Sydney University were noted creating vulgar disturbances at a performance of ‘Tosca’ and in June, also in Sydney, inflamed passions caused altercations at a first meeting of the United Licenced Victuallers Association (ULVA, aka ‘publicans’) when local optionists were physically prevented from speaking, and complete breakdown of a second. Again, no police or military interventions were considered necessary.

In June 1890, Fleming renewed his agitation on behalf of Melbourne’s unemployed but audiences were on edge, and at times disrupted by seemingly random events, while newspaper bias and government implacability made Rosa, by his own account,[297] think twice before becoming involved. When he did, he resumed his provocative talk of the year before and continued to attract wider attention, his probable aim. The police were keeping the scene ‘under surveillance’.[298] Over a thousand people on occasion were on the wharves listening to Rosa’s suggestions that they had the right to loot, or that they reserve part of any money they did get to purchase muskets. He directed their attention to the uses of melinite, dynamite and nitro-glycerine. From 9 July he suddenly moderated his language and took to directing the straggling processions he had previously led up and down city streets to interview prominent personages, such as clerics and the Governor-General.[299] These served no purpose other than to provide Rosa with publicity.

By August 1890, Rosa was showing signs of nervousness that the situation was no longer his to control. Effigy burning was turning into pitched battles between baton-wielding policemen and assorted malcontents. Troops were often ‘in readiness’ but out of sight. Checks were being made by the Police Office of guns available to the constabulary, which were being rapidly augmented, and the gaps looked to, but not necessarily with much success. Symes attacked ‘the violent and reckless demagogues’ leading the unemployed. He said of Fleming that he was ‘a hard working, well-meaning man’ but why won’t he give up his ‘stupid anarchy?’ Could he not see that the anarchists ‘would gladly reduce Melbourne to ashes for the sake of the scramble and the fiendish gratification it would give them?’[300]

On 20 August, Rosa claimed that pressure of business was forcing him to stop his involvement. In one academic account this meant the movement quickly collapsed.[301] A more accurate rendering would note that in mid-August the unemployed agitation transposed into a General Strike, whereupon the unemployed found themselves rushed with offers of work. The hostility of the THC bureaucrats towards Rosa and ‘his’ troops[302] intensified and Rosa found his simplistic call for jobs for the unemployed ‘or else’ turned into a weapon against those he was trying to impress, namely labor organisers and voters prepared to support ‘labor’ candidates.

Five thousand people gathered in the Sydney Domain on 17 August 1890, the day after Marine Officers walked off their ships and marked the notional beginning of ‘the Great Maritime Strike’. They cheered a speaker’s claim that ‘the day of glory for the working class was at hand![303] Whitelocke, newspaper editor at Broken Hill, was another ‘spouter’ articulating the self-deluding, bombastic mythology on which the embryonic labour movement was driven from over-reaching optimism to defeat in the space of six months in 1890:

…So long as the poor rise …and the military can be found to silence them with bayonet and bullet, so long will revolution be kept in check; but once let the troops reverse and side with the starving masses of their fellow countrymen…(then) the bloodiest struggle that ever filled a revolutionised country will be fought out to the certain victory of the masses…[304]

The Manifesto of the NSW Labor Defence Committee included reference to this strike being ‘a supreme battle’, the chairman of a massive Sydney out-door meeting announced:

Australia had been charged with being the home of trade-unionism and today, he thought, proved the assertion to be true…They were fighting for the individual liberty of every Australian, which meant the liberty of the subject.[305]

At an even bigger protest on 5 September, the chairman hoped that his audience ‘recognised that the present struggle was the greatest epoch in the history of Australia.’[306] The rhetoric was up against reality. Prices of necessaries such as flour [307]had already risen ‘drastically’ and closing collieries produced a stream of miners to the wharves looking for work. The Sydney TLC began its Harrington Street ‘board and barracks’ to interdict the flow of these and other unemployed but little else was in place.

On the same day, 26 August, that the first issue of a new paper, Truth, appeared on Sydney’s streets with its own lurid and provocative editorials, NSW Premier Parkes met with Police Commissioner Fosberry and Major-General Richardson, NSW military commander, to discuss ‘profound secrets’.[308] One secret became public almost immediately. A Proclamation ‘warning persons against acting together, endeavouring to intimidate and oppressively interfering with certain other of her Majesty’s subjects in the lawful pursuit of their occupations’[309] was pasted up in Newcastle on 29 August as a company of Permanent Artillery, with Nordenfeldts returned north. ‘Mobs’ stoning ‘free laborers’ on Sydney’s wharves were cleared on two days running and additional barricades were put up by special constables especially sworn in for the task.[310] On 1 September Parkes rejected the TLC offer of unionists to join the para-police.[311]

Employees refusing their employers’ ‘requests’ to enrol as special constables were sacked.[312] Edwin James Brady, (1869-1952) an enthusiastic convert to Marx,[313] was in his own words, ‘at war with the world’ when, in August 1890, he was fired[314] from his clerical job at major wool-broking firm, Dalgetys. He and his father, previously a policeman, were working there when all employees were ‘invited’ to sign up. He was already at odds with his father and his employer, saying later that he had been:

(labouring) in an atmosphere of petty tyranny and cowardly insult … there was one overlord who put murder in my mind … he demonstrated to me what wage-slavery really means.

By his own account he could have been dismissed from Dalgety’s for drinking on company time but when he declined the chance to serve the State he was dismissed.[315] He says that he might also have been dismissed for ‘spouting’ about being part of a revolutionary conspiracy but makes out that that was all a joke. From that point until ‘early 1893’ he provides no information. He resumes his story with: ‘I then gave anarchy a wide berth.’[316] The meaning is clear enough – from August, 1890 until ‘early 1893’ he was deeply involved in what he, a Marxist, regarded as ‘anarchy’. In his own words, during the first ‘Great Strike’ he ‘was at war with the world’, had ‘murder in mind’ and he was experienced with explosives.[317] An 1897 article places him, without naming him, and three others on the wharves at Circular Quay with a home-made bomb. At some point they became aware that they were being shadowed by plain-clothes detectives and Brady and ‘a friend’ convinced the other two to continue the work of hiding the bomb while they scarpered:

[Surviving] the surveillance of the detectives [the dupes] carried the tale to some shrewder spirits who quickly came to the conclusion that the bomb manufacturer [‘Brady’] was a police pimp and an AGENT PROVOCATEUR.[318]

This heavy charge was almost certainly made by Andrews. The AW was then being published for the Australian Labour Federation by TJ Houghton and the column was unsigned, as though it was by the editor. Why then do I assert it was by someone else, specifically JAA Andrews, and how can I say that it refers to Brady?

My evidence is in the totality of the narrative which follows. This article is only one exchange between the two from a decade of interaction. Without naming him, however, it locates the 1890-bomb story within the chronology of public activities unique to Brady for the period August, 1890 to June, 1891:



‘the loss of a thirty bob billet’         August 1890, Dalgety’s


‘a political and economic

organisation’ at the same time      Female Employees Association [319]


‘a league of sedentary workers’            from December 1890 – the Clerical

and Mercantile Workers Union[320]


‘a Labor candidate’                                         The June 1891 election[321]


‘a responsible labor position’             AW editor, Sept-December 1891[322]


The writer, Andrews, literally gave his life for the cause of labour, including being jailed a number of times, and he died in 1903 aged 38 from privations he endured as ‘a believer’. The target, Brady, struggled in the early 1890’s but was never attacked by the government though he might well have been, to become an acclaimed poet and author not far below Henry Lawson in popular and critical estimation. In 1897 both men could look back at years of heart-stopping excitement, amazing highs and deep disappointment. Their political survival stories are remarkably intertwined and if anyone knew Brady’s secrets, it would be Andrews. Earlier opportunities he had had to expose his former friend had not been taken. Chastened by experience and stung, he says, by his target’s continued attacks on ‘the movement’, Andrews had finally reacted. The ‘charge sheet’ contains a sense of personal betrayal. The ‘pimp and renegade’ is ‘the whilom friend who knows the weak spots in your armour and is forgetful of all the kindnesses you have showered on him.’ It contains what is, in the writer’s eyes, a greater crime than betraying a friend – that of the turncoat, the man who was ‘one of [the Labor party’s] most enthusiastic adherents’ but who now ‘venomously’ attacks it. In 1899,newspapers carried an announcement that a series of ‘biographical articles’ by Brady on the labour movement had begun to appear in ‘a Sydney newspaper.’ No trace of these has been located. What may be drafts are in his papers in the ANL in Chapter form, as though they were being prepared for publication. The content is very general and does not respond to Andrew’s charges.[323]

Andrew’s list did not show Brady’s first marriage, celebrated in October, 1890, which is understandable since it failed within months. Not listed, either, is Brady’s assumption of the secretary-ship of the ASL when McNamara stood down in February, 1891. Nor is Brady’s extravagant poetry from this same period, of which ‘Vive Anarchy’ is an example, one section in its published form reading:


Pallid forms, by famine shrunken,

Helots, harlots, ribald, drunken,

Wine and blood-wet, onward thro’ the

 torch-lit highways sweep,

Through a city disunited,

Through a city flame-ignited,

To the sound of song and trumpet,

 and the cannons’ deep,

Distant boom,

Through the gloom

While the fire-fiend madly leaps from tower to temple steep.[324]


The striking ‘death and destruction’ images contributed to his earning the label, ‘anarchist’ but any careful reading shows that he was not enthusing but warning about catastrophic fire and tumult –‘anarchy’- if decision-makers did not pull back from their use of repressive State instruments.  The general atmosphere was tense, and prickly with uncertainty. Speakers and editorialists refer repeatedly to the need for, or to the threat of ‘physical force’. Brady’s enthusiasm included, according to Ernie Lane, a penchant for conspiracy. Concern about spies and possible retaliation meant that ‘all… meetings [of the Clerical and Mercantile Workers Association of NSW, [C-MWA] which Brady convened in [1890] were secret and shrouded in an air of the most intense mystery’.[325] Brady has only revealed that a secret courier service to and from southern sympathisers and the Queensland strike organisation ran through the C-MWA and that he maintained it till late 1891.[326] His relations with the others involved must have been very strong, and the implied trust deserved since I know of no other reference. Such a network helps to explain why the movements of these people are difficult to track in detail, why accounts don’t always tally and why few letters between these men and women have survived.  Andrew’s friendship with Brady at this time explains his having un-published Queensland intelligence and his not having it later when the friendship ended.(see below) Ernie Lane believed a ‘revolutionary situation’[327]existed and that it centred on the League and Brady’s secretary-ship. Over half a century later, Brady revealed to a friend why this may have been the case. He wrote that WG Higgs had recently reminded him of:

one very dreadful character who had employed me – without authority – making gas-pipe bombs filled with blasting powder and left a bag full of them in the office…[328]

In the context this must be the ASL office, and the period February-June, 1891. The letter went on:

…They were, of course, intended for discovery by H.M. Police! When the bag was opened and the birds began to sing, or smell, two trusties took them, very gingerly, via the South Head Rd ‘bus to Bondi and dropped them over the cliffs…

After a few more remarks, Brady concluded with:

…I have never changed my views and hope to die in the faith of Lenin, Stalin and Marx. Yours under the Hammer and Sickle, E J Brady.

The particular ‘socialism’ he had in mind used bombs for insurrectionary, not individualist propoganda-by-the-deed purposes.

Mary Cameron/Gilmour (1865-1962) has put herself into what may be the 1890 bomb scene. Her undated version has Larry Petrie as the duped bomber, and herself and three ‘accomplices’ – WG Spence (1846-1926), Arthur Rae (1860-1943), and future Australian Prime Minister, Watson – retracing the bomber’s steps to retrieve the device. She asserted they went back to the Quay only to protect ‘the movement’ from the consequences of a dynamite explosion which rightly or wrongly would have been attributed to labour representatives. She asserts that as Rae was the smallest he was given the task of retrieving the device from under the Quay, that he was successful and that the group carried the device away for disposal. Combining the two stories makes Brady a cowardly/cunning schemer and the Cameron group clear-headed, and quick-thinking, much of which is feasible in the light of what follows. She has made the event a minor anecdote not worthy of even a precise date. But when read in conjunction with other material, it is clear that this precursor to what Andrews later called ‘The Reign of Terror’ played a role in her decision to abandon ‘the movement’ to which she had been passionately committed, and join William Lane and hundreds of others in a communal experiment in Paraguay. It is also clear that ‘New Australians’ were not the only men and women reacting to a situation considered intolerable.

On the other hand, could we be dealing with night-mare hallucinations from over-wrought imaginations? Drug-induced false memories, perhaps, common across a bohemian culture but subsequently repudiated by respectable citizens embarrassed by accounts of their youthful, passionate indiscretions? Andrews had a great deal more to say on these matters,[329] and he openly tried ‘alternative living’ himself but even he hid identities behind pseudonyms and totally fictionalised accounts. Could his claims of Brady as ‘police pimp and agent provocateur’ be parts of a marketing strategy he devised to boost sales? Why would Mary Cameron name herself and three other erstwhile pillars of the labour and literary establishment at the heart of such a plot? Any connection between MARY GILMOUR and REVOLUTIONARY CONSPIRATORS, even a fictional one, would have rated an article or two in Meanjin or Overland, or a saucy anecdote at a literary soiree? The obvious neglect of this story and its possible ramifications indicates either a massive cover-up or a monumental blind-spot among historians and cultural commentators.

There are problems with her story, and it has been shown that her memory was not always reliable. The people she names would have had to have been socially so close that they could have quickly determined on a retrieval plan and carried it out. Later public success has made them all biographically notable as individuals but numerous biographies have not brought them together in any significant way. Spence, two-decades older than she, and a millenarian, seems to have played no public part in the Sydney events, which suggests he was not in town. Rae may not have been in Sydney either:

(After long stints as a railway labourer and tree-feller he began organising Victorian and NSW shearers into unions). In (November) 1890, charged under the Masters and Servants Act (1857), he was sentenced to ‘sixty-one consecutive fortnights’ imprisonment’ for bringing the Riverina shearers out in support of the maritime strike and refusing to pay the alternative fines. However, the New South Wales government, under pressure of public indignation, released him after one month in gaol at Hay.[330]

Being a ‘travelling agent’, he is a good example of how difficult it is to accurately track the movements of these people through this period. Released on Christmas Day, he was in Adelaide for a Shearers’ [ASU] Conference early in 1891, then in Wagga on 10 January, and Bombala [both in NSW] in May. After he was elected to the Legislative Assembly in June, 1891, he can be assumed to have been in Sydney when parliament was sitting. Andrews wasn’t in town during the 1890 strike period, either, otherwise he might be a more likely candidate than Brady for a government-agent role. Then there’s Sam Rosa, spouting revolution publically and often, but disappearing when the going became tricky. Even the physical look of these people is cloudy – Rosa, by one account, was written up in The Bulletin as ‘a piratical looking cuss’ with ‘a big Punch-looking nose, (and) terrific red hanging mustachios … matching his shock of red hair’,[331] whereas an 1893 photograph shows him as prim and scholarly with delicate features and a neatly-trimmed moustache. The colourful description perhaps reflects wide-spread doubts about him,[332] or it may be a mis-directed attribution. Brady had red hair as did Arthur Desmond, another dubious character still to arrive in Australia.

Governments became aware in the 1890 August-November period State that the military option in cases of civil dissent was no longer tenable. Where previously, ‘the military’ was the perceived solution to both the threat of loss of production, and the threat of violence, daylight now appeared between them, and it was officially acknowledged that ‘the military’ was no longer a viable option for either. Not one, but two alternative strategies were now required. From the bomb-plot stories, whether their detail is solid or not, two reasonable conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, that activists were being tailed regularly and reports were being made for the Police Chief and for the Premier. This is the alternative strategy adopted after the Circular Quay ‘riot’. Involving a range of measures beyond surveillance it is today known as ‘counter-intelligence.’ Secondly, that the Gilmour group was not so shocked by the idea of a bomb plot that its personnel refused to have anything to do with it. On the contrary, they put themselves at considerable physical risk, and they broke the law, not only for ‘the movement’ but to assist the two who had brought the story. Her story may then relate to a period after the 1891 Strike when industrial heat returned to the NSW side of the border and the men she named were better known.

When Svensen set himself to better account for the evolution of the Great Strikes and located a driving energy on the anti-union side which was not the government, he made the ‘government as independent agent’ not just a possibility but a probability. I don’t mean that governments acted independently but that Svensen insists ‘they’ be considered as players in their own right. McMullin suggested that State premiers reacted quite differently in August-September, 1890 with Queensland employing the highest level of military-led aggression.[333] Closer examination shows that faced with the same legal impasse all reached the same conclusion but chose different means to disguise that conclusion. Parkes called up the Nordenfeldts in NSW but firstly, kept them under tight control and then removed them from the feild altogether.  In Victoria Tom Price issued the standard command and helped to bring down the government. The South Australian Attorney General defended strikers against charges of riot and intimidation and made no call to the barracks for assistance. In Queensland the government called out the military to make a great show but never fired a shot. The de facto Premier, Tozer, put the Pastoralists Union in control of the police but when pressed, the Cabinet charged strike leaders with an obsolete 1825 Act against ‘combination as conspiracy’. The military certainly acted to intimidate but never crossed the line into the region where it acknowledged its legality did not exist.

Of the east-coast governments, Parkes’s administration stands out as most in need of a law-and-order response to a situation where military intervention was the usual course of action. Assuming there was a failed bomb plot, revolutionary or sham, it is possible to locate it on or just prior to the 18th of September since around that date Cabinet was considering an urgent note from their Victorian counterparts and a marked change occurred in the attitudes of Premier Parkes and his Treasurer.

Parkes was immobilised with a broken leg at his home just out of the city when, after August 20, escalating disputes between strikers and non-strikers were producing increasing numbers of arrests of labour activists. He was not sufficiently worried to return to his office. Proclamations were sufficient.[334] Acting-Premier McMillan [no relation to MAC-member McMillan] was a channel to government for certain commercial interests at risk if the strike ran too long, and at a Mutual Life Assurance Banquet to open their ‘magnificent new offices’ in the first week of September he also seemed relaxed:

The Government knew nothing officially on this question [ie the government was neutral] … but they did know that brutal intimidation had been practised …and if there was any function which was peculiarly…of the Government it was that it must defend the individual rights of the citizens…[ie, the government was not neutral if violence was threatened][335]

On the morning of the 19th September, however, McMillan received a Chamber of Commerce deputation and read an hysterical Daily Telegraph editorial of that day which urged the public to take the law into its own hands if the government didn’t act. He responded by saying that the government was of course already prepared but that ‘yesterday, matters had reached quite a different stage’:

(A) temporary, semi-revolutionary government had attempted to be set up …The situation could not be any graver and he told those who sanctioned the disorder that the Government were prepared to go to any extreme to preserve order.[336]

McMillan later argued that he had been thinking of the Labour Defence Committee calling out all unionists, in effect, usurping the roles of the elected government. In addition, he said, the decision to strike was itself a restriction of trade and of free citizen’s rights and therefore a criminal conspiracy. McMillan received his sobriquet ‘Machine-Gun’ at this time, many people[337] believing that he had  ordered out a detachment of artillery to mow the crowd down should they show any fight, for example, during the procession of wool to the Quay set down for the 19th. The Minister for Works Bruce Smith became known as ‘Shoot‘em down Smith’ when Willis claimed in the House that some days before, Smith had indicated the government’s willingness ‘to shoot the strikers down like dogs.’

Their supporters among the mercantile-conservative lobby were allegedly so opposed to changes in tax, suffrage and mining legislation introduced by Parkes that they were mobilising in his absence. McMillan was, further, part of a plot to land British marines from Her Majesty’s visiting ships Orlando and Curocoa,[338] arrest the Labor Defence Committee, all parts of a scheme to discredit Parkes, replace his government with a new one,[339] and, of course, shoot any protesters.[340] This ‘plot’ may have been the inevitable result of an over-heated atmosphere, or it may have been what Brady was ‘spouting’, or it may have been true. On 19 September, the possible flash-point, town ‘blades’ and defiant graziers enrolled as special constables drove bullock teams of wool bales to Sydney’s wharves through crowds of unemployed, strikers and onlookers who cheered, cat-called and threw stones. A lightning raid by wharfies cut lines to the teams[341] and since the crowd at the Quay would not disperse when ordered to, the Riot Act was read, twice. The first ‘mumbling’[342]  of the Act completed, the mounted police[343]charged the crowd.[344] Some newspaper accounts are circumspect[345] while others go a long way towards the more sensational accounts of ‘Jack’ Lang, a schoolboy spectator at the time, and that of Ernie Lane, who was in Brisbane at the time. Andrews was not in Sydney, either. On-the-spot drawings show panic-stricken bystanders trying to escape plunging, rearing horses, while verbal accounts refer to swords drawn against individuals, out-of-control constables, and continuing attack and counter-attack through the lanes and back streets around the Quay for some hours afterwards.[346] The Australian Star editorialised:

            The responsibility for the riot … rests chiefly on the persons who organised             the procession … for the purpose of expressing defiance.[347]

Suddenly back in his office, Parkes on the 20th spoke of union leaders being guilty of conspiracy but said that any new security arrangements would have to come through him. Feeling repudiated and his ambitions stymied, McMillan resigned, and though Lord Carrington, NSW Governor, refused to accept the resignation ‘under any circumstances’,[348] some time passed before reconciliation was effected publically.

The Sydney TLC strike-organisers seemed to think that government violence would be Parkes’ downfall. According to the Australian Star they believed:

If the men only kept quiet there would be a dissolution of Parliament in      a           very short time.[349]

Parkes had refused calls for a general election saying that he did not wish ‘to increase the country’s disturbance until this strike is at an end’.[350] In 1889, Parkes had addressed Parliament on the Imperial Mutiny Act (UK) in force in New South Wales and emphasised that any soldier refusing to fire on ‘the mob’ when asked could be court martialed and perhaps shot.[351] In another speech, he allegedly recommended a complainant ‘be hanged on the next lamp-post’.[352] Late in September, 1890, he was much more circumspect in deed if not in words. He had probably already been quietly informed that the legality of a Colonel Tom Price order in August to troops preparing to face Melbourne’s strikers – ‘Shoot Low, and Lay the bastards out’ – was in question, and that the Victorian government was crumbling because of it. The bloodthirsty Government rhetoric and the use of troopers to physically disperse protestors both disappear at this point.

A battle at the Chowder Bay picnic grounds (Sydney) in October pitched ‘the Gipps Street push’ against ‘the Greens’. The day had been organised as an Eight Hours Day fund raiser for the Labor Defence Committee by the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society. Separated by police making arrests, the combatants arranged to meet again.[353] Parkes refused to call a general election though one was due, on the grounds the country was disturbed. On the 13th October, the MP for the West Sydney seat, Free Trader Alfred Lamb, died, precipitating a bye-election. Leaders of the Parliamentary Opposition and ostensible supporters of Free Trade, Dibbs (1834-1904) and Slattery, urged ‘the movement’ to endorse AG Taylor (1857-1900), ex-member for Mudgee and editor of Truth as its candidate. The Trades and Labour Council [TLC] pushed forward its President, PJ Brennan (1843-1906), an avowed protectionist but was unable to obtain unanimous ‘movement’ support. The de facto ‘labour’ candidate, AG Taylor and/or his volunteer army of supporters destroyed the campaign meetings of the only other candidate, John Taylor, with concerted missile attacks and deliberate destruction of venues. On 26 October on an advertised platform which sought a ‘National Labor Party’ and an end to all parliaments, AG Taylor was elected. The reaction of the SMH was to warn the ‘revolutionary and anarchic forces’ behind his success that the Government would continue to stand against them ‘no matter what (Taylor) might do.’ MPs Crick and Willis ushered Taylor onto the floor of the NSW parliament and were on hand to see him escorted by the sergeant-at-arms back onto the street. Taylor’s first address to Parliament included:

The menacing attitude of the Government merely invited every working man in NSW to erect barricades …hang tyrannical capitalists, shoot the Ministry themselves down like b… dogs… haul down the Union Jack, hoist the flag of NSW republicanism and pulverise the public statues of the Queen and her consort.[354]

Suspended when trying to ‘explain’ earlier remarks about the Queen, Taylor waited outside while a long debate ensued inside. Dibbs seized the chance to attack Parkes’s statement of 14 October that ‘the state of things is little short of revolution … the disturbance to industrial life is quite as great as if Sydney was bombarded by a foreign fleet … very little further would plunge the country into undisguised anarchy’. Dibbs said that he thought Taylor’s election had gone off without trouble and that ‘free people exercising their right to combine and withdraw their labor were insulted by being referred to as Anarchists’.[355] As he spoke, on a slope above the entrance to a south-coast coal mine, extensive preparations for war were, apparently, being made:

The military camp is established on the side of a hill, a few hundred yards above the entrance of the mine, and duty is carried on there as it would be if they were on active service.[356]

Notice the ambiguity – either these troopers were on active service or they were not. If not, why make it appear they were:

A Field Hospital has been fitted up, and Dr Smith, a Sydney practitioner, is in charge. Sergeant-Major Speckman of the medical staff was down today to fix up the hospital on a military basis but has returned to Sydney this evening. Major HP Airey, DSO, who was in charge of this detachment of artillery has also returned to headquarters.

In reality, this was play-acting on a grand scale:

These officers have organised a very comfortable sort of mess…and…everybody is trying to make things as jolly as possible.

No trouble of any kind was expected:

Both the military and the police are on excellent terms of friendship with the miners…and everything is going on in the most rational manner.

The majority of parliamentary members were in on the charade and a motion of ‘no confidence’ was not put, a situation at odds with that developing in the Victorian Parliament. On 30th August, Melbourne’s Colonel Tom Price, (1842-1911) Officer commanding the Victorian Mounted Rifles made his famous ‘Fire Low and Lay Them Out’ speech.[357] Jack Andrews proved that it had been given[358] when the government[359]  and its supporters[360] denied that it had. An embarrassed Cabinet reprimanded one of Price’s under-officers who had initially published the order in a rural newspaper where Andrews was working, and sent a please-explain to Price. Neither soldier saw any need to regret their decision. Questions in the House forced, firstly, a tabling of all instructions to the military during the strike, secondly, an ‘impartial’ inquiry[361] and thirdly, a vote of no confidence which forced the Premier’s resignation.

When Parkes was confronted in Sydney with similar questions he perhaps already knew that Police Magistrate Nicolson, Major-General Keogh, retired British officer, and Commander Hay, second-in-command, Victorian Navy, had been appointed by the Executive Council as the ‘impartial’ body to conduct the enquiry. Nicolson,[362] one of two PMs on call to read the Riot Act if required had previously been head of the State’s Detective Force. Sitting at Victoria Barracks for three days, October 23, 24 and 27, the Commission heard a long line of witnesses, mainly Price’s own men, swear he had not used ‘bad language’ such as ‘Shoot the bastards in the guts’ nor had he suggested the troopers might have to shoot their own kin.[363] The real issue, that the order had been given at all, was obscured.

The Victorian Premier Gillies had made the mistake of shilly-shallying when responding to the first of a dozen Members’ suggestions that Price be punished:

He [Gillies] believed there was no-one in the community who was not surprised and deeply annoyed at the language which was acknowledged to have been used by Lieutenant-Colonel Price … The situation was far too serious to justify the use of violent language on either side.[364]

Victoria had had a Nordenfeldt Battery from 1883 and had altered its title to that of ‘Horse Artillery’ in 1889. The order ‘to fire low and lay them out’ was a standing instruction for mounted riflemen and did not have to be issued. Volunteer and reserve soldiery did, however, have to be reminded of the duties they had signed up for, and Price had done this when 240 country troopers assembled in Melbourne at the end of August to confront strikers. Labor-oriented historians have naively echoed the outrage expressed at the time that ‘legitimate industrial action’ was confronted in an ‘un-soldier like and inhuman way’. They seem to think that the strike suddenly produced a military thirst for blood or that Price was an aberration. The military had a series of graded responses to ‘mob control’ issues. These took into account the different roles of police, special constables, hired ‘toughs’ and their own specialities, up to and including cannon which was only to be used ‘as a last resort’. In a charge of cavalry, for example:

The troopers should rely as much as possible on the action of their horses, and the edge, not the point of the sword should be used. The former is     more terrifying and inflicts uglier-looking wounds and yet is less likely to prove fatal than the latter.[365]

Price explained to the Enquiry that the intention of the order was ‘to hit the strikers in the legs … not to kill them outright’.[366] The term ‘lay them out’ was used to mean ‘temporary disablement’.[367] General Tulloch, Price’s commanding officer, expressed the matter-of-factness of the situation when indicating that Price had acted correctly on this occasion and that it was his, Tulloch’s place to issue any orders to fire:

I had had considerable experience in riots, and if anyone were killed, there would probably be special enquiries and such like afterwards.[368]

Andrews, being ‘a rank anarchist’, was not called by the Enquiry although it was his letter to the THC which had embarrassed the authorities. He had been working for the Alexandra and Yea Standard when the paper’s editor and volunteer militiaman, Gordon, had been summoned. When he returned from Melbourne Gordon had published an article containing Price’s instructions. and when he was called, he told the enquiry he had found Andrews half-clothed, living off opossums in the bush, so ‘gave him something to do’, namely a job as reporter. Being called to do his duty in Melbourne, he said he had left Andrews in charge of The Standard but said he had to return after his overseer telegrammed saying that Andrews had: 1) inserted copy to the effect that Alexandra miners had subscribed £15,000 to the Strike when they had not subscribed fifteen pence; 2) walked about the town with a revolver saying he would shoot the Mounted Rifles; and 3)gone on strike.[369] In his 1900 Tocsin version Andrews admits that he had had access to troopers’ equipment in the newspaper office but said that he had resisted temptation. Gordon’s account implies Andrews was sacked on his return to the paper. In fact, on Gordon’s own account, Andrews left voluntarily in the second week of October, nearly six weeks after the Price order:

[Our] reporter suddenly cleared out for Melbourne through some unexplained cause.[370]

The Gillies-Deakin governing coalition fell on 30 October when eight of its usual supporters deserted it over the ‘Col Price’ furore. The government resigned but did not dissolve parliament because it claimed ‘a political contest would not be in the interests of the country’. The Governor simply called for a new government under Munro, an MP from the same side,[371] and thus was replaced the first Australian government to be toppled through the actions of an anarchist.

Andrews, the allegedly half-naked, wild man was a member of the Australian Natives Association, a Friendly Society at the centre of the push for national federation of the colonies. (ANA – see They Call Each Other Brother) He had joined in Melbourne and had delivered a paper to the Alexandra and Yea Branch in July called ‘Societies I Have Been In’. This talk then run over several issues of the Standard, 18 July to 8 August 1890. He was to debate ‘Capital Punishment’ at the ANA with a newly-arrived school teacher in August, but the teacher said he was ill and could not appear.[372] His reluctance to meet Andrews could be imagined. On 8 August, Andrews had requested editorial space to reply to a defence of God by a Reverend M. Cahill in the previous issue. He signed himself ‘Nihilist’, called the letter ‘The Reign of Law’ and began the first of three sections with five propositions, the first of which was:

  1. What is termed a Natural Law is an observed order of facts identical under identical circumstances, and modified identically under identical modifying circumstances.

The fifth proposition began:

  1. What is commonly called the Universe is but a limited portion, as the Absolute Infinite cannot be manifested. By the Schism or allotment into parts, which may be irrespective and over­lapping we have the beginning of relativity which is the origin of all material quality.

The consternation of the locals must have been great.

On the 27th August, as clashes of ‘free laborers’ with unionists continued,[373] and after a deputation from ‘furious public’ citizens, Chomley had asked for the promised men to come immediately.[374] A ‘furious’ public [375] – that is, a handful of fearful property owners, and Nicolson – used the heat generated by a businessmen’s meeting on the 26th and the announcement of a unionists’ meeting on 31 August, visited and wore down a reluctant Cabinet and had Melbourne put on a war footing.[376] The Age of 30 August 1890 recorded that Crown Law officers had been summoned and that the troop’s oath ‘to cause her Majesty’s peace to be kept’ was taken as justification for calling on the military. In 1906, Price revealed discussions in the Defence Minister’s office sometime in August 1890 about what powers the Victorian government had to call out the military in their behalf.[377] According to Price, the ‘call out’ decision was based on Queens Regulations and, apprised of this, Police Commissioner Chomley had alerted country police stations on 19 August that they, with carbines and swords, would possibly be needed in Melbourne.[378] Price delivered his orders on the 29th, they deployed on the streets of the city on the 30th. No tumult of the sort that occurred in Sydney came about. As The Age insider put it: ‘arrangements had been made’ so that the Mounted Rifles ‘will not come into contact with any crowd of people’.[379]

Nicolson was still not happy. Mindful of his ‘very serious responsibilities’ and the legal penalties he believed he was subject to ‘when engaged in dispersing unlawful assemblies’, he urged Superintendent Sadleir early in September ‘not to expect military aid until the Police resources had been used and had failed’. He did not believe that Sadleir’s arrangements were sufficient or the best use of the police and since Sadleir still insisted the military was needed he, Nicolson, again collected the Lord Mayor and interviewed Minister Gillies to assert:

[On 2 September] I visited the wharf and found a crowd collected there of over 3000 men, one third at least [Nicolson’s emphasis] of whom were criminals, semi- criminals and such other men as who could only be deterred from violence … by the presence of the Police and fear of the law.

Nicolson apparently prevailed upon Gillies to have Sadleir expand the number watching the agitators. Sadleir believed the police could not act against ‘rowdies’ unless they were prepared to act unilaterally but had similarly determined that displays of force might be sufficient.[380] The Melbourne Herald on 3 September reported the previous day’s visitation of eighty mounted police and the same number of foot police as ‘a useless display’ ‘for at no time during the day was there less appearance of any disturbance’. Someone had apparently predicted a riot, despite the police on the spot saying that ‘everything was quiet’.[381] Nicolson was pleased with himself, reporting that the strengthening of the police force [by more police] ‘had a most wholesome effect, as evidenced by the peaceful appearance of the wharf all the following day’.[382]

On 15 September, the Victorian Secretary of Defence was asked by NSW Army Command for ‘a copy of any Local Act or Regulation … regarding the calling out of the Militia Forces in connection with riots’. A reply was sent on the 17th on the instructions of Collins, Secretary for Defence, that ‘we [Victoria] have no act, neither are there any clauses in our Discipline Act… providing for calling out the militia in aid of [the]civil power’.[383] On 16 September, General Order 397 was posted in Victoria’s barracks quoting sections of the (Victorian) Defences and Discipline Act, 1890, which had come into operation on 1 August.[384] Its Paragraph 17 read:

On a summons by proclamation in the Government Gazette and in all cases of actual invasion of Victoria or hostile attack thereon or upon the making of any general signals of alarm as provided in the regulations to be made as aforesaid every person whose services shall have been so engaged as aforesaid shall forthwith assemble and shall be liable to march or embark on board any ship or vessel and to serve according to the terms and conditions of the regulations to be made as aforesaid for their respective services.

This attempt to paper over the hole did not fully convince Nicholson.[385] He contacted the Military Commandant to ask whether the choice of weapon ‘lay with the Officer Commanding the Troops or himself’.[386] His Instructions asked the magistrate to provide in writing a directive to ‘charge the mob [with drawn swords, or fixed bayonets or truncheons] or to fire on the mob’ to the officer if riotous persons have not dispersed fifteen minutes after the Riot Act has been read. A further part of the Instructions read:

The military present acting with a magistrate are, in the eye of the   law, present as civilians, and have the same duties and the same responsibilities as civilians; but all are alike justified in using necessary force to disperse persons actually engaged in a riot …and for that purpose they may be armed. … if the magistrate is cool and cautious, the police and troops can incur no responsibility, and would in all likelihood, be held blameless, except in an extreme and clear case of unnecessary violence. … the magistrate, who will be always responsible, should, for his own security, wait until the danger has become so imminent that a tolerable unanimity of witnesses may be hoped for, or at least sufficient to weigh down the misrepresentation certain to be subsequently made.[387]

In the first week of November, Gillies resigned, Andrews rallied the communist-anarchist group, and the Board of Inquiry delivered its report dismissing all charges against Price to the Minister of Defence who presented it to the Executive Council on 3 November.[388] Price was not officially informed of the Inquiry’s decisions and had to write to his commanding officer on 24 November asking about his future,[389] while the search among his superiors for resolution continued. Victoria’s Military Commandant, Tulloch, was certain that ‘as soon as the Magistrate signs the order … all further action unquestionably rests on the shoulders of the Officer….[390] He agreed that differences of opinion between the magistrate and the military officer could lead to such ‘awkward’ situations as the officer being ‘tried for his life for doing his duty’. Although he had ‘never before heard such a question raised’ his concern about potential differences of opinion may have been the reason he had intended to be the ranking officer present at any reading of the Riot Act during the strike. Collins, Defence Secretary, sent Tulloch’s memo to the Crown Solicitor, John Gurner, for an opinion.[391] The government’s legal expert equivocated:

In giving the order the Magistrate to a great extent assumes the responsibility although if he orders measures which are clearly severe beyond all reasonable necessity the officer executing them is not protected and should if they are palpably uncalled for refuse to execute them …

The officer … may take more severe measures … or he may act apart from the Magistrate … and he may possibly find himself justified … but in my opinion it would be very unwise for the officer in command to incur the very great risk and responsibility he would undoubtedly incur by so doing unless the necessity for his so acting was clear beyond all doubt..[392]

On being apprised of this response Tulloch concluded ‘the opinion given practically leaves the question where it was’. He wanted something done:

As the reference to swords, bayonets, truncheons (which soldiers never carry) or firing [in the lnstructions] are different to the instructions given in the United Kingdom might I suggest that the matter be referred home..[393]

Collins minuted back that as the question was one of merely local concern and the colony a self-governing one the Minister thought it was unnecessary to refer the matter ‘home’.[394] By December, the immediate need for certainty had gone although tensions remained. Consultations over the next three months revealed to Tulloch that the other State Commanders could not help him and in March he rather pleadingly returned to Collins: ‘What I want is this. Has the Home Government any precedent to guide us...’[395]






Svensen’s ‘story of the 1891 shearers strike’ is, in comparison to its predecessors, impressively-researched but it is vulnerable to critical examination. His strongest point is in locating the Fairbairn family, in particular the Toorak-pastoralist George Fairbairn, Jnr, at the centre of strategies bent on destroying the union-movement in ‘his’ industry from sometime in October, 1890. The evidence supports what is claimed about the Fairbairns being single-minded and ruthless in pursuit of their goal, and having the biggest fingers in the plot. The evidence supports the assertions that when the main group of union leaders were arrested on conspiracy charges, the presiding Judge Harding was partial, the charges were trumped-up and the trial procedures were weighted against the defendants. It’s also reasonable to describe Acting Premier Tozer as being in breach of his constitutional oaths to uphold the law and to administer it without prejudice. Svensen’s intention to be rigorous in his assessments and even-handed in his methodology is apparent but he has not scrutinised either side closely enough.

Nairn said of Watson as we have seen, above: ‘…To him, trade unionism exemplified mateship, and was pragmatic, powerful and versatile enough to sustain Labor by adaptation to democratic pressures and changing circumstances.’ This is a good description of what the story shows that unionism/mateship were not. Defeat in 1890 was not followed by ‘adaptation…to changing circumstances’ in any State and neither ‘mateship’ nor ‘trade unionism’ were ‘pragmatic, powerful and versatile enough’ to sustain much of anything. From the time the pastoralists made their first move, the Queensland unionists were on the back-foot and they don’t ever seemed to have comprehended a need for a level of planning and organisation which might wrest back the initiative…Wm Lane…

Negative editorials might be dismissed as lies or as inevitable propaganda, but they were never going to be defeated by claims of the moral high ground or by mock-heroism. The opposition’s tactics were never probed for weaknesses or even to better mount a defense. The Town and Country Journal in February pointed out exploitable differences of opinion amongst the authorities the strikers feared most after the army. While the pastoralists’ executive and the police magistrates wanted the armed shearers, especially ‘the western unionists’, disarmed immediately and with force if necessary, Inspector Ahearn and Sub-Inspector Durham, in charge of the police, stated ‘that they have no power to disarm the unionists, and unless the strikers engage in violence’ the police will be acting illegally if they did attempt a disarming.[396] A monotone policy of non-action was imposed across all strike camps which only confused and demoralised the rank-and-file. As an industrial strategy it suited only the leadership who wanted continued power and influence. Nothing came of a mass meeting at Barcaldine which rescinded the ‘passive resistance’ policy:

            Unionist shearers left Barcaldine ‘armed to the teeth’ to prevent the               non-unionist shearers from performing their work, and it is reported that force             will be used if necessary, in fact they do not seek to disguise the fact that         unless the non-union men desist from work peacefully they will be fired upon.[397]

The imposed weakness, spun into a virtue, gave the leadership a retrospective halo but nothing tangible at the time. Any advantage they might have derived from the shearers’ discipline was eroded by their arrest and removal from the field. The next level of chief was no better suited to fill the gap. The choice of the parliamentary path, apparently made separately in each State, was not a pragmatic adaptation, it was a capitulation to and an acceptance of the victor’s terms. Neither defeat, 1890 or 1891, was analysed then, as it needed to be, nor since. Rather weaknesses are still being papered over and made out to be strengths. Svensen in his only direct reference to the dynamic of the unionism/mateship correlation wrote:

Many (‘casual pastoral workers’, his collective noun) were Australian-born; many others came from England, Ireland and Scotland…Most observers agree on two of their characteristics. The first is the laconic, but mischievous sense of humour which they possessed. The second is their sense of ’mateship’, which was both a special bond of friendship between two workers, and a more general spirit of co-operation between all bush workers.[398]

The strike camps and the Queensland Shearers Union (QSU) were particularly clear exemplars of failure to make decisions and a lack of adaptation. Their claim to success is that they ‘were highly disciplined and orderly.’ (p. 253) The men were racist, xenophobic, sexist and given to outbursts of rage. All of which has fed into the ocker Australian male view of what’s OK. At no point does ‘the story’ show either unionism or mateship as co-operative. Both were expressed in vain-glorious rhetoric, often destructive, emotional and unable to focus on the problems confronting them. The ‘casual pastoral workers’ constantly spouted about their weaponry which may as well have been so many sticks of celery, since they didn’t use them, either to make a stand or even to supply themselves with bush food when strike rations ran out, and other peoples’ live-stock was not immediately available. They spouted about ‘mateship’ and solidarity when neither was in evidence. Their only responses to the ‘strike breakers’ involved intimidation and lectures on unionism, aka ‘moral suasion’, neither of which requires a mischievous sense of humour or ‘a special bond of friendship.’ There was nothing unique about what little co-operation was shown, or the minimal degree of solidarity which was displayed.

In Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere, the unemployed were being urged and cajoled by O’Sullivan, Black and Hughes to overthrow the capitalist system, they were marching up and down with Fleming, Rosa and Andrews well before these ‘Great Strikes’ occurred. It is not conceivable that there was no awareness of a chain of supply from the city alleys to struck sheds. How were these lazy, thieving scum of the cities suddenly embraced as the answers to the pastoralists’ prayers? And the Chinese? Labour historians have refused to contemplate the mean streets as the seed-bed of ‘the movement’. Their static, materialist view has prevented them from appreciating the political dynamic of those factories of discontent, productive alike of socialists, strike breakers, and their bodyguards. Julian Stuart, one of the arrested conspirators in 1891, referred later to ‘hired fighting men’ from Sydney protecting ‘free labourers’ all the way to the shed door, ‘Jim Fogarty, pugilist’ in charge.[399] In this case, Whiteley King, Secretary of the NSW Pastoralists Union, was credited with getting the support of gangs of ‘the fancy’, as they were known when they were being calumniated for their activities in Sydney and elsewhere. Is it likely that King obtained these ‘pugilists’ through the local Labor Bureau? No-one has yet researched the source of the unemployed or any connections they might have had with the contractors who delivered them, nor their motivations, the manner in which they were recruited and transported, what happened after their stint in the sheds, whether they returned the next season, how many if any became unionists, etc, etc.

Presumably, Svensen et al would argue that the city workers transplanted to the bush epitomised attitudes opposed to the unionist/mateship correlation, and were therefore the natural choice of employers and that given time the bush camps would have moulded them all into dinki-di mates. How is it then that the socialist agitators and their supporters not only came from the same ‘anti-mateship’ source, but remained in and around it? The only attempted explanation of this conundrum has been that the socialists and their democratic tendencies were absorbed from overseas, directly or through the writings of Bellamy, etc. There were no local theorisers and socialism, in all its variants, has to be theorised and taught, otherwise it doesn’t meet the definition, which, oh look, came from overseas. The bush-unionism-mateship was locally developed and needed no theorisers and the teaching was all organic, hand-to-mouth as it were, and therefore could be exalted as uniquely Australian and marketed by nationalists looking for a brand name and logo. Perhaps certain commentators, Vance Palmer, say, were trying to make something out of the loss of control of the ALP to the ASU? It would explain why the image of mateship, the bush worker experience and the policies of the ALP all embody an exclusive, hierarchical view of maleness.

English-born journalist,‘Billy’ Lane (1861-1917), brother to ‘Ernie’, lame with poor eyesight, was almost the direct opposite of ‘Chris’ Watson’s ‘tall…athletic appearance (etc)’, as presented by Nairn, and any claim he might have to the labour pantheon has had to be undermined. He made it easy by turning his back on Australia and ‘going bush’. Any chance of seeing ‘New Australia’ as a variation on the co-operative shearers’ camp at Alice River or the government-subsidised ‘rural settlements’ for unemployed families was lost then and been buried since under psycho-babble – the Paraguay failures were his fault, the women were not ‘mates’ or commune-members were not genuine bush-people. Svensen’s conclusion was typically untenable: ‘While Lane had little impact on the course or outcome of the (1891) strike, the struggle did breathe life into a daydream which had been fermenting in his brain for some time.’ (p.223) Ernie Lane believed the settlement was to be used as a jumping-off point for a global communist take-over. What is noticeable is the number of men involved in the Queensland conflict who went to South America and how many of them and other ‘movement’ people became disillusioned with Lane and ‘the movement’ more generally. Many didn’t return to Australia, others said very little if they did.

Where the criticisms and Wm Lane’s own rhetoric appear to coincide is in the notion of a white, male leader who believes he has been chosen to show the world how to live. He called the key philosophy ‘mateship’, which amounts in practice to ‘share and share alike’ and doesn’t have to be explained – ‘a man is either straight or he’s not’. These few words encompass the essence of what Andrews and Bellamy, etc, were advocating but because of the value-judgements enclosed – ‘sharing’ and ‘straight’ – application of them produced very different results, Lane’s version being one of the more bizarre. It is biblical and cultish but entirely predictable since it was a projection of his self. It has had many counterparts in the ‘socialist literature’ but in the non-socialist as well. There is nothing uniquely Australian, or uniquely ‘feather-brained’ about it. None of its aspects should diminish his place in labour history, but should encourage deeper self-investigation and examination of labour theory.

Lane’s newspaper The Boomerang, launched in 1887 in Brisbane, immediately put him ‘off-side’ with employers. He was influential in the formation of the Australian Labour Federation [ALF] in 1889 which replaced the Trades and Labor Council in Brisbane but his ‘big picture view’ had already expanded beyond the geographic and personal limitations of his new home: ‘As early as 1889 he had corresponded with a communal settlement in Mexico, Topolobampo, and he was familiar with the North American Utopian community, Icaria, founded by followers of Robert Owen.’[400] In 1890, when the ALF and other bodies financed The Worker he became its editor, on the same wage as other staff. His movements during the 1891 strike have never been mapped. His presence at some of the meetings central to ‘the movement’s’ evolution are well known, but as he wrote Working Man’s Paradise to raise funds for those jailed, ‘secret meetings’ were hatching his plan:

On 2 May 1891 the Worker announced that the New Australia Co-operative Settlement Association had dispatched an agent, Alf Walker, formerly business manager of the Boomerang, to seek in South America the suitable land which the association had been unable to obtain in Australia.[401]

He is embedded in ‘the legend of the shearers’ strike’ –‘(Lane) plotted bloody uprising’ was a 2016 headline in a Brisbane paper.[402] When on 27 September, 1890, The Australian Workman [AW] hit the streets the editor appeared sober, respectable and learned. However, Dr Oswald Keating was a fraudster travelling under numerous false names because of police interest and unhappy creditors elsewhere. In October he embroiled himself in a slanging match over migrant Italian laborers with political exile, Francesco Sceusa. Protest meetings in the Town Hall, deputations to the paper’s backers the Labor Defence Committee and the TLC, and Sceusa’s standing in the ASL meant that by the beginning of November Keating was ‘the former editor’. He died mysteriously in a Melbourne jail in 1891 after being arrested for the rape of a 12-year old at Taylor’s house in Sydney.[403] The erudition in his editorials and the liklihood that he did not fit well with others in the Sydney press gang must cast doubt on the ‘official’ account of his fall from grace.[404]

Taylor was already well into the alcoholic stupor which ended this part of his public journey. Helping him up, and down, in the offices of Truth, Willis (1858-1922), according to his ADB entry, was another ‘singularly handsome boy with engaging manners’. ‘Restless and dynamic’, he had been elected to represent the Bourke seat as a protectionist in 1889, and remained in and around Parliament until 1905 when he fled the country to escape charges of corruption:

A rowdy, hard-drinking gad-fly and a racing crony of WP Crick…(A) ready, fluent,           forceful speaker he used parliament for his own ends (and) brought off many                remunerative coups.[405]  

‘Paddy’ Crick has been characterised as a more serious parliamentarian but as equally corrupt and a heavy drinker, an addiction which eventually killed him, as it and syphilis did Taylor. Described as ‘a stocky man with curly hair’ he apparently moved and acted like a middle-weight fighter, especially when drunk.[406] He, Willis and Norton were nominal protectionists. They stayed afloat longer than Taylor but achieved little more of movement value than he did. This clique of personable, political animals could feasibly have found a ‘murderous’ Brady at a bar, or in a fight crow. Perhaps they shared his radical aspirations enough to become involved in ‘mischief’ at the Quay. Except that Brady seems not to have turned to drink or gambling in his frustration and anger. His record suggests he threw himself into the arduous, hack work of politics and found companionship with women. The fourth activist, briefly associated with the birth-pangs of the Truth, AG Yewen, (1867-1923) does not appear to have been a drinker either. Characterised as ‘stern, uncompromising” and as “never known to smile”,[407] he was more likely to have indulged in secret visits to the Quay than Brady, Crick, Taylor, Norton or Willis. No doubt paths crossed regularly, but not always at brothels, at the track or in cheap gin houses.

Shocked by Keating’s failure, in November 1890 the AW’s Board hired WG Higgs (1862-1951), more of a christian socialist, then working as a compositor. President of the first LEL Conference in February, 1891, he stood for Parliament in June and like Brady failed to get endorsed. He resigned a few months later, disgusted he said by the infighting between ‘the movement’ factions. He is another needing rescue from careless talk of ‘anarchists’, in his case a label bestowed by Manning Clarke via Table Talk on no evidence of either a real or debased kind.[408] He seems to have emphasised co-operative ventures,[409]rather than state-directed programs. His successor, Brady, was more of a doctrinaire state-socialist but took the need for gender-equality seriously. He was quite keen on female unionists, one, Creo Stanley in particular.[410] They had met around August, 1890 and at Brady’s invitation, she became the first woman to chair an ASL meeting, 24 March, 1891,[411] and the first female delegate seated in the TLC.[412] He left his first wife to live with her at her mother’s house at this time.

In February, 1891, Bruce ‘Shoot’em Down’ Smith, Minister for Public Works and ‘Machine Gun McMillan’ were forced to retire from a Glebe constituency meeting when the audience refused to hear them. Neither had expected any trouble and had brought no ‘muscle’ with them, which was somewhat surprising.[413] The AW thought the audience was entirely made up of ‘respectable electors’, the SMH described the disturbers of the peace as a small number of rowdies with lungs powerful enough to overwhelm the others. The papers agreed that neither Rosa, nor Crick, nor Horkins was able to calm the audience long enough for the MPs to speak even when it was explained that later resolutions would be moved against the Ministers. When Smith and McMillan had left, Lindsay was elected to chair the meeting and Healy and Higgs spoke to a completely quiet and orderly hall. Clearly, neither the AW nor the SMH accurately described the audience, who were sufficiently well-read to distinguish between those ‘friends of the people’ they wished to hear and those they did not. An extended SMH editorial a few days later brought the Queensland ‘difficulty’ and the Glebe meeting together, concluding:

If the (Queensland) Government had been unequal to the emergency and had hesitated to act, disastrous events would have followed…The difference between the union shearers …and the noisy mob at the Glebe meeting is one of degree, and if the colonies are to advance and not to retrograde, the electors must see that their liberties are not taken away from them by a so-called labour party aiming at the establishment of mob-rule.[414]

Rosa had exhorted the crowd to cheer ‘the Australian Socialist Labor Party’ and was working with Brady and others to orient ‘the movement’ towards what he called ‘social democracy.’ After McNamara’s departure south in search of ‘social democrats’, February-March, 1891, and with Brady as its Secretary the ASL had introduced changes. Elocution and musical numbers preceded lectures, a library was started and a newly-styled ‘Central Executive Council’ sought government permission to run an art-union. Joseph Schellenberg, an ASL member since 1887,[415] denounced what he saw as cowardice and opportunism in the actions of ASL ‘gentlemen calling themselves Socialists’. He was particularly incensed at their dismantling the unemployment campaign begun in April. He and Andrews had been enthusiastically received at a Domain protest meeting where they stood in for the announced ASL speakers, Healy, Rosa and others who funked it, he thought, because of threatened arrest by the authorities.[416] Many in the crowd called for the singing of Andrews’ translation of the Marseillaise[417] and set off for Parliament House behind the red flag, despite police warnings.

We can assume that Andrews was under constant surveillance, either where he was living or at the offices of the Australian Socialist League which he quickly found in Sydney after having walked from Melbourne. According to his own detailed story he arrived in Sydney close to the end of 1890.[418] Rosa’s movements are less clear but he travelled north by train and, according to George Black, quickly established himself as the ASL’s ‘foremost advocate of revolutionary socialism’,[419] among an expanding membership said to be learning about socialism from ‘a philosophical book on anarchism’.[420] By April, 1891, Andrews had joined Whitthread and an unknown number of others, on Schellenberg’s flower and vegetable farm at Smithfield, an hour’s horse ride from the centre of Sydney. These formed the core of the ‘Communist-Anarchist Group of Central Cumberland’. McNamara stayed there in March and April of 1891, and Brady and Ernie Lane visited. Lane had joined the ASL as Brady became Secretary and by May 1891 they were sharing run-down rooms in Wooloomooloo, not far from the harbour and its wharves. Brady reluctantly admitted much later, after Lane’s memoirs had appeared, that the two had visited the Smithfield centre, probably soon after its establishment in April.[421]

In a May letter to McNamara, Yewen working with Wm Lane on The (Bris) Worker, described Schellenberg as ‘our old friend and comrade’. McNamara had asked Will Andrade for help in finding ‘social democrats’ in Melbourne and a cheap boarding house, but Andrade was unable to help him having been forced by the depression to move his family to rural Windsor (Vic).[422] McNamara had arranged for his mail to be forwarded to Smithfield, so perhaps he had intended to stay there but by May he was also in rural Victoria. Letters from the Cumberland group had by then appeared in the Sydney press as had an account of selective discrimination against them by the 1890 Maritime Strike Commission, which refused them a hearing preferring to treat their offer of advice as a hoax.[423] Yewen’s letter passed on ‘best wishes’ on behalf of himself, [Henry] Lawson, and [Ralph] Baynham, both of whom Yewen knew from the ASL or The Boomerang.[424] He didn’t mention AG Stephens who had also been at the paper after a stint as secretary of a Secular Society.

Yewen was not enthusiastic about the idea of an anarchist ‘operations centre’ which he had heard about from Schellenberg and to whom he wrote for more information. He thought collective living was impractical and ‘Quixotic’, and that Anarchism and Communism were as ‘substanceless superstitions as Christianity’. He considered Andrews too Utopian but liked the thought of direct action:

The use of physical force when intelligently applied I am in favour of, but that does not constitute Anarchism or lead us to its cloud lands.

He was not happy about the Queensland strike situation:

The Shearers’ strike is pretty tame now [and] if the supineness continues utter collapse must inevitably ensue: The ALF [Australian Labor Federation] is like the Socialist League, it sacrifices everything to numbers.

He disclosed that he advocated, not outright revolt, but depreciating ‘the value of the property of the enemy’ and this he said the bush workers had been doing until counselled out of it by union leaders. In Sydney in May, McMillan organised a horde, somewhere between 120 and 300, of what some called ‘committee-men’ and others described as a force of ‘healthy and strong footballers and about a dozen or so prize fighters’ to protect a pro-Federation address he had a mind to deliver. The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph placed a detachment of Permanent Artillery at Parliament House, and numerous police and plain clothes detectives in the crowd.[425] The opposition, variously described as ‘socialists’, ‘rowdies’ and ‘the statue gang’ by editorial writers, heard only his opening sentence. For three hours, disorder and fighting were so general that it’s clear that audience members were also practised street fighters. The hero of the 1889 Carruthers’ meeting (above), Sandy Ross, was among the opposition, received a kicking from the pugs led by ‘Mick’ Dooley and was ejected with a number of others. A comparatively-independent reporter wrote:

…That trouble was anticipated there is no doubt, for all the available and reliable “talent” [push members] in the city had been engaged to biff out on their oyster shell-shaped ears, any leather-lunged electors who attempted to make any disapproving demonstration…[426]

This reporter knew some of the protagonists well. Sandy Ross was ‘(a) conspicuous figure in the crowd’. His ‘instructions were to push hard and to plug often’, though it’s unclear who had given him his instructions. The reporter’s conclusion?

…There can be no reasonable doubt that Mr. McMillan’s friends invited the disturbance of Tuesday night by hiring a large body of roughs and fighting men to eject those manifesting any disapproval of him, and since their invitation was accepted they have themselves to thank for what took place. The lesson given by the freetraders has been well learnt by the anti-federationists and a section of the protection and labor party, and they are now vigorously and unfairly using the weapon which has been placed in their hands…

This reporter denounced the hypocrisy of the newspapers backing the two major factions and only complaining about their opponent’s use of hired thugs and never acknowledging their own. Estimates were being made that around 50 voters were ‘engaged in lawlessness’ out of 2000 in a single electorate like South Sydney. With an election due, Parkes’ party was attempting to deflect attention away from its own internal divisions and what was happening in Queensland with Federation legislation which in its Parksian-form would have favored the status-quo by entrenching the limited franchise. On the Monday following McMillan’s attempts, 18th May, the Speaker of the House, Edmund Barton, tried to convince an audience to listen to his line on Federation. There were no fights, since McMillan’s ‘muscle’ had proven counter-productive, but there was lots of organised noise. The SMH thought the speakers were heard, the Catholic Freeman’s Journal thought their efforts were useless against the tumult.[427]

Parkes prorogued the NSW parliament at the beginning of June and sought to make Federation the central issue. His free trade government was on the nose, the Opposition-leader, Dibbs, promised a ‘labour’ oriented program if elected, including a reasonable dispute-arbitration court. The Labour Party was particularly riven by single-tax proposals. Dibb’s first campaign meeting on 5 June was undisturbed. McMillan suffered another ‘disgraceful, ruffianly exhibition’ on 9 June but again seemed satisfied with handing the text of his address to reporters without having been heard above the din in the hall. On the 12th Dan O’Connor, the Post Master General, was showered with eggs, flour bombs ‘and other soft objects’ at one meeting but was pelted with stones at another. On the same evening, McMillan ‘silenced the opposition’ in the audience by sprinkling it with members of what was called ‘the Freedom of Speech League.’ Parkes delivered his gems to generally enthusiastic crowds organised to fill the spaces early and to eject any unpleasant attendee who had managed to obtain entry.

Upheavals happening in Sydney’s ASL, including gambling, Rosa lecturing on Greek Civilisation and the Fall of Rome and unprofitable concerts eating up time and energy were well-known in ‘the movement.’ Yewen put all of these innovations down to the ‘collection of well-meaning incapables and boodlers’ in charge:

Socialism and its practical working out is becoming as foreign to the Australian Socialist League as gaity [sic] and joyousness is to our capitalistic, anti-social life.

Brady later recalled ‘months of angry discussion, quarrels, expulsions, secessions and over-heated debate’ which went on between what he called the ‘constructively socialistic group’ and the other ‘influenced by Communist or Anarchistic philosophy’.[428] Newspaper reports show that in April, 1891, he spoke in the Sydney Domain with Watson and a host of others in support of the Queensland shearers. In June, with the election called, he was balloted 5th out of 12 for the West Sydney Branch of the LEL and failed to progress. He was not impressed by the manner in which he’d been beaten nor by what followed. In June, Higgs alleged that he, Hephers and Flowers had been offered substantial bribes by Protectionist operatives to stand aside. When asked, Dibbs scoffed at the suggestion, saying it was ‘an electoral dodge’. He thought the Labor Electoral League (LEL) was:

(a) gang of sweat-rag politicians, (an) aggregation of anarchists, hooligans and revolutionaries who have neither followers, funds or even loyalty.[429]

After the election, he saw the 36 successful ‘labour men’ as both a threat and a stepping stone to power. He recognised that most were green in the ways of parliamentary business and engineered a vote which split them along factional lines. The positive excitement of sudden parliamentary success within ‘the movement’ changed to anger against their own. Parliamentary candidates who had missed out the first time around suddenly had stronger motivation for gaining control of a ‘labour’ launching pad. The 36 were especially vulnerable to the machinations of the ‘brothers’ behind the ASL renovations, but for those ‘outs’ to become ‘ins’ the less crowd-pleasing elements in the League had to be neutralised. So while Dibbs and Parkes competed to get the new MPs onside, Rosa and J.D. Fitzgerald, the authors of the motion to discontinue the unemployed agitation, prepared another to prevent anyone having any criminal record from speaking on an ASL platform, and a third to exclude anarchists from the League altogether.

Michael Healy, previously a prominent ASL member, was targeted by someone with access to his criminal record which found its way into the public pages.[430] Joseph Coll, enthusiastic member of the Labor Defence Committee, the LEL, and of the Trades and Labor Council [TLC], tabled a motion in July that all ‘professed anarchists’ withdraw from the League. A large attendance of ASL members heard lengthy arguments but no vote was taken.[431] At a second meeting, ‘the motion which has caused a good deal of interest in Labour circles’, was carried. Andrews, Whitthread, Schellenberg and others withdrew.[432] Among those who didn’t leave were George Garton, long-time Sydney activist against Chinese immigration, who had written to the press advocating ‘rational, philosophic’ anarchism,[433] and W.J. Sharpies, colleague of Andrews in Melbourne, and President of the NSW Boot Trade Union, who had espoused an individualistic anarchist view.[434] There was also a man named Brown(e) later exposed as  a government informer and the link to Brady’s bombs. Ernie Lane much later reminded Brady that ‘when ‘the rebel element’ of which you were the head, of the Socialist League were defeated under the leadership of the unspeakable SA Rosa and JD Fitzgerald, MLA, I abandoned the League in disgust.’[435] Rosa took over as ASL Secretary, and later insisted that Brady had made a strong speech supportive of the anarchists but this has not been confirmed. Brady later said he was no longer an ASL member,[436] yet in another place he claimed he ‘was in the [ASL] chair when the first Parliamentary cleavage [in the Party] took place’.[437] He claimed that he had pawned a gold watch to pay for his and Rosa’s failed pre-selection applications to the West Sydney electorate.[438]

Yewen and Baynham came to Sydney in the latter half of the year and joined Petrie, Ernie Lane and Sceusa in a ‘secret conspiratorial group’ meeting at Rose Summerfield’s house. Lane later was mock heroic concerning their ‘somewhat indefinite plans regarding the most effectual means to adopt to shake the thrones of the mighty’.[439] With experience in the Melbourne ASA, and a link between conspiratorial groups, Petrie had lost an already-damaged arm through a fight with a non-unionist in southern NSW.[440] Another member of the ASA and Symes-supporter in Melbourne, Summerfield (1864-1922) had married in 1886 and moved to Sydney. Her husband died in 1890, leaving her with resources and the time to express her ‘impassioned mix of socialism, temperance and women’s rights.’ Sceusa[441] (1851-1919)had organised for the Internationale in Sicily but, forced to leave, came to Sydney where he edited the Italo-Australiano (1884-5) and set up a short-lived Socialist Club. Trained as an engineer, he worked in the NSW Lands Department. In 1891 he established an Italian Workman’s Mutual Benefit Society which he said was just like an Odd Fellows lodge. He and his Italian fraternal brothers were responsible for the first ‘May Day’ celebration in Australia, in 1891[442], and crusaded against contracted Italian immigrants being sent to Queensland sugar farms.

Lane’s description of the group’s end is as vague as his reference to its intent: ‘Like many other desperate efforts … our scheming never fructified, and in the course of a short time became dissipated and vanished’. The deliberate lack of clarity hides the fact that the group did not simply break up, having achieved nothing. The secret courier service through Brady might have been disbanded but common sense insists that it went to another level, if only because the need was greater than before. Unless it was more a “Boy’s Own”, youthful aspiration than a serious reality, which is possible, it involved many more participants than Brady, and decisions about it would have been made higher up the movement’s chain of command. His appointment as editor of The Australian Workman on 5 September is proof he still had influential friends. Lawson, already well-known as the poet vilified by conservative Queensland MP Brentnall in July for having encouraged revolution, visited him in the AW offices in October. Lawson’s published response to the parliamentary attack was to laugh so loudly that ‘all the boarders came to see what I was laughing at’.[443] The paper began serialising Kropotkin’s ‘Appeal to the Young’ and picked out local labor decentralisers like Peter McNaught for praise and on 2nd October it reported an anarchist gathering in a way which blurred the line between correspondent (Andrews?)and the editor:

[A] conference of anarchists was held on Tuesday night, 13th, at the group operating centre at Smithfield to take into consideration matters connected with the propaganda. It was resolved in view of the enlargement of operations to establish a distinct propagandist group apart from all other considerations.

There is no sense of any editorial opposition:

The Mildura (Vic) group forwarded the sum of 10/- towards the propaganda fund. Since the initiation of the movement about 5000 leaflets of various sorts, some of which have received considerable notice have been distributed. The local centre has been supplied with numerous selections of anarchist literature and a good deal of foreign sources is on the road. It was decided to hold a conference of those interested in the anarchist movement, whether connected with the group or not, every second Tuesday, commencing on the 27th inst., and also a special conference at an early date to provide for the fitting celebration of the 11th November.

There is even a sense of positive regard:

The meeting concluded with the singing of anarchist songs. We are given to understand that the anarchists are strengthening their numbers, in order, as our enthusiastic correspondent put it ‘to take active measures on a more extensive scale’.[444]

This was too much for his factional enemies. The paper suddenly began repudiating anarchists as ‘fanatical and suicidal’.[445] Noticeably, the change came after an ASL protest by letter[446] and by a deputation to the AW Board. The directors were quizzed about editorial policy and informed that a Brady report of an ASL executive meeting had been untrue. Sinclair, who had spoken against the ASL anarchists in July, informed Brady[447] that Rosa would be providing ASL reports in future. Truth in November revived Rosa’s 1889-1890 provocations and dubbed him a ‘revolutionary anarchist’.[448] It followed up with a claim he was going to Melbourne to organise a ‘League of the Just’[449] of ‘lumpen proletariat’, the casually employed, the unemployed, the criminal ‘classes’, and the homeless. Barricades, looting of stores and seizure of mansions were, it said, in his plans. Brady had resigned rather than accept Rosa’s oversight and went across to Truth. The AW Board, free since August from TLC direction, brought in George Black as editor to begin in December. Black, a Dibbs-supporter and already a leading labor MP, was a friend of Rosa. He was keen to get an editorial chair to return fire against his enemies, especially Norton who was discussing Black’s personal affairs being aired in the courts.

At the ASL in November Lindsay brought new charges against Rosa, alleging his complicity in the betrayal of the Chicago anarchists and asserting he had used the SDF in Melbourne to get money. Lindsay lost the first round and was expelled.[450] He then retracted, saying he was drunk at the time, and was re-admitted on a Holman motion that there had been too many expulsions lately. Lindsay then repeated the charges and was re-expelled when he was unable to produce any evidence.[451] Rosa, who claimed Brady feared he was after the editorship of the Workman, said that he ‘was never an anarchist and never belonged to any anarchist organisation’:

In the next place Mr Brady was the paid Secretary of the Socialist League until domestic matters caused him to resign. He still retained his membership and became the champion and protagonist of the Anarchists in whose favour he writes doggerel, and on the night of their expulsion he made a special rhetorical effort on their behalf, but was defeated owing to the speeches of J.D. Fitz­gerald and myself. Mr Edwin J. Brady and the other anarchists attribute the expulsion mainly to what I said against the wild, visionary and impracticable tactics of the Anarchists.

Rosa said he had been in Chicago for only half a day in 1886, that he ‘was never in any police force, public or private’, that he was ‘never at any time openly or secretly in relations with the anarchists in Chicago or elsewhere’, but that he ‘took a prominent part in attempting to organise the forcible release of the anarchists’. Believing in their innocence he, with others, attempted to organise an armed expedition to Chicago of 10,000 men in detachments of 500, moving to surround the jail on a specific date and freeing the prisoners. The scheme was not carried out because of its impracticality, the antipathy of native [ie, US-born] Americans and English-speaking immigrants to the condemned men, and lack of funds. He denied that he had changed his name since his English Social Democratic days, claimed that he had made speeches in California defending the anarchists and he showed his membership cards for the Knights of Labor and the Socialist Labor Party of America.[452]

He said that if he ‘favoured any anarchism it was the communist kind. But the whole theory was un­scientific and absolutely impracticable, as long as men were constituted and moulded as at present’.[453] He said he was against physical force unless it was going to succeed! In the United States in 1886, he said, the anarchists other than Parsons only talked revolution. Parsons had organised a Society for Mutual Instruction which at April 1886 had 1,500 well-drilled men.[454] Letters of support for Rosa from Dudley Flinn and Louis Gross of the Verein Vorwart both in Melbourne appeared in Truth. In the first of two letters/interviews in Truth Andrews said he thought Lindsay had made his accusations up.[455]David Andrade wrote to confirm Andrew’s version.[456] He reported that Andrews had written to him asking him to expose Rosa and Rosa had written asking him to expose Andrews. He, Andrade, said that he knew of no substantiating evidence for Lindsay’s claims, but since being a politician didn’t require honour why shouldn’t Rosa, whose motives he suspected more than Andrews at whose hands he had yet suffered more, aim for parlia­ment.

The Rosa-smear campaign has led historians to exaggerate his importance, it has undermined the impact of work being done by other activists,[457] and it has assisted in the losing of an ideological difference. The socialism celebrated by labour historians has been ‘state socialism’ because that has been their preference. But even the qualified term is capable of many interpretations which is why it was being strenuously debated. Activists expressed their preferences in their efforts, and to ignore the detail is to distort the struggle for dominance. Today’s intellectuals may believe that the agitators back then didn’t know their Marx from their elbow but they need a better grasp on their subjects than they appear to have before they make that sort of judgement.[458]

Black, years later, described the persons who brought charges against Rosa as anarchists and revolutionists. They were ‘agin everything and everybody …Their charges were without foundation and when they were revived by Truth[459] I went into the witness box … in [Rosa’s] favour which extracted an apology from Norton, [a damages award of £15], and an offer of employment for Rosa.’[460] Presumably this includes Norton. Losing only a farthing’s damages, in his view, ‘Norton plunged into a great booze-up…Truth was without an editor and the difficulties of its staff were aggravated by Norton’s practice of lurching round the office with a revolver.’[461] Management arrangements at Truth were deliberately opaque and fluid, but it was not the only major newspaper which had open editorial in-trays.

In the Workman Black wrote that Brady was the man ‘who preaches anarchy and writes anarchistic poems’ yet ‘inconsistently’ had taken his estranged wife to court for assault:

Up-to-the-knees in blood, barricade fighter, Brady, the individual who has travelled for 2 years on the alleged loss of a 30s billet having given evidence of his inability to run Workman is now giving strong testament of his capability to run it down.[462]

In labelling all of his opponents – Norton, Brady and Andrews and all the others who were suspicious of Rosa – as ‘anarchist’ he exposes his poor judgement. Notably, however, he accused Brady of the same weakness Andrews was to highlight in 1897,that the loss of his ‘30s billet’ had been used to gain undeserved credit.

Rosa was a walking contradiction inviting investigation. He espoused both revolution and social democracy, he aroused suspicion among agitators by having no known job but always having money and he was always in vigorous competition with his labour ‘brothers’, other wannabe MPs. All of which resulted in his being attacked as an anarchist by the less radical and as a fraud by the more radical. In January, further charges were brought against him by Hickman for misappropriation of ASL funds. An enquiry absolved him of fraud but reported that the ASL books had not been kept properly. Rosa resigned, according to Truth because the ASL executive decided to move to cheaper surroundings and not pay any office bearers at all.[463] Clearly the renovations had not worked.

Rosa moved to Melbourne and tried for a Victorian electorate. The southern metropolis was supposedly politically quiet at this time. Historians have written that those thrown idle by a collapsed economy simply moved north where they served as strikebreakers. Melbourne’s newspapers ignored months of protests and Australia’s first May Day celebration for political reasons, and historians have accepted the result without querying the cause. On 5 December, the following ‘Melbourne’ item appeared in Sydney:

The very latest here is the ‘Industrial Army’.

It put out an announcement on Thursday ‘Reading of the Articles of War Mobilisation of Troops’. As soon as the Army is sufficiently strong, Society on the Bellamy basis is to be established in Victoria. Then it will march north to the redemption of NSW and Queensland.

On Sunday afternoon they drew up in line of battle at Studley Park. They called to their ranks all workers irrespective of occupation.

They would organise men politically and industrially. They would have a labor sheet and a Labor Bureau, through which members could get employment free of charge. Next week they promise to have a march past, a first class band and a big banner.[464]

Labour scholars have credited Rosa with this ‘Army’ which didn’t happen, and have failed to see the agitation which did. The above is one of only two press references to ‘The Industrial Army’. A meeting to establish it was reported in a country newspaper, the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, also in New South Wales. It said the meeting was held ‘in a room at the Temperance Hall’ in Melbourne where the chairman was ‘Mr CE Whelan’ for whom I have no other information. That brief report had no references to ‘marching north’ or ‘redemption’ or ‘a line of battle’ and the belligerent intent is not in the relevant Bellamy book, Looking Backward, either. That may, therefore, be a sign of someone’s misconception or another fraud. The name is from the book but it was also a play on ‘the Salvation Army’, then rousing crowds and controversy throughout Australia as General Booth sought support for his scheme to transport English poor to the colonies. Bellamy’s ideas had been debated nationally for over 12 months. Both his and ‘the Army’s’ projected schemes can be dismissed as utopian, and they were, but they were genuine schemes attractive to many battling families and political idealists.

Against a background of distress among the bush workers, the ‘swarming’ unemployed in all the principal cities and towns heard the press describe them as ‘the scum and offal of society’. They heard shearers’ delegate Toomey from Young (NSW) describe the situation in his district as close to revolution. Truth in March asked its readers to note: ‘how loudly and unanimously his [Toomey’s) daring words were applauded to the echo in that Parliament of Labor.’[465] Perhaps replacing Andrade who resigned after only a few meetings, Rosa served as Committee Member on the Reverend Tucker’s Village Settlement Scheme,[466] an idea he had supported in Sydney at least once.[467] David Andrade’s attempt to influence the 1892 April election, a two-page supplement in the C & WA covering land and money reform, and vegetarianism, and launching his Social Pioneering Company, made his attitudes to political Labor clear: ‘No political machinery can destroy the evils which the political machinery brought about’.[468] Just fourteen months later he was in the bush at Sassafras (Victoria) clearing land for a lean-to shack before his family joined him. The story of that struggle, of unalloyed heroism, tragedy and governmental bastardry, ended for him in a long, slow decline and death in 1928.[469]

Dibbs had won the NSW parliamentary numbers battle in October when the ‘labour’ bloc failed to support Parkes’ Coal Mines Regulation Bill and he, ostensibly a protection­ist and sympathetic to labour, began his period of dictatorship.





Burgmann has emphasised the widespread 1890’s expectation that a socialist society was more than possible, it was imminent, but she did not follow through to the obvious consequence, the political dynamic this must have set up within ‘the movement’ and around it. Many ‘socialists’ were desperate to see that Australian cities did not emulate Chicago, or the numerous European cities seemingly besieged by ‘bloodthirsty anarchists’ in the years following and recoiled at the juxtaposition. Others thought that the northern hemisphere was showing the way forward. They argued, exchanged books and tried to co-ordinate their thinking with their acting. An agitation to get government work for unemployed Sydney men begun in January by a ‘J Gardner’, persisted and grew to a point where ASL personnel took it over. Their public face ‘W Lee’ was asked on 11th February about rumours going round about insecure banks to which he said he replied that he’d heard them but hoped they weren’t true. The next morning’s newspapers blamed him for causing a run on the Savings Bank of NSW begun the previous day and had resulted in 50,000 pounds worth of gold leaving with anxious customers. Lee, a delegate to the TLC was harassed and humiliated by Brennan and other Council heavies, apparently for causing unnecessary panic. The run had started hours before Lee spoke at the statue, but the incident highlighted the tension between the LEL and the TLC which was, particularly, opposed to any activity on behalf of the unemployed.[470] It also highlighted how the tremulous nature of public affairs was being shaped and fought over in the press. A reporter from the Illustrated Sydney News supposedly going home from work around 9.00pm passed on at that hour what he claimed to hear a statue speaker say about the need for account holders to withdraw their money from ‘a Bank in Barrack street’. This was apparently enough for the next day’s dailies, for Dibbs to be asked questions in parliament and out, for the Bank to issue a number of statements and for Lee to be taken severely to task. The unfortunate unemployed, variously described as ‘anarchists’, ‘ruffians’ and ‘loafers’, received free rail passes to leave town and the bank ‘returned to normal’.

The ‘beat-ups’ and the lurid headlines made local manifestations of anarchy or anarchism a major problem for everyone in ‘the movement’. The undeniable, negative use of the terms has overshadowed their positive use and the widespread interest in the local personalities engaging with the same dilemmas. Whether being cursed, praised or manipulated, ‘anarchism’ or ‘anarchy’ were words which everyone thought they knew something about. The overseas reports fed into crowd energies and gave direction to agitation. When Queensland Cabinet members alleged assassination plots against them in July, claims they later said resulted from overwork, they were playing inside that socialist/anarchist dynamic.[471] When The Sydney Morning Herald attached local ‘revolutionary’ speeches to ‘sensational’ 1st May messages from Europe, it did so with purpose:

Extensive Precautions in Paris      The City In a State of Siege

The Shops Everywhere Closed         Extensive Military Precautions

Numerous Arrests of Anarchists…[472]

The SMH could not know that while it was exploiting what it thought was a short-term phenomenon it was adding to the drama around ‘May Day’ and ensuring its longevity. In Melbourne, Fleming’s approach emphasised parades and self-help, the libertarian alternative to disciplined workers and lectures of industrial production. He reminded his audience of the sense of celebration the first May Day parade in Chicago had had in 1886 – ‘marching bands of un-uniformed working men and women’ in ‘great festivals and musical pageants through garlanded streets and pleasure gardens’.[473] Meals were cooked and served by the unemployed themselves on the banks of the Yarra using a system of meal tickets. Women were prominent and held their own meetings. Doubtless this is where the romance between McNamara and the woman later designated the ‘mother of Australian socialism’ developed. ‘The Salvage Corps’ – groups of unemployed, dodging bullets on at least one occasion – forcibly returned furniture to people evicted or forced to give up furniture to bailiffs in lieu of rent.[474] The police regularly intervened against the daily and nightly demonstrations, ‘banners flying and torches flaring’. Sixty officers and men shepherded one,[475] and a plain-clothes Constable Wardley was permanently on surveillance duty. Reports quote Fleming, Mellor and Flinn urging the poor to take what they wanted, squat in houses, smash windows, visit Toorak and St Kilda and ‘drop a bob’.[476] John White, urging ‘one man, one rifle’ was supposedly ‘of little consequence’ yet he was often arrested, usually on flimsy charges, eg, on 11 July 1892 for handing out Andrews’s manifesto which, it was claimed, had no publisher’s imprint.[477]

Andrews has left striking descriptions of the hovels he and Fleming shared, hovels made a little cheaper by the anti-rent agitation.[478] Fleming perhaps fancied himself a parliamentary billet and was speaking regularly on behalf of the Single Tax. The Workman in February suggested he, in Fitzroy, and Rosa and Flinn in South Carlton could all get PPL nominations, the same month incidentally that Winspear became a Hamilton (NSW) town councillor.[479] In March, Melbourne Punch attacked the labor movement in general with a collection of outrageous cartoons, and text, about ‘King Working Man’.[480] The Argus reported the Fitzroy PPL ballot for pre-selection going to Rosa and Moffatt after two ballots, with Fleming third. Editorially, the paper called Rosa a ‘journeyman agitator’, ‘anarchist’ and ‘perhaps the worst example of the destructive communist we have in our midst’. Rosa retorted that his speeches were echoing Cardinal Manning’s words that the starving were justified in breaking the law.[481] His nomination was then rejected by the Central Executive of the PPL because of the furore and because a letter came from Fitzroy PPL. He then blamed Fleming for the loss of the nomination and had him, Fleming, deposed as president of Fitzroy PPL. Fleming then publicly abused Rosa from his Yarra Bank ‘stand’ and the dispute became physical.

Whether piqued at not gaining pre­selection, Fleming continued the activities that had earned him the label of ‘uncrowned king of the unemployed’.[482] He was beaten again, this time by ‘pugilists’ hired by ‘liberal’ candidate and lawyer Best and was in bed for a week. He wrote that: ’If force had been used at a Labor candidate’s meeting we would never have heard the end of it.’[483] The Commonweal and Workers Advocate (C & WA – Aug 1891-Oct 1892), the official organ of the Victorian TLC, was supportive of Fleming and contemptuous of Rosa.[484] In April, the Argus re-printed a long, critical editorial titled ‘History of the Trades Hall Political Movement’ as a pamphlet. In it ‘socialist Rosa’ is one of a group of ‘rash and mischievous men who are a danger to society’.[485] Using him as the measure and ‘one man-one vote’ as the alleged strategy, the item insists that the election of any of these men would result in a series of frightening consequences:

No strike can be successful so long as order is preserved, therefore the intention is to manacle the executive in view of coming fights between capital and labour …If the Trades-Hall is opposed there will be bloodshed, and all the time the police and the military will be kept in barracks.

At a meeting he initiated[486] and chaired as the first open air ‘May Day’ meeting in Melbourne, ‘Chummy’ (Fleming) jokingly moved a resolution thanking the National Association of the Patriotic League and the Employers’ Union for ‘the valuable revolutionary and democratic work’ they had done during recent Victorian and Queensland elections by moving to exclude thousands of working men from the electoral rolls. He saw these attempts as argument for ‘universal labor federation and national co-operation’.[487] His motion was seconded by ‘Mr Lee of Sydney’ and supported by Knights of Labor missionary from the USA, WW Lyght. The first resolution, expressing solidarity with workers internationally and protesting the plutocratic policy of ‘bayonets, bullets, police plots and wholesale disenfranchisements’, was moved by McNamara and seconded by Dr Maloney MP. McNamara spoke against anarchists and for socialism, while Maloney said he himself was not an anarchist but deeply respected Kropotkin and Spencer, who were.[488] Trenwith, newly-elected leader of the Victorian ‘labor’ MPs[489] was publicly repudiated at Fleming-chaired meetings:[490]

Dr Maloney and D.R. Wylie are the only labor members that really assist the unemployed. Trenwith who wears a bell-topper, says the leaders are not respectable.[491]

The Bulletin maintained its cynical, but anti-authority approach:

As matters stand at present, there have been about three genuine Anarchist plots discovered, and two of them were apparently fomented and created by Government spies …Also several police officers have ‘found bombs’ in several places and been rewarded for their courage and vigilance, and so long as the rewards hold out, they will continue to discover bombs…[492]

Lawson wrote of ‘May Day in Europe’ for this issue of The Bulletin. One verse ran:

This is not the petty struggle of a State against a State,

            But a Universal Rising of the victims of the Great!

            Here they Come!

            Oh! Here they Come!

            They have lived, my God! and suffered in the cabin and the slum!

            Here they Come!

Petrie’s motion was the first put at a day-time meeting organised by the ASL but boycotted by the TLC where he asked the crowd to affirm the 1889 Paris resolution of the International Labour Congress suggesting 1 May be celebrated throughout the world.

Petrie, Sceusa, Fleming and White, among other advocates of ‘May Day’, have not become labour history ‘darlings’ because of it being in conflict for hearts and minds with the longer-standing celebration of ‘eight hours day’ by trade unionists. For all the TLC’s knew, May 1 may have been a conspiracy by labour’s enemies to undermine their struggle for better working conditions. (I have detailed the broader conflict in my PhD thesis, Carnival and Labour History…etc, Newcastle U, 1994) This reaction was understandable if short-sighted and unhealthy when solidarity was required. There was also the difficult fact that the advocates of May Day were defining industrial struggle differently, and where that class analysis was being modified, by the Webbs, for example, the gap between what the TUs might except and what the May Day lot were claiming, widened not narrowed. The rank-and-file trade union activist just about got his head around the debates over political representation but his organisation was a protective fraternal society, not an outward-looking universal faith. Getting a stable, competent TLC up was hard enough, get me a shorter working day and I’ll think about what comes next.

The labour wannabes who had little or no urban trade union background were almost as foreign to a rank-and-file unionist as a non-english language speaker and Hughes, Holman and the rest had to work very hard to be accepted as possible representatives, but in the meantime, they had to keep the ‘May Dayers’ on side since their’s was the more attractive ideology, and they had the energy.

In May, 1891, Brady was probably writing Truth editorials since Norton was in court defending his case against Black before 29 June and on an extended ‘booze-up’ afterwards, but the paper’s anti-anarchist rhetoric retains the same style throughout. That of 1 May 1892, a long piece called ‘Socialism and Anarchy’, must feature in any collection of the tawdriest of anti-anarchist polemics. It held that the police were probably paying people to betray socialism and that the most likely place to find such people was among those talking anarchy:

(All) ignorant and vicious people are Anarchists. … [most] prisoners in gaol are Anarchists and most Anarchists who are not in gaol ought to be. Socialists properly speaking are, for the most part, radical social reformers; of a most extreme type, if you will, but nevertheless peaceful Revolutionists.

In June, another long Truth article, ‘One Man, One Rifle versus One Man, One Gatling’, agreed with a Bulletin comment that calls for ‘one man, one rifle’ were absurd since the opposition controlled the cannon and was prepared to use them. It quoted the Scientific American at length on ‘The Mob Queller’ or ‘police-gun’, designed to fit on a patrol wagon, alongside material from Ignatius Donnelly’s Caesar’s Column describing the use of the military by ruling groups to control society. The article’s message seemed to be:

As soon as Democracy can seize the political machine it will be strong enough to seize the military machine; and when it is strong enough to do that, it won’t need to use it.

Truth rejected McNamara’s Melbourne items at this time on the grounds that they were too fiery – ‘more like the contribution of a madman’ – and teeming with libels. In June, Truth reprinted part of a handbill distributed in the city by an unnamed person, but clearly Andrews, said to be part of ‘the Smithfield group’. It is printed as it appeared in the rough type of the Anarchy newsletters prepared by Andrews and Schellenberg for distribution in November 1891 and January 1892:

… we don’t advocate any organised conspiracy to overthrow the existing powers, as such is likely to be disappointing and contains the germs of new authority. We can simply advise each to make as many converts as he can do without more risk than he is prepared to incur, till the extension of our ideas among the people makes it easier to act more boldly. And at length, in answer to some act of tyranny, will come the spontaneous irresistible man-storm of revolution that will sweep want and oppression from the land, and the martyrs of the past will be avenged by victory…[493]

Truth accurately described the Cumberland group’s location and its history and went on to say that such pamphlets had been handed out in the Domain over the last twelve months or so on Sunday afternoons or at polling booths, often headed ‘Neither God, nor Law nor Property’. The paper described the group as consisting of the handbill’s author, ‘The Messiah of the Coming Revolution’, and eight followers, and spoke of the type being cut from floor-boards with a knife and the handbills being printed with condensed milk.[494] Below a portrait of Andrews, on 10 July it provided his response and a particularly lucid exposition of anarchism. Towards the end he wrote:

I know nothing of the present Smithfield group and some of the literature circulated was written and produced by the primitive processes mentioned, altogether independently of me. My only connection with any other anarchists is that of friendly correspondence and such co­-operation in the propaganda as is occasionally practicable … we all work separately. [There are] now numerous communist anarchists in all the colonies and at least a dozen earnest propagandists at work far and wide … Anarchy has no Messiahs, for it comes not to death but to life …

In the same issue a further letter from Andrews arguing against the use of bombs and explosives by revolutionists is turned into an article by the use of a heading, ‘Bombs and Explosives’. He concluded:

Hence, let revolutionists think as much as they like about means of personal and collective security in cases of emergency, but to study armaments of warfare as their enemies do is to my mind both useless and absurd.

On 17 July Truth continued the assault with a column purportedly of recipes for chemical explosives widely distributed by a ‘Sydney anarchist’ said to be one of the Central Cumberland Anarchist Group on his way to Broken Hill to speak about ‘anarchist methods’ to miners on strike there since 4 July.[495] On 24 July a letter from Andrews dated 19 July at Notting Hill Road, Rookwood (west of Sydney) appeared saying that members of the group would doubtless like to go to Broken Hill, but it was most unlikely that they would go to blow up something. Firstly, it was not anarchist philosophy, secondly, either the miners were already convinced or not of the need to blow something up, either way ‘dynamitards’ won’t change their minds, and, thirdly, the miners had their own dynamite. The letter points out that someone else must have given Truth the recipes which were from a Johan Most pamphlet available in many places. A new French-language weekly, Courier Australien had provided the ‘Anarchist’ formula of 75 parts of nitro-glycerine, 15 parts of powdered charcoal and 10 parts of nitrate of potash reduced to powder, while elsewhere, in English, it taught people how to read French.[496]

In mid-year, probably late-July, Brady was sacked from Truth by incoming editor, Traill, and turned to the Sunday Times and the Bird O’Freedom which Andrews believed were ‘practically produced in the police office’.[497]

On 9 July, 1892 McNamara married Matilda Kalkstein, now known as ‘Bertha McNamara’ in Melbourne. She is a major, missing link in this story. That she has not been treated as important to ‘the origin story of the ALP’ means there are still numerous questions. To quote her ADB biographer, Verity Burgmann[498], the death of her first husband in 1888 had left her ‘with few resources…At this difficult time in her life, she turned to radical politics. In Hobart in 1891…she published Home Talk on Socialism, one of the earliest socialist pamphlets produced in Australia…After their wedding, the pair travelled to Sydney, where they opened a bookshop in Castlereagh Street that became a famous gathering-point for radicals.’ Setting up and stocking the shop with the many thousands of ‘progressive titles’ they reportedly kept would have required a deal of money. Burgman says that ‘Bertha ran a boarding house in conjunction with the shop’ but any income from that would have taken time to accumulate. In any event, her importance to ‘the movement’ in general and to the anarchist section in particular was that she was from overseas and no doubt knew numerous languages: ‘Practical and kind, she fed and housed many new migrants from Europe until they found employment.’ Andrews wrote later:

In Sydney, the anarchists…were nearly all foreigners, German, English Chartists or from Victoria, the only agitator of any fame born [in NSW] was of Swiss extraction. Even now the anarchist movement remains in Sydney a foreign movement … for the most part French by birth or by extraction. The anarchist movement of Queensland which is due to agitations created in NSW is mostly…of native Queenslanders…In South Australia … there are now a large number of German anarchists.[499]

There are other scattered references to non-Anglo radicals. Before John Wren became a rich and powerful figure in Melbourne’s 20th century underworld he was trailed in the 1890’s by police informers paid 5/6d per day. He recalled ‘a voluble Russian-Finn, who claimed he was an anarchist (addressing) a wild Friday night meeting in Russell Street’ saying that he’d smash ‘every street light in the city’ to protest the government’s treatment of the unemployed.[500] Ernie Lane in Dawn to Dusk remembered that the ASL displayed mainly foreign language magazines. Not surprisingly, ‘The (McNamara bookshop’s) backroom and the reading room above the shop were scenes of almost constant activity and discussion.’ Extended, it became the barracks for the Active Service Brigade. Bertha herself:

advocated a decentralized form of socialism, where working-class people would create a better society by assuming control of their immediate environment, as producers and as consumers. Only when socialism had already been built up from below would it be safe to direct the state to nationalize the means of production, distribution and exchange. Labor politicians could not be trusted.’

At some stage, Petrie had moved to Wagga Wagga and worked with WW Head and Rae on The Hummer, and for the General Labourers’ Union. First issued on 19 October 1891, the paper was set up by the local branch of the ASU. Head, secretary of the Wagga Branch of the ASU in 1891 circulated to farmers’ organisations information about the US Knights sharing resources and agendas with such bodies.[501] In early 1892, Petrie was noted doing ‘good work’ for the GLU and for the LEL Organising Committee, Murrumbidgee Branch, for which he was a delegate to the Sydney January conference.[502] He attended a committee meeting for the ASU, Wagga Branch, on 10 April and in the same month he was appointed secretary-organiser for the GLU in Sydney.[503] When the GLU shifted offices to Sydney in May it became the AWU and Petrie’s services were ‘no longer required’ and he had gone into the country with a mate, the latter doing odd jobs, sharpening saws etc, while Petrie secured the customers.[504] Petrie said they found little work so they returned to Sydney. There he was engaged by the AWU to organise seamen, sewerage workers and miners. He worked with Rose Summerfield on social get-togethers and an independent labour bureau for the unskilled, semi-skilled and un-organised.[505] She was appointed a female organiser from 1 August, and she contributed to Hummer and its successor, The (Sydney) Worker.

Creo Stanley was being subjected to constant male harassment. Her running of a Co-operative Laundry in Sydney’s backstreets at Pyrmont was subjected to two TLC inquiries both of which found against her for what appear to be unreasonable reasons. She and her supporters refused to appear or to turn over the Co-op books to anyone but Truth, that is, Brady. She described the laundry’s workings as ‘communistic’:

The girls … [provide] their meals on the premises,  living  and laboring in harmony without the intervention of unnecessary authority, and dividing equally among them­selves weekly the net profits resulting from their labors.[506]

In February, Truth described a TLC meeting at which argument between the LELs and the TLC included a reference to Brady being refused entry to an LEL because he was an anarchist. Subsequently he gained admission as a storeman delegate, after Watson and Roche supported him.[507] In March 1892, he was named by AW as Truth’s ‘theatre critic’.[508] Not long after, claiming considerable anarchist influence on ‘the Party’ which, he said was already weakened by parasitic opportunists, he and Stanley left ‘the movement’.[509] Disgusted by those with their ‘fingers in the dish’,[510] they moved in with her mother in Redfern. They were married in 1895, the day after divorce from his first marriage was completed. Some have read this to mean that Brady left politics behind in 1891 and became a writer of non-political topics. They forget that in his own words it was not till ‘early 1893’ that he ‘gave anarchy a wide berth.’ He was involved with Truth from December, 1891 until approximately July 1892 and as we will show continued his polemical jousting.

Indicative of the internal debate is AW’s material in 1892 during the tenures of both Higgs and Brady. One was a Kropotkin ‘Domestic Slavery’ article,[511] another was Ernie Lane’s memorial column on ‘the Chicago Anarchists’,[512] a third was Ravachol’s trial speech in France, made available to AW by Alphonse Muller, himself anti-anarchist.[513] This speech was also printed in the Brisbane Workman and the Tasmanian Democrat.[514] The Workman accompanied the mention of this repetition with a Freedom (UK)-derived piece on Ravachol which is totally positive about this alleged grave-robber and murderer of old men whom French anarchists were uneasy about supporting. ‘Greatness of character in the man’ is just one example of the tribute to which the Workman attaches no diminishing caveat. In April of 1892 when the first stories of Ravachol were appearing William Lane described him as ‘the great Anarchist leader’, reprinted two anarchist leaflets in full, and made the first of his public announcements about the extent of anarchist influence on local radicals.[515] The reader who probably responded to this view of Ravachol as hero was Larry Petrie. ‘I have known many rebels’ said Ernie Lane, ‘but Petrie …was in the super-class’:

In the Domain, on street-corners and all the time Petrie passionately called on the workers of Sydney to take up arms and man the barricades.[516]

According to Lane, his public declarations were considered a joke by the police who saw only a one-armed man and did not interfere. Petrie no doubt applauded when Lawson, writing for Truth, albeit disguised, wrote in March, 1892:

One man one vote it may not be, but if the wealthy trifle

With labor’s rights and God’s decree we’ll try ‘One man one rifle’.

We have another boat afloat, and plenty hands to pull it,

And if it ain’t ‘One Man One Vote’, ’twill be ‘One Man One Bullet’.[517]

A group of fell-mongers [hide-workers] picked up at the Sydney Labour Bureau in February were driven from their work site by ‘a horde of roughs, known as the “Rocks Push”. In the Protectionist paper which was O’Sullivan’s power base, The Queanbeyan Age, the ‘horde’ was not a random mob looking for trouble but was made up of men who had previously worked at the site and who had downed tools when the contractor insisted on lowering their pay. That is, they were ‘striking unionists’ protesting against ‘strike-breakers’. A follow-up included:

At a mass meeting of the unemployed held on Wednesday evening the labour bureau was the chief topic touched upon, the speakers seemed equally divided regarding the actions of the Government. Those who opposed the bureau said it would tend to weaken trades-unionism by supplying cheap labour, and in filling vacancies, during strikes, with non-union men.[518]

Lawson had worked with Wm Lane at the Boomerang and for The Worker, off and on. Back in Sydney where he ‘hung out with difficulty in a restaurant’, he wrote occasionally for The Bulletin. When work failed, he said ‘I used to write a column of socialistic and libellous political rhymes for Truth. I still believed in revolutions.’ Norton helped him out on occasion, as did Brady. By ‘revolution’ he probably meant an unsophisticated uprising which he labelled ‘anarchy’ in his most intense poems.[519]

With hundreds of Sydney police guarding the strike-breakers at ‘the Hill’, the coastal city’s gangs came out to play: ‘(The) larrikins are taking every possible advantage of the withdrawal of so many of the metropolitan police in connection with the Broken Hill strike.’[520] In September, with 300 of the force of 800 still away, the gangs were ‘parading’ with impunity. This editor concluded with an appropriate question:

            Is it not regrettable that such a state of affairs should be allowed to exist,            simply because deference to hollow sentiment precluded the sending of some of           the military to Broken Hill?’

A Disorderly Conduct Suppression Bill had been introduced into the House in mid-year, observers thinking that it would sail through unopposed. It stalled[521] and was still not passed years later.

It is probable that many movement messages were intercepted, and/or destroyed upon receipt. A few only have survived. In the Sir Edmund Barton papers at the Mitchell Library[522] there are some belonging to or relating to Sir David Maughan, banker, which include, with partial copies of Andrews’s Anarchy for November 1891 and January 1892, two translations from the French, signed ‘J.P. Rochaix, Detective’.[523]. The first is a letter from J. Ricard, ‘a leading French anarchist’.[524] It contains a reference to a trial at Chambles, which I take to mean the Ravachol trial held in a town of that name in June 1892. It concludes: ‘Rulliere and all our friends wish to be remembered to you and your friends at Smithfield.[525] The second item, also  translated by Rochaix, is headed ‘Extract from the Pamphlet entitled the Organisation of Revolutionary Propaganda‘. It lists eleven points. The last is:

  1. Let us imagine the help it would give our cause when, let us say, the dead body of a capitalist would be found at the corner of a street with a short note: ‘to our Exploiter – His employees’ or during a strike a fire was set to a factory or some other establishment that had been boycotted (mis a l’index). All this done in a mysterious manner each deed the act of isolated groups unknown to the Police.

Andrews, the probable addressee, would surely have destroyed these if he had received them. He had no reason to believe local authorities were any less ruthless than those in Chicago and we must remember that he and his associates were the ones most likely to be jailed or hanged if events matched the Chicago precedent. In his recollections he named the year, September, 1892 – September, 1893, ‘The Dynamite Period’. In these later, first hand accounts, he said that Dibbs policies provoked two responses – ‘self-defence by armed force’ groups, and ‘strenuous’ detective work and counter strategies. Against the usual narrative this sounds like good evidence that Andrews was paranoid and delusional except that everything else known about the time supports his claims. Together, his memoirs contain approximately 20,000 words. They are valuable sources[526] because they can be verified but because they are partly dramatised and because he has disguised participants they are difficult to handle. I am satisfied that I have correctly matched most of the fake names with real persons, newspapers and places:


His Substitute Names

O’Grady                                                     = EJ Brady

Landseer                                                    = Brown(e)

Meyrick                                                     = JA Andrews

Esdaile                                                     = Arthur Desmond, aka ‘Ragnar Redbeard’

Mountain                                                    = ‘Larry’ Petrie

Rigby                                                       = ‘Tommy’ Dodd

Vermont                                                     = Holland or Holman?

Britten                                                     = Arthur Rae

Way                                                         = Ernie Lane

Masterman                                                   = Premier Dibbs

Young Masterman, Manager Metropolitan   = Thos A Dibbs, Gen Manager, Commercial

and Rural Bank                                                               Commercial Banking Coy. of Sydney

Duitsch                                               = Hughes?

Ellerman                                              = Holman?

Scott                                                 = Treasurer McMillan

Seth Sniders                                          = Enoch Taylors

Fr O’Leary                                            = ? Moran ?

King                                                  = Robinson

‘Paddy’                                               = Fitzgerald MP?

The Toiler                                            = Australian Workman

The Hour                                              = The Sunday Times

Cobboras                                              = The Aramac

The War Contingent                                    = Active Service Brigade

Ready Money                                           = Hard Cash

Workers Political Association           = Labour Electoral League


In four separate places in these essays he shows his own preference for non-violent responses even to provocation, and his apprehension of, not preparation for, civil war. In one place he says explicitly: ‘I have never so much as seen any dynamite, nor favoured any other physical force than straightforward manly disobedience to tyranny.’[527] However, Ernie Lane and Petrie were sleeping in the AWU office and multigraphing leaflets appealing to the workers to take their courage in their hands and storm the capitalist stronghold. At night, Lane said, they pasted these up around Sydney.[528] Andrews, Beattie and Schellenberg were among others involved. Arthur Desmond after his arrival on 10 Oct 1892 was another. Petrie, in particular, was running out of patience. In July, he noted the distress and competition for jobs compelling seamen to sign on at one shilling per month and keep, when their usual rate was £4.10s.[529]  Somebody ‘who evidently aspires to be an Australian Ravachol’ handed out the following broadsheet[530] in the Domain in September:

Men of Australia!

Why do we work and sweat and force our­selves into premature graves, that our masters may revel in blind luxury, and pass their lives in idleness and splendour? We toil, not for ourselves, but for them, and while our children grow into slaves and lackeys, their children get all the riches of the earth, riches that are produced by our labor.

Fellow Workers Arise!

Let us throw off our vile apathy, hurl defiance at our robber landlords, and throw in our lot with those who are fighting for Justice! The cursed robbers that grind us down laugh at our woes and prostitute our daughters. They are heart­less, and when cold want comes home to us, they help our starving families by throwing a little charity at them, even as they would at a mongrel – yea, look upon us as mongrels.

They despise us, and would not save us from damnation if it touched their interest in the least.

Agitate! Organise! Revolt!

Justice demands it for the sake of your wives and children.

Long Live the Social Revolution!


Acting-Premier from April to September while Dibbs was overseas being knighted, Edmund Barton (1849-1920) was said to be reluctant to send the military to Broken Hill where some miners were drilling with arms. As Attorney-General he knew the legal situation regarding the use of the military in civil dissent, and the police that could be legally sent were armed and mounted.[531] The day Dibbs returned in September the ministry ordered the arrest of ‘the Hill’s’ strike leaders for conspiracy. At ‘the Hill’, tensions had mounted as barricades and fortifications were thrown up around the mine entrances. Police stayed on alert all one night to guard against a rush after the first lots of ‘free labourers’ had been escorted through picket lines.[532] Dibb’s ADB biographer believed he wanted peace at Broken Hill and an arbitrated solution: ’He was hard on disorder but without vindictiveness, and towards Labor he was neither hostile nor obsequious…(He) condemned demonstrations by the unemployed.’[533] Barton instructed the crown prosecutor to conduct all cases ‘with absolute fairness’.

The arrests precipitated great excitement in Sydney. Protests were held at which ‘Sovereign people’ ‘humbly’ and ‘vainly beseeched’ for their release. For Andrews this was the first of four, Sydney flash-points where civil war was a possibility. Paraphrasing his words:

   At a mass protest meeting at the Queen’s Statue the protest crowd was stirred    up and moving towards Parliament House behind a deputation to the Premier. Troops    were already in place behind the parliamentary building and waiting for the first    instance of ‘riot’ or assault on property. George Black was asked to join a    proposed ‘Provisional Government’ but a colleague pointed out the military    preparations, so he halted the crowd by making a speech. Andrews confronted one    he suspected might know what was afoot and learnt of Brady’s intentions.

Other sources tell us that he was talking about the night of 20 September, five days after the strike leaders had been arrested and four labor MPs had chosen to vote for the government and protectionist fiscal policies, which were not being debated at the time, rather than defeat the government over its treatment of the strikers. George Black later confirmed ‘as faithful, if exaggerated’[534] Andrews’s story of his fateful speech. Sam Smith was the colleague Black names who urged him to calm the crowd already moving towards the barricades. Three deputations had gone to see Dibbs in the space of two-three hours, all fruitlessly. The first included Petrie, the second was Hart, Horkins and Rosa. After it returned, Horkins, Rosa, Lindsay, Williams and Dodd spoke to the crowd and the second deputation went again.

The agent provocateur in the crowd was Browne, ‘Landseer’ in Andrews’ account. Other speakers at the 20 September meeting, chairperson Holland, (1868-1933) and the previous night’s meeting, chairperson Horkins, like Rosa, Kohen and McNamara were comparatively moderate in tone, whereas Browne asked the crowd whether it was ‘willing’ to enforce its will on the government. Browne who was noted among the ASL-expellees the year before, had been making provocative speeches for some time. The SMH of 21 September tells of Browne, Cato and Horkins banded together in ‘The Democratic Alliance’ which possibly included Hepher, Flowers and Hart who was not averse to making oblique references to people having ‘power in their own hands’.[535] On 25 September Browne complained that his ‘jokes’ about dynamite had been taken seriously at the Queen’s Statue meetings.[536] Later a ‘W. Browne’ was appointed to the Government Temporary Staff at £50 p.a.[537] On this fitting together, it seems reasonable to speculate that ‘Landseer’ (Browne) was also ‘0’Grady’s’ (Brady’s) bomb-making accomplice and fellow-scarperer in the 1890 incident.

On 8th October, a second circular was noticed in George Street and along the wharves, this one with ‘the red flag stuck glaringly in the centre’:[538]

No. 2 Leaflet – Fellow workers: Again we urge you to rise from your apathy and fight hard for justice. Force, and force only, can strike fear into the hearts of our oppressors. Moral suasion and constitutional reform? – One is still-born, the other an abortion. Not the ballot box but the rifle and the alone can free us from our degrading slavery. Remember Broken Hill. Behold the force lawless law oppresses us with! Prepare for the Revolution. Seize arms – buy arms. Be not afraid! Be men and organise! Agitate!


Next to it in the same papers was the verbatim text of a speech given in Wellington (NZ) by Arthur Desmond and ‘clipped’ from the Weekly Herald (NZ. On 10th October, the man himself Arthur Desmond, quietly stepped on to Circular Quay from a New Zealand trading vessel. Almost immediately, other positive references to his previous ‘labour career’ appeared in the press, so perhaps he had sought work at these places, or perhaps he was ‘seeding’ the labour field in order to be quickly accepted as a bona fide agitator. New Zealand’s Roth later provided background.[539] It is wildly astray for Desmond’s time in Australia and for post-1895 it invites a deal of scepticism,[540] so there must be doubts about the earlier detail as well. Supposedly a friend and student of Maoris while shearing and droving, Desmond had ‘spouted’ free thought, single tax and labour reforms such as a State Bank Issue, an eight hour day, minimum wages and a ban on foreign labour, all of which feature prominently in later labour platforms in eastern Australia. He seems to have stood twice for parliament while still in his early twenties,[541] both unsuccessfully, in 1884 and 1887.[542]  In 1890 he organised the Timber Workers Union which he represented on Auckland Trades Council, the Gum Diggers Union, and was editing his own paper, the Tribune. The AW in 1890 had quoted from a Desmond letter about the Bank of New Zealand threatening plutocrats with ‘French revolution type’ actions, and two weeks later had directed him to Bear’s Bookshop in Sydney for literature he requested. When some ‘unscrupulousness’ was exposed he went to Wellington where for two years he soap-boxed regularly and tried to get a labor party going.[543] All of this resembles the frenetic activities of Australian would-be politicians and his move across the Tasman may be the sign of another personal,fresh start.

He was in Australia little more than two years, and perhaps only half of that in Sydney, the rest in rural NSW. Andrews has the only Sydney-stories about him before mid-1893 when he chose to get himself arrested. Other published anecdotes about him in the memoirs of labour figures refer to the post-arrest period when the establishment press stigmatised him as a ‘bloodthirsty’ anarchist because of the company he seems to have preferred. Andrews referred to him as ‘poet, actuary and revolutionary’,[544] and has dealt chronologically with his activities up to and including the publication, Hard Cash and the armed defense group, the Active Service Brigade (ASB). Neither his known writings nor the political agenda for ‘the movement’ which he articulated in late-1893, were remotely anarchic.

On the other hand, the second period in which Andrews thought civil war was possible coincided with his arrival. Consolidated and paraphrased, Andrew’s accounts amount to this:

   ‘Landseer’s’ friend ‘O’Grady’ in ‘The Hour’ claimed ‘Meyrick’ had ‘secret    controlling influence over unionists’. ‘O’Grady’, once a friend of ‘Meyrick’,    had admitted to ‘Meyrick’ his and ‘Landseer’s’ bomb-making. A ‘Dynamite as    emancipator’ manifesto appeared in the press to trap two youthful enthusiasts,    one of whom is friend of ‘Meyrick’. ‘Landseer’ was suspected of being a police    spy and an agent provocateur..(etc).

This translates into:

Browne and Brady were plotting together. Brady informed Dibbs or his detectives that Lane and Petrie were mounting a bomb plot. He then set about provoking these two into doing something that would gain him kudos and blacken the anarchist cause. He urged them to talk publically about plans for a ‘Provisional Government’ and to prepare a dynamite ‘manifesto’ which he then referred to in renewed attacks on ‘the anarchists’.

Again, Andrews has referred only to what he personally experienced, which was in central Sydney, though the manoeuvring is part of the politics around the Broken Hill conflict. The Sydney Morning Herald on 22 Oct agreed that troopers had been ready and under arms during the meeting on the 20th September and that ‘socialist pickets’ saw this and passed word preventing a riot.[545] On 31st October, the SMH was able to provide, as an exclusive, the text of a particularly virulent handbill:

Destroy!!! Destroy!!! Dynamite!!! and Fire!!!

are the great destroyers of property. Once

more the workers have justice (?). Once more has

law and order triumphed. Throw up your hats

you worms and wallow in the mire at your

masters’ feet; or on the other hand are you

prepared to strike for freedom. Destroy property;

this will destroy the power of the oppressor.

Destroy only the property of the rich. Fire

their woolsheds, burn their grass, fire their

factories, destroy their banks and freedom is

yours. Remember Sleath and Ferguson. No more

moral suasion…[546]

Sleath and Ferguson were among the arrested leaders of the Broken Hill miners. Police Inspector-General Fosberry in October 1892 suppressed certain detectives’ reports when called upon to release to the parliament ‘all correspondence, papers, [etc] received by the Government’ on this strike.[547] Though many plain-clothes detectives, i.e. spies, had been operating at ‘the Hill’,[548] Fosberry kept back only those describing the large number of armed Italians, Germans and others meeting secretly near the mines and offering their services to the strikers’ cause.[549] The mine owners appear to have been kept informed, as they later excluded ‘the foreigners’ from the mines.

Andrews’ account went on to tell of Brady warning him of a ‘sting’ being prepared which this time was directed at him as the hidden controller of the unionists and as a bomb-maker. Brady then vigorously attacked Andrews in print. Petrie was warned by Andrews’ and counselled to leave town immediately. This he did, whereupon the plot collapsed. Contemporary sources show that on 5th November Petrie advocated the jails be stormed and razed. The SMH responded by attacking him[550] whereupon evidence of him in Sydney ceased, supporting my assertion that he was ‘Mountain’ who left town just as ‘Landseer’ was exposed and thus nullified Brady’s plot. Discussed in the next chapter are the departures of two other activists who seem to have ‘gone bush’ together.

Brady, however, was not yet done. As ‘Amateur Reformer’, he wrote again of anarchist influence in the labour movement in the Sunday Times of 10 December, 1892 as part of a series begun the week before[551] His second article, ‘Bombs and Bombast, Revolution and Roguery’ claimed anarchists had induced the labour movement to follow violent methods and to encourage parasites. One anarchist, described as once a friend but now despised, and who prefers beer to soap, is clearly Andrews.

Andrews’ account continued: ‘Later, meetings at the Queen’s Statue were banned making it impossible for mounted police to charge a riled-up crowd, which was to be the flash-point’. On 17 December, meetings at the Queen’s statue were officially banned. On the same day, AW used a belief by the ‘Central Cumberland Anarchist Group’ in a plot against them to introduce an excellent Andrews’s poem which is at the same time a satire on an effort by Brady – ‘A Bas l’Anarchie – Another Vision of the Future’.[552] Brady’s attacks sparked responses from others. On 3rd, 10th and 17th December, in the Australian Workman, long articles were signed by ‘Society Before Self’ who was probably ‘Price Warung’. He had been one of Andrews’s literary group colleagues in pre-MAC Melbourne and became editor of AW in February 1893 staying till November. The writer defended Andrews as no more a drunkard than ‘Amateur Reformer’ but as someone who ‘has greater intellect, writes better copy, better verse, speaks better, [does] aught that requires brain power better than his slanderer’. The writer then claims that anarchist influence is infinitesimal since there were no more than 500 throughout the Australian continent and they were so powerless that the Dibbs Government ignored them in winning the Broken Hill trials: ‘As a socialist I have little sympathy for anarchy except on intellectual grounds.’[553]








Henry Lawson left town around October, 1892. He was sent ‘bush’ by Brady and Archibald at The Bulletin, ostensibly to get him away from the booze. This is not credible. There was, of course, plenty of drinking and less of other pursuits in the outback, secondly, he had just finished telling the world how he hated the bush and, thirdly he was far too interested in what was happening in Sydney. He may have been seen by some as impressionable and perhaps learning habits which would damage him professionally, even damage ‘the movement’ politically, but it was not the drink which was the problem. His drinking mates included the most militant of the activists, Holland, Petrie, Ernie Lane, Andrews and Brady and he chose their company when he could. But, as with Brendan Behan and Ernest Hemingway, the drinking was part of the context which energised his emotions and provoked his strongest efforts. A poem called The Bastard from the Bush, attributed to Lawson, and a slightly sanitised version published over his name, The Captain of the Push, describe in vivid language a meeting between a Push leader and a “stranger from the bush”, including:

Would you dong a bloody copper if you caught the cunt alone,

Would you stoush a swell or Chinkee, split his garret with a stone?

Would you have a moll to keep you, would you swear off work for good?’

What? Live on prostitution? My colonial oath I would!

Replacing ‘cunt’ with ’blank’ in the published version was part of a censoring process which shifted the poem’s focus from the ‘bush bastard’ to the ‘push captain’. So much has been made of the editing of his work by Stephens and others it is probably not possible to delve much further than to note that where it was deemed necessary to replace ‘cunt’, it was OK to leave in ‘chinkee’, ‘moll’ and ‘swell’, and the references to stoning a policeman, and breaking windows. The vulgarism and the attitudes are essential parts of the same world in which Lawson made close observation of the clothes worn by a ‘beau-ideal’ of ‘the fancy’ in the same poem:

E’en his hat was most suggestive of the city where we live,

With a gallows-tilt that no one, save a larrikin, can give;

And the coat, a little shorter than the writer would desire,

Showed a more or less uncertain portion of his strange attire.

That which tailors know as ‘trousers’ – known by him as ‘blooming bags’ –

Hanging loosely from his person, swept, with tattered ends, the flags;

And he had a pointed sternpost to the boots that peeped below

(Which he laced up from the centre of the nail of his great toe).

And he wore his shirt uncollar’d, and the tie correctly wrong;

But I think his vest was shorter than should be in one so long.

As the attached illustration showed, the ‘tattered ends’ of his ‘bags’, the ‘uncertain portion of his strange attire’, were spectacularly re-born as ‘flairs’ in the 1960’s. It also showed how differently attired a push might be from its peer groups, and yet no study has been done of these various ‘costumes’.

Andrews similarly refused the collar and tie, signs of a wage-worker’s slavery he called them, but Lawson says they were ‘correctly wrong’. His critique is rounded off with the plaintive thought the vest was shorter than perhaps it should have been – SHOULD have been!!!. Against the longing of that, the idea that ‘the (hat’s) gallows tilt’ is suggestive of Sydney is brutal.

His drinking problem was relatively minor in 1892. It became public property only after his aspirations, personal and political, had been irrevocably blighted. Of the two, the political, specifically the failure of ‘the movement’ to practise what it preached, had the deepest impact. His neglected 1894 ‘despair and disillusion’ poems show this clearly. His probable drinking mates – Petrie, Ernie Lane, Brady, Holland, Andrews, Dodd, Rosa – were among the most militant activists, and rebel politics their most likely discussion topic, along with sex.

Around Burke he painted fences, drank with the locals and swagged for six months. One of his two road companions was Ernest de Guinney, a ‘self-confessed Russian Nihilist’ and published writer. The other was ‘socialist’ Jim Grahame (Gordon).[554] Rose Summerfield also left Sydney around the same time, ostensibly in her case because her AWU projects with Petrie had wound down. She may have ‘gone west’ with Lawson as they re-appeared in the same place. Lecturing in Bourke in October her enthusiasm helped to establish a branch of the ASL, a Co­operative Laundry and a Women’s Division of the AWU. In Melbourne from approximately January to March 1893, she worked with Fleming among male and female bootmakers.[555] By mid-1893 Lawson was back in Sydney where he re-connected with his old crowd which now included Desmond: (Cantrell p.8)

I edited the Worker a while gratis, on the understanding that I should get the permanent editorship…But that mysterious inner circle, the trustees and their friends, brought an editor from another province.

He wrote no political commentaries, at least none were published. Sydney’s street-life was all-consuming, yet his ‘interpreters’ have dismissed it. Andrews was also in the thick of it and he wrote commentaries but on Queensland where civil war continued to be predicted, he had nothing to say, another indicator of how absorbing the local dramas were. His 3rd and 4th civil war flash points, both in Sydney, came in 1893. On 7 January 1893 he was featured with a photograph and a long article in the Bulletin, and an item in the AW the same day previewed a long article by him for the next week. Also in the AW for 7 January and Truth for 8 January are reports of a three-day Anarchist Conference, 1 to 3 January. The location was not named, suggesting that the Central Cumberland group had left Smithfield, perhaps for Sydney. A ‘US delegate’ [WW Lyght]reported on the US situation and explained the objects of the Order of the Gallows, a fraternity commemorating the Haymarket martyrs, membership being indicated by a badge.[556] Reports were also heard from English, Irish and Scottish groups, while it was said the short notice had prevented all local groups from attending. Correspondence including greetings and congratulations from Comrades Merlino and Most (New York), Lucy Parsons (Chicago), Louise Michel (London) and La Revolte (Paris) were also received and discussed. The Truth report had the meeting conclude with the singing of Andrews’ translation of ‘The Marseillaise’ and the French ‘Carmagnole’. A verse of one version of the latter reads:

Dance dynamite, dance quickly

Let’s dance and sing.

Let’s dynamite! Let’s dynamite![557]

An optimistic yellow placard stuck on the Queen’s Statue that week read, ‘Anarchy is Liberty – Read News from Nowhere’[558] while a long, detailed warning from Andrews, was being ‘privately’ circulated but reaching broad audiences as regional newspapers reprinted it in full:


It is the intention of the Government acting in conjunction with the capitalists to deliberately exasperate or even trap people into violence to afford a pretext for a deadly and decisive coup … The programme of the intriguers and their pimps includes a dynamite outbreak, a bloody collision between the crowds and the forces, and wholesale charges of armed, revolutionary conspiracy, proclamation of absolute military law, and reckless executions. After months of maturing the plot is about to be attempted.[559]

            He warned against violence under any circumstances unless absolutely necessary in self defense: ‘If you would overthrow capitalism and coercion gather up all you have and go with your families into the trackless country…resolved to live there without buying, selling, wages, prices, money or conforming to laws.’ Referring to the sudden January resignations of the State Governor, Lord Jersey, and of the Vice-President of the Executive Council and Cabinet member, Sir Julian Salomans, he asserted: ’The ‘mysterious resignations’ proceed from a fear of being caught up in the murderous plot’ and signed off with: ‘the concurrence and approval of the Associated Anarchists of New South Wales, January 1893’. When interviewed, Salomans listed differences of opinion he had with ‘the Government’, including a provision within the new Electoral Bill to give a vote to the police and the military.[560]

This appeared after the arrest on 24 January[561] of picketing bootmakers outside Taylor and Co’s works (‘Seth Snyders’) and as unemployed bootmakers from Melbourne were being imported.[562] Andrews believed that the unprecedented nature of the boot makers’ arrests, for merely being pickets, threatened a government crackdown or a sting. Warrants to charge the pickets with ‘conspiracy and intimidation’ appeared similar to those taken out against the BH union leaders. They were taken out by the factory owners ‘on the advice of counsel,’[563] who was relying on the same George IV statute used against the 1891 union leaders. Late in February, the Attorney-General, Barton, decided not to proceed against them. The Australian Star agreed with his action referring to the statute aa ‘obsolete’, and ‘a wretched Act’ which had caused ‘needless annoyance and irritation.’ The Star had to explain to its readers that the Broken Hill unionists had been charged under ‘common or unwritten law’ which made it a punishable offence to restrain anyone from pursuing their lawful occupation.[564] The government argued that actual violence did occur or that ‘probably serious threats of actual violence’ were made and that this was the major difference they remained in jail.[565]

When that potential flash-point was passed, Andrews’ attention turned to Desmond, probably at the McNamara’s ‘guest house’ at 221 Castlereagh Street. Andrews was not alone in according Desmond retrospective significance. Vance Marshall who claimed close association with Lawson in the period 1918-20 before going to England to live and to write, claimed in 1921 that ‘for six years…[Desmond’s] finger was traceable in every decisive movement associated with the [Australian] working class’.[566] Born in 1887, Marshall must have had this assessment from the older Lawson who in late 1893 was the only public figure prepared to openly defend Desmond.[567] Len Fox, labour scholar, in 1968 thought Desmond was ‘surely one of the most mysterious figures in our history’.[568] The editor of the (Brisbane) Worker in 1920 echoed George Reeve and called him a ‘remarkable New Zealand literary genius’.[569] The Bulletin journalist still hidden behind the nom-de-plume ‘Baarmutha’ reminisced in 1926:

In the early days of the political labor movement in this State [NSW], associated therewith as a molder of its platform and policy and tactics was a remarkable, spectacular character, Arthur Desmond, author of Might is Right one of the greatest books ever written.[570]

J.T. Lang,[571] and ‘Billy’ Hughes[572] were other contemporaries strongly impressed by him, albeit for different reasons. Annie Dwyer, women’s advocate,[573] thought him ‘no good’ and ‘one of those people that does all the nice talk and takes all the honour and glory, and gets other people to do all the work and take all the responsibility’. [574] While in Sydney, he fostered an aura of mystery about his background, after he left wildly divergent stories made him impossible to track, adding to the mystique.

Andrews’ accounts are only concerned with Desmond’s role in the ‘bank smashes’ of 1893. In Andrews’s reconstruction, ‘Esdaile’ (Desmond) wanted to prevent overseas financiers profiting from the ‘bank smashes’, and local Tory politicians from gaining an advantage in their struggles with the labor movement. The context, Andrews argued, was that certain of the largest banks financed from overseas were prepared to take their chances in a major social upheaval, that they had their agents spread rumours of dynamite ‘events’ in order to make matters worse and to make resources cheaper. Andrews said that he came round to Desmond’s view that the key financiers were best confounded by having the banks collapse sooner rather than later, but refused to help bring this about because he saw the poor and least powerful suffering the most. Desmond argued that the end, ie exposing double-dealings of bank shareholders and other large companies, justified the means. In Andrew’s version, Desmond succeeded in precipitating a number of bank failures and thus prevented the overseas financiers from taking over the country and then turned on each other to save themselves from the ruin they’d helped bring about.

There is no doubt about the extent and depth of the financial crisis nor that the local lenders were in trouble. The relevant question, here, is whether Desmond was in a position to effect the course of events?

The retrospective, Australian academic literature disagrees about the influence of local factors[575] in what was a global crisis. The northern hemisphere literature emphasises the collapse of the Argentinian economy from falling wheat prices in 1890 and the subsequent closing of the London banking firm of Baring Brothers, the same year. The connection is the flow of capital and its volatility. A speculative property boom, especially in Melbourne, had been encouraged by aggressive banks and pseudo-banks borrowing, largely from the UK, at rates of interest which were unsustainable when asset prices fell, and when returns on infrastructure building declined. Before the collapse, financial institutions were free to do largely as they liked. There were few legal restrictions on their operations, there was no central bank and no government-provided deposit guarantees. The size and speed of the crisis when it came to eastern Australia meant boards of directors and governments scrambled together to change the rules, often towards greater regulation and centralised control. So, while it is fanciful to imply Desmond played a major role, local politics were significant when it came to the point of deciding what to do.

More experienced bankers had begun warning about a possible bust in 1887 and attempted to curb lending but it was, apparently, already too late:

To those who cared to think, it was plain in 1889 that a continuance of the low prices for wool and other exports would soon stop high spending and make the liquidation of public and private obligations over-sea heavy work.[576]

Melbourne’s Premier Building Association suspended payments in December, 1889 owing numerous British depositors a circumstance which meant Australia’s credit rating immediately withered, money began to flow out of other institutions and the snowball was away. Twenty one land and finance companies ‘went down’ in Melbourne between July, 1891 and August 1892. The first genuine bank to fail closed in August, 1891, the second in March, 1892. The Federal Bank failed on 30 January 1893, the Commercial Bank of Australasia on 5th of April, the ES & A Commercial Bank on 12th, the AJS Bank on 20th, and the London Chartered on 25th April. These were all in Sydney. The Victorian government closed all that State’s banks for a week in April. By 17 May, 11 commercial banks across the country had suspended trading.

Despite his alleged central role and the arrests of numerous others, Desmond was charged only once, and that in March for writing ‘Gone Bung’ on a government proclamation posted on the outside wall of the Savings Bank of New South Wales. After the build-up this fact is so farcical one smells something fishy. Only later is it learned that Fosberry was a Trustee of this Bank, Dibbs, Snr, was a shareholder, and Dibbs’ son, Thomas, was its manager,[577] and chairman of the ‘Associated Banks’ which had already  been forced into issuing a number of ‘proclamations’. Was Desmond’s arrest a ploy, perhaps, to allow him to make contact with his masters after months of living ‘underground’? Numerous plain-clothes police just happened to be in the vicinity and quickly responded to what may have been an invitation to take him in. This likelihood turns on the same question – his importance in the larger context.

In April, he was fined 3 Pound, paid in AJS notes and left the court, whereupon the (Sydney) Worker announced that five months before he had predicted ‘the failure of every banking institution that has shut its doors’ since.[578] No details were given as to how he had made the predictions nor whether the predictions had been kept in a sealed envelope or how they had been made known. Andrews says Desmond then played a master-stroke. He had two hundred dodgers printed which he posted to the city manager of every bank, and to every member of parliament. The next day, 3rd May ‘the Manifesto was reproduced in all the papers with a Government notice offering a large reward for the discovery of the author’:

Whereas on the night of the 2nd May instant certain persons unlawfully conspired to print and publish the following, false, malicious and defamatory Handbill with intent to excite alarm and distrust in the public mind, to defame the administration of the Government in this colony and to injure certain banking institutions:

More Bank Smashes!

Look Out. Government in the Swim.

Secret Cablegrams.

English Depositors withdrawing Gold by the Million!!!

Parliament throttled. Government Acting Illegally.

Newspaper Prop­rietors hold Shares and Suppress Facts.

Reconstruction a Subterfuge for Those in the Inner Circle to Unload.

They Want Time to Sell Out. Beware of Promises.

Demand Your Gold.

This is Published by a Financial Expert and One Who Knows.

Notice is Hereby Given that a Reward of £100 will be paid by Government for such information as shall lead to the apprehension and conviction of the guilty persons. In addition to the above Reward, His Excellency the Governor will be advised to extend a free pardon to any accomplice (not being the person who actually composed and wrote the said Hand Bill) who shall first give such required information.

George R. Dibbs Colonial Secretary.

The (Sydney) Worker cheekily recommended the prosecution of the government for ‘wilfully and maliciously publishing this seditious handbill …the fines might be placed in a Trust Account pending reconstruction of the Government’.[579] The Wagga branch of the ASU had published one section of The (Brisbane) Worker until March, 1893 when six other N.S.W. Branches agreed to join in, and the plant was removed to either 1 Palmer Street Woolloomooloo or 217 Palmer Street, Sydney, with J. A. Ross as Manager, Walter Head and Arthur Rae doing most of the editorial work. This is important to know, since the reward was never claimed, because the first Hard Cash appeared on 22nd May and because

J.A. Ross has claimed responsibility for initiating, setting and printing Hard Cash. Carried out, he said, in his Paddington lodgings, it is unlikely to have been done without Arthur Rae and Walter Head knowing all about it. Despite special police duty and extra detectives being brought from Melbourne[580] and New Zealand[581] it continued to appear until September, five issues in all, each showing arbitrary dates and volume numbers to confuse pursuers. The press used was easily moved, drop-off spots for copy were varied and distribution was a strictly guarded affair. The printer’s name, ‘Alfred Evans’, was, Ross said, his second name and his family name.[582] Difficulties with his story are that he says it appeared fortnightly, that the first was numbered ‘4’ and that there were six issues all told.[583]

The content of Hard Cash was not revolutionary, but bank ‘insiders’ were no doubt disturbed that banking details were being leaked to the public and that alarms were being raised about a flight of gold from the country. ‘Baarmutha’ suggested Desmond had access to the State Parliamentary Library, while Andrews notes him studying Government Gazettes. It is possible to argue that Hard Cash had no effect on the course of events and may have assisted Dibbs to put through his legislation legitimising bank reconstructions which favored shareholders and trustees. A further bill, concerning the issue of legal tender, proved more difficult, and Desmond later claimed credit for its failure. Acclaimed later by the commercial bankers for his handling of the crisis while himself a bankrupt, Dibbs was accorded a blatant quid pro quo of £3,000 by ‘commercial men’ at a mid-day meeting in August after his first tranche of legislation had passed. The (Sydney) Worker, reported the meeting and that Dibbs had held up a copy of Hard Cash saying, ‘this thing has cost us £3,000,000. What is the detective force of this city doing?’[584] This is a good question as is the question of how the quotation was collected by the very paper involved with the clandestine printing.

The adolescent ‘Jack’ Lang has claimed involvement but this is unlikely. ‘Bill’ McNamara would have been among the inner circle, while Lawson was at least well-informed. He had returned from the west in mid ’93 and was either staying at 221 Castlereagh Street or frequenting it. George Reeve has written of Desmond reading a draft of his virulent manifesto, Might is Right, to Lawson who, it was said, was mightily impressed.[585] Shortly after, Lawson was shipped off again, this time to New Zealand.

Hard Cash was not the only broadside delivered from Desmond’s pen or from his agency, nor was it the only ASB activity of significance. Secretly, a number of plots were fermenting, both among the forces of law and order and the opposition. A lack of informers indicates the Hard Cash operation was well-organised. The police do appear to have come close to finding the press on one occasion but its removal to another place was successfully carried out.[586] In frustration, the authorities prosecuted ‘socialistic newsagents’, Rosa, McNamara, Schellenberg, Bear, Beasley and Routley, charging them with being publishers of the paper, while others continued to sell it unscathed. These unlucky men were known to police and were no doubt targeted, but they were not all ‘newsagents’ in the usual sense. A network of free/cut-rate services was operating, for example, in October, Schellenberg was shown as ‘restaurateur’ of 151 Liverpool Street.[587] Rosa’s court papers show he had been under more consistent surveillance than the others[588] and that nothing of consequence had been discovered indicating that he was not involved with the defensive plotting or with Desmond. The day after he appeared in court and was bailed, a Sr. Constable Musgrove, who could write shorthand, was asked to attend the Domain the following Sunday ‘in plain clothes’ and ‘take careful notes of any disloyal, treasonable or inflammatory language uttered by the Socialists‘. His subsequent report was used against Rosa. The trials lasted well into 1894, Rosa was given three months jail, McNamara six months and Schellenberg, who offered himself up, ten months. These three refused to feel penitent.[589] Bear and Routley were given a week only. Rochaix was the principal detective in all cases which achieved, and may have been designed to achieve, the removal of the best-known activists. The effectiveness of the jailings can only be assessed by looking at who was left and how important secret activism was to the bigger picture.

Elsewhere I’ve written at length on Australian secret societies and their importance at certain key times of community stress, such as during the 1880’s and ‘90’s. The total of such societies was enormous, their memberships huge and their place in all strands of civil society acknowledged. That they have all but disappeared from the ken of today’s public is a result of conflict between Orders for pre-eminence, for members and for scarce resources. Although most were federated throughout the 19th century and subject to ‘Head Office’ control to some degree, the direction taken by individual lodges, tents, or assemblies was dependent on its internal dynamics and its involvement with local affairs. [See They Call Each Other Brother, Newcastle, 2010 or ‘Secret Societies and the Strange Slow Death of Mateship in Australia, 1788-2010’ on this web site]. The fact that fraternal and benefit, ie ‘secret’, societies were operating on the east coast of Australia during the ‘Great Strike’ period, and that their memberships were present at all the major political events of that time does not, by itself, mean that any particular society was necessarily revolutionary or seditious in its intentions.

Before Desmond and the Active Service Brigade achieved notoriety in 1893, one other immediately-relevant secret society, the Knights of Labor, complete with rituals, passwords and signs had begun operating in Sydney, probably in 1892. In other States and in New Zealand, the Knights had been intermittently open and public since 1887 but not at all in New South Wales. While no memoirs have surfaced, membership lists for the ‘Sydney Assembly’ have. Neither Desmond nor the arrested paper sellers appear, but the papers do show William and Ernie Lane, Arthur Rae, George Black, Frank Cotton, Peter McNaught, Lawson, WG Spence and Petrie, who is shown as ‘No 59’.[590]

No connection between Desmond and ‘New Australia’ has come to light but while Desmond was saving the banks by ‘smashing them up’ both Ernie Lane and Petrie assisted the pre-departure organisation with fund-raising. The financial viability of New Australia was being damaged by delays instigated by Customs, Health and Marine Board officials.  In March 1893 Petrie attended a GLU/AWA Conference at Wagga, but sometime afterwards he told Ernie Lane that he was off to blow up a non-union ship.[591]

On Sydney harbour, fuming ‘New Australia’ emigrants who had wanted to get away on 1st of May speculated about the genuineness of reported ship bombings. None of the known ‘attempts’ had caused any property damage or injury.[592] Cartridges with lighted fuses attached had allegedly been found on the SS Sydney and the SS Burrumbeet before any explosion could occur. Immediately, the Government produced a special Gazette offering rewards of £250 and cabled other colonial and the New Zealand administration about them. Later reports indicate these two ‘bombs’ – found on the same night in Newcastle Harbour – were not worthy of the attention they received. One did ‘explode’ after being found and plunged into a bucket of water but it caused only the bucket to shatter. The Melbourne Argus commented that ‘the matter [of the exploded bucket] has been kept very quiet so as not to defeat the ends of justice’.[593]

When the SS Royal Tar did get away, on 16 July, one account of the departure appeared signed ‘No. 40’. This is perhaps by Mrs A.J. Rose-Soley, the probable source for Mrs Stratton in Wm Lane’s Working Man’s Paradise.[594] What her connection was to any of the other participants in this drama is unknown. Ten days later, on the night of 27/28 July the SS Aramac was approaching the Brisbane River when it was damaged by an explosion.[595] Petrie’s presence on deck immediately afterwards, especially since the companionway was blocked with debris, aroused suspicion, and he was taken into custody.

He had been tailed from Sydney despite having booked his passage under the name ‘Howard’, one of his Christian names. The ship’s Sydney agent later referred to two detectives on the Sydney wharf receiving ‘information’ and watching the boat closely until it left. ‘The funny thing was’, Petrie told Andrews later, ‘that the moment the bomb went off my first and only thought was to save people’s lives’.[596] Fortunately there was no need to save anyone. A pillar of flame shot through the roof of an un­occupied cabin and one man and two women nearby were slightly injured.

This, the period’s major ‘revolutionary’ event, could have signalled a disciplined, concerted attack on property. It was nothing of the sort. Neither was it the action of an isolated psychopath. Petrie was well regarded in ‘the movement’, albeit not as a leader. His was the anger borne of an ideal, impatient with reformism, seeking meaningful change quickly.[597] For some years he had been more inclined to advocate force ‘to ensure an earlier emancipation of Mankind’ than Andrews and had been more consistent in his views than others influenced by the Haymarket events. He was not an anarchist but an impulsive and impatient democrat. He wanted a replacement of ‘all existing forms of government’ with ‘a government of the people, for the people’ informed by public opinion ‘trained to a higher moral standard’:

We are credited with a passion for destruction but I should like our opponents to note what we would destroy … theft, slavery, misery and starvation of body and mind.[598]

The significance of the Aramac explosion can be seen in the variety of uses to which it was put. A handbill circulated in Sydney in August read:

Beware! Labor leaders, etc. The secret police are paid by the Government and Banks to plot your ruin. Larry Petrie said to be arrested for Aramac explosion. Foul play going on. Look out for ‘plants’ and search warrants. No.21.[599] 

The Sydney Morning Herald referred to ‘placards’ plastered up around the city headed ‘Warning to Passengers by Steamers’, which emphasised dangers of inefficient, that is, non-union, crew, and editorialised: ‘[In] some circles it[the explosion] is held to be the death-knell of unionism in the colonies.’[600] The Brisbane Courier went on at length, including:

When they [the labor leaders] have helped us to arrest one single miscreant of this kind we shall begin to believe that these execrable atrocities are not an accessory of the labor propaganda.

Sam Smith, secretary of the Federated Seamen’s Union, attributed the event to ‘anti-unionists’ and ‘irresponsible persons’.[601] Intriguingly, the only item in the (Sydney) Worker and the only one in the Bulletin appeared on the same day with the same photograph of Petrie. Almost at the same time, Dibbs was privately insisting that the police force be armed, in order, he said when the new policy was announced, to ‘suppress the larrikin gangs.’ This bizarre development is taken up below.

Petrie remained in jail while the Brisbane police awaited ‘further information’ from Sydney. Remand followed remand.[602] He let it be known that if the Queensland Premier would come to see him, he, Petrie, would tell him who was responsible for the blowing up of the Aramac. The Premier came to the jail, only to hear Petrie tell him that he and his Cabinet colleagues were responsible through their un-democratic attitudes.[603] On 23 August, Robert Fitzpatrick appeared in court in Brisbane to testify that ‘Howard’ had tried to obtain explosives from him in Sydney.[604] Arthur Rae, Rose Summerfield, Ernie Lane and other ‘friends’ raised money for Petrie’s defence and engaged well-known lawyer Marshall Lyle.[605] The accepted version of what happened next has been that Rae was able to prove to the Queensland Attorney-General that Fitzpatrick must be lying and threaten a public exposure of police malpractice. The Attorney-General filed a ‘No-True Bill’ and Petrie was discharged. This was Ernie Lane’s version in Dawn to Dusk but no background to Rae’s proof is given there. In Andrews’s versions, Fitzpatrick’s proven perjury was in bringing charges of intimidation against Robinson (‘King’) in Sydney, the fraud being discovered by ‘Britten’ [Rae ?] and a policeman overhearing Fitzpatrick’s alleged witness deny he knew anything of the matter. Petrie’s visits to the quarry where Fitzpatrick worked had occurred eighteen months before, that is, May 1892, when according to Fitzpatrick, Petrie was already organising for something called the ‘New Australia Laborers Union’.[606] Petrie admitted knowing Fitzpatrick through MLA Houghton but supposed Fitzpatrick was influenced against him ‘by the large reward’.

He was in prison for ten weeks and his health had deteriorated by the time he came out on 10 October. He was immediately interviewed by The (Bris) Worker which editorialised that the evidence pointed to ‘a put up job’ and then quoted Petrie:

I know absolutely nothing of the cause of the explosion … I was astonished to hear that a tin cannister was found in my trunk. I had at no time either in my trunk or luggage anything of the kind of any explosive. Had I such a thing I would not be at liberty today… My one arm should have shown them that I couldn’t carry about heavy explosives without being detected by some person.[607]

In prison, he said, officials had tried intimidation, a bribe of £250 and a free pardon, and solitary confinement on bread and water to try to get information from him. He thought a ‘forger’ put in with him and who urged him to accept the bribe was a detective. There is no reference in the court papers to any cannister found in his trunk.

He appears to have had no further involvement with either formal labour politics or with secret societies. Heading south to Melbourne he missed selection for Secretary, Riverine (NSW) District Council of the ALF, and to the Committee, on the way. Deciding to go to ‘New Australia’ he undertook an epic journey of two years to arrive at Cosme in 1896. In 1898, fed-up with Lane’s authoritarianism, he left the colony and joined the Paraguayan railways. One day in March 1901 he jumped onto the line to push a child out of the path of an oncoming train and was killed. His body was claimed by Mrs Rose Cadogan/Summerfield. When his death became known Andrews, in Melbourne editing The Tocsin and ‘J.D.,’ who is probably John Dwyer, reminisced. ‘JD’ may have had the last word on whether Petrie was framed: ‘He [Petrie] long afterwards calmly told [the writer] … that he expected the vessel to become a total wreck’ but that the device had failed because of a lack of weight on its top side.[608]

Petrie’s brief ‘free time’ in Queensland before heading south had coincided with the appearance in that State of a leaflet signed on behalf of the ‘Active Service Brigade’, 9 November 1893. It is especially blunt and does not reflect a contemplative or a disengaged Petrie, and it is addressed directly to bush workers:

Bushmen, mates…You must put the fear of hell in the minds of your oppressors, make it impossible for squatter or manager to live comfortably in the bush…[609]

Andrews later told how after the Brisbane arrest, a group ‘had first banded together as alarmed men’ and then had moved to organise a barracks where they could prepare a ‘last resort’. This was the ‘Active Service Brigade’ [ASB], which Andrews called the ‘War Contingent’, and which became known in Sydney only after the last Hard Cash and before the first Standard Bearer replaced it, that is, in the period September-November, 1893. Andrews implied that each of the core Brigade radicals had his own loyalists, akin to the ‘push gangs’. Later evidence asserts that the ASB core members were Desmond, Dwyer, Dodd, Yewen, McNamara, Rosa and Henry Tregarthen Douglas. This last man was the alienated son of a wealthy English family, who had been a seaman but had met ‘the anarchists’ when he began keeping poultry at Smithfield.

There is a sense overall of at least two clusters of radicals, one being non-English, older emigres from European conflict zones, like Schellenberg, who understood anarchism as communal and personal, sometimes called ‘life-style anarchists.’ Andrews, and perhaps Sceusa, acted as a bridge from these men to younger, English-speaking activists who are not anarchists in any sophisticated sense. Brady has asserted that ‘the Smithfield group’ came to Sydney to print Andrew’s Handbook of Anarchy and the newspaper Justice, and while the core-ASB members probably visited the commune they were all party-politically oriented, so well-connected with ‘the movement’ but also the un-organised and very disparate ‘street politics.’ Andrews was certainly no fighter and no firebrand, either. Letters from him in the press show a Sydney address after Petrie’s arrest, thus it’s possible ‘his group’ were in the city well before either his Handbook or Justice appear in 1894.[610] The glare of publicity which the ASB produced meant ‘Anarchism’ was even more widely publicised, often with his name attached, his actions are of diminishing relevance. His failing health and the dependence of his message on written words becomes more obvious and readers begin to pity the man while acknowledging the depth of his social critique.

The melodramatic nature of his phrase ‘last resort’ (above) is worth noting. His descriptions of previous events back to August 1890 can be verified from other sources, but the ASB does not become a refuge or bolt-hole, but rather develops in quite a different direction. This suggests the phrase was Desmond’s and that while he was a bridge between ‘the movement’ and those urging physical responses to government, his rhetoric was the reason his influence within the ASB also quickly waned from this point. His need to see himself as an heroic figure is apparent in his ‘Might is Right’ published much later. When the ‘Brigade’ [ASB] made its public debut in Sydney in September it proved explosive but in totally unexpected, and totally public ways. Its original ‘banding together’ was probably on the basis of a secret society, with internal discipline sworn to by members, signs and countersigns, and designated positions within a cell-structure. I say probably because the evidence to this effect is sparse and may have been more in Desmond’s mind than real, since his communications are the only source for them. On the other hand, the situation was one where a secret society was likely, and there do appear to be two different versions of the Brigade’s objectives.

John Dwyer (1856-1934) is the only proven member of the ASB. His membership card into A Division was countersigned by Desmond. It lists on the back:

The objects and aims of this strictly disciplined organisation are:

To work upon purely business principles and in grim earnest for the resumption of the People’s landed Inheritance and other property;

To surround thorough-going democratic champions and to defend them from illegal intimidation and violence;

To extinguish by lawful means treacherous, cowardly and corrupt politicians;

To prevent the manufacture of spurious public opinion, protect free speech, and preserve order at public meetings.


The declaration, also handwritten for Dwyer to sign, was:

I hereby enrol myself a member of the Active Service Brigade and subscribe to its objects and aims as set forth upon ticket of membership.

I also promise to assist in electing its Supreme Directing Council and when duly elected and installed to obey their lawful commands without question.[611]


A later Constitution of ‘the ASB Social Programme, Adopted in Convention Assembled, 1893’ set out fifteen points:

The election of administrative or legislative officers by direct, adult suffrage.

No agreements to any law, tax or impost, until discussed and ratified by the people.

Education free for all, compulsory, secular and industrial, higher as well as elementary.

The vote for every adult, male or female.

Military training for the democracy, but no standing army.

The right of every elector to vote once at any election in Parliamentary or Municipal matters, irrespective of the district in which he lived at the time his electoral right was issued, but no plural voting.

The entire abolition of fees or charges for the administration of justice.

That the production of commodities should be for use and utility, not for individual profit only, or speculative purposes.

The placing of such production under the control of the democracy.

That the means of transit by land and sea be owned and operated by the democracy.

That peaceful social reform and economic progress is desirable, necessary and practicable.

That the democracy (being workers and wealth producers) have the right and, being the vast majority, the power to change the present competitive system into a co-operative and social system.

That organised efforts private and public must be instituted to that end.

That it is necessary to sink fiscalism, commercialism, churchianity, and sectional differences, and establish a free, social and democratic republic

or commonwealth of free communities for the development of Australia and true advancements of the best interests of her people.


That the lands of Australia, agricultural and pastoral operations, water works, gas works, electric telegraphs, telephones, lights, trains and power, steam or other forces, the highways and lines of traffic, by land or water with all their equipments, that mines, machinery, mills, factories, agencies of production or distribution must and can be worked and operated for utility and use by the delegates of the democracy for the ultimate benefit of the whole community.[612]

This second agenda shows greater concern for individual integrity, personal freedoms and participatory democracy than that being debated within ‘the movement’ at the same time. Still within the period Andrews refers to it as ‘semi-revolutionary’, the Brigade also developed a definite proposal for the unemployed to take possession of cultivable land, whether owned or not and whether the military were sent against the idea or not.[613] For putting this proposal on behalf of the ASB to an unemployment meeting in October at the Queen’s Statue, ‘Tommy’ Dodd, ambitious push-member, received a rebuke. ‘Ringleader No. 27 and Press Secretary’ pointed out that not only was he un-authorised to speak on behalf of the Brigade, but there were ‘politicians, Domain tribunes and clergymen upon its volunteer roll of platformists’, and these were to be the public voice of the Brigade. The letter writer spoke of the members of its Supreme Directing Council as ‘in every case silent and unknown men’ and its seal ‘a draped skeleton with a raised hand’.[614]

How much of this Rochaix knew at the time is unknown. That Dibbs chose this time to arm the Sydney force as a larrikin-deterrent seems incongruous but perhaps a directive from London Head Office had arrived and he, Dibbs, was fashioning it to local circumstances for maximum political advantage. At the beginning of the year, Belfast policemen on night beats were issued with revolvers. In NSW in June, the latest in a long line of legislation designed to curb ‘unruly ruffians’ failed to get to the second reading stage. Coincidentally, some said provocatively, a gang kicked to death a man called Pert supposedly because he was an informer. All of those arrested subsequently claimed to have jobs, as labourers, carters, printers, etc. After ‘conferring’ with Inspector- General of Police Fosberry, Premier Dibbs announced on 4 July his intention to ‘Deal With the Pushes’ by recruiting more police, training more plain clothes police, and by arming certain of their number. Indicative of the political heat generated by the Pert killing was that on 7 July an editorial in a Newcastle paper spoke of possible vigilantes and the Sydney Lord Mayor convened a gathering ‘to consider ways to suppress larrikinism’.[615] Top-heavy with local government officials and politicians, it was hamstrung at the outset by His Worship beginning with a warning about potentially explosive sensitivities and a hope that ‘politics’ would not be introduced into the debate. The meeting finished with a whimpering resolution that parliament would be asked to come up with something.

It was not until August that it became apparent that Fosberry’s initiative amounted to a kind of ‘flying squad’ – hand-picked, armed police making lightning raids on trouble spots.[616] They were quickly labelled ‘the light brigade’ after the heroic Crimean cavalry charge. The SMH had a ‘special reporter’ join the force for a number of night forays in August. His first report began by quoting a senior detective to the effect that there were no larrikin pushes, ‘in the sense of regularly organised gangs’ and that the incidence of street harassment and violence had diminished greatly anyway. The more aggressive had found work, preferably indoors, as ‘welchers’ in billiard saloons or as ‘security guards’, the more skilled had left Australia for the USA where limited-round fights were legal, and some, like Foley, became boxing instructors at respectable gyms.

Desmond, according to Andrews, was responsible for the idea of using the Castlereagh Street group’s augmented numbers to intervene in certain public meetings and force the election of a chairperson suitable to those in attendance rather than have one foisted on them by a meeting’s organisers. In attempting to expose the long-standing ways in which public meetings had been manipulated and reports of their outcomes falsified, the conspirators produced a press sensation. Their place in ‘movement’ politics became very public and the Brigade and its backers were exposed very quickly as having no ideological cohesion, no sense of group loyalty and no decisive leader. The broader political scene was deficient in the same ways so it’s not surprising, but singular anomalous figures like Desmond and Andrews suffered the most as parliamentary politics assumed the ascendency.

The first meeting ‘simply taken charge of’, and the date from which the ASB became known to the public, was on 7 September 1893 at the New Masonic Hall, opposite McNamara’s bookshop. As in 1891, the politician under siege was McMillan (‘Scott’). The next day’s Truth [Traill ???] provided the texts of two handbills circulated at the meeting, with a letter from Harry Holland denying that he and ‘Harry’ Douglas had organised the disturbance.[617] He pointss out that after McMillan and entourage had fled, nine-tenths of the crowd had ‘remained and listened attentively’ to speeches by Holman and themselves.[618] While the ‘respectable’ press railed about the interdiction of McMillan’s speech, Truth pointed out they only reproduced one of the two hand bills, the one by Holland and Douglas asking for support of a ‘Democratic Labor Party’. The other sounds more like Desmond-speak. Truth carefully separated him from ‘the Socialists’, though outside the hall a second, impromptu meeting was addressed by Desmond, Rosa, Yewen and others. The SMH described this meeting as ‘anarchical’ which it clearly wasn’t, in style or in content. Truth described as ‘anarchical’ a feeling said to be abroad ‘among a certain section of the unemployed’. The unnamed author said that many chance acquaintances admit to being uneasy and in sympathy with attempts to blow up ships.[619]

Dibbs instructed Fosberry to send enough police to McMillan’s next meeting to ensure that he was heard. McMillan protested saying he would prefer that ‘the people’ should provide whatever safeguards were required. Dibbs responded by saying that he’d become aware that McMillan had arranged ‘friends and supporters’ to be in the hall to control the meeting and that he couldn’t stand aside when a riot was in the offing.[620]

So, when McMillan tried again on the 19th September, he persisted with a chairperson prepared to go through the motions so that favorable reports could appear in the newspapers regardless of what actually occurred. He issued tickets to his supporters who entered the hall early by a side-entrance, while his opposition held a meeting outside. The Evening News estimated there were 700 of McMillan’s supporters and police already inside when the front doors were opened and ‘the public’ rushed in, but the result was the same. Victorious a second time, the ASB held a further meeting outside the hall and again ‘anarchical’ Desmond and Rosa proposed and seconded, respectively, a very wordy anti-McMillan motion which had supposedly been ‘lost’ when put inside the hall.[621] On the third occasion, on the 25th, in the Protestant Hall, McMillan conceded defeat and allowed Fred Flowers to be elected chairperson by the meeting. McMillan was then listened to quietly, and at the end Flowers waited for the customary vote of confidence. No one was prepared to so move, so Dodd moved a vote of no confidence, specifically ‘that McMillan, by his address, had proved himself an enemy of democracy, of civil liberty and fair play and had thereby forfeited the confidence of the electors of East Sydney’. McNamara seconded the motion which was carried by a large majority and the meeting broke up quietly after cheers.[622] McMillan subsequently tried another electorate, was successful but soon left party politics altogether.

Andrews’s account implies that all the anti-McMillan activists at these meetings were ASB members, ie, in addition to the core, Batho, McNamara, Holland, Holman and Flowers, and therefore candidates for unallocated pseudonyms in his fiction and for leadership of the various ‘cells’ of ‘Electric Invincibles’ which he concocted.[623] Charles Hart, previously a director of the AW, may be ‘his’ bankrupted revolutionist who went to South Africa.[624] I feel sure that either Holland, often described as a ’beardless youth’ though married with two children, or Holman was ‘Vermont’.[625]

A one-page ‘Supplement’ appeared between the last Hard Cash and the first Standard Bearer. Dated 22 October 1893, it has an illustration closely resembling another attributable to Andrews. It contains an attack on conservative MP Bruce Smith and other ‘legal and anointed robbers of the poor in the NSW Parliament’, and a satiric ‘Proclamation’ over Barton’s name closing down Hard Cash. The printer is named as ‘Thomas Cobham, Windsor, Melbourne, which is no doubt false.[626] A long, friendly article in Truth by ‘John Bull’ on 22 October 1893 announced Andrews’s farewell to ‘the Domain’ and an assertion that he intended to politicise the tramps and to give them a chance to survive better without being forced to become wage slaves. A letter from him in Mudgee later described his attempts to demonstrate ‘communist anarchy’ to his travelling companions – sharing his food and insisting on joint efforts at getting food, firewood, etc – and insists that: ‘The result was a vivid awakening and extension of practical communism in their mutual relations…, the development of a keen instinct of solidarity and of resentment towards any tendency to…selfishness, the growth of mutual confidence, frankness and good will…’[627] It is probable that he has despaired of even his immediate ‘comrades’ adopting the tenets of ‘practical communism.’

Despite the evidence for all the above, neither conspiracies nor bare-knuckle debating in public halls made it into Nairn’s biography of Holman:

   (In) 1893 he enlarged his…reputation for precocious intellectualism by a series    of notable public lectures on Marx, Henry George and Boehm-Bawerk. He revealed    a flair for grass-roots organizing…At a unity conference in November 1893    Holman proposed that the executive’s pledge for parliamentarians be accepted and    it became the basis of a successful motion, helping to unite the party for the    1894 and future elections…

Holman was certainly engaged with the Brigade in late-1893 and probably assisted Dodd (‘Rigby’) to wrest control of the ASB away from Desmond. Those two appear to have worked with Rosa[628] and Sceusa on the subsequent LEL platform.[629] Sceusa had become an Australian citizen in 1892 and had gone back to Europe in mid-1893 for an International Socialist Conference in Zurich where he insisted on being acknowledged as the Australian representative, and as the first ever. At the gathering he urged 1st May be celebrated universally, a theme he emphasised in a London interview before returning to Sydney where, in November, he was welcomed, specifically by Holman, with an illuminated address and a meerschaum pipe. Strongly anti-anarchist and strongly pro-the parliamentary path, he was nevertheless held up by Table Talk as a violence-prone ‘Brigader’.[630] Table Talk (Sydney), over three long articles in November and December, with quotes from ASB documents as proof, also named Desmond, Douglas, Dodd, Andrews, and Rosa as anarchists, and architects of ‘the impending danger’.[631] In November and December the very upset Australian Star attacked ‘reckless doctrinaires’, philosophical anarchists, Georgeites and theoretical socialists, for setting in motion forces whose object was the ‘utter destruction of society’. These people were all ‘scowling communists’ and ‘red-handed’ anarchists. The ‘Bird’ attacked Dodd by name, and its cartoons displayed ASB members literally armed to the teeth.[632]

Nairn was especially misleading when crediting Holman with the ‘executive’s pledge’ motion. Four ‘labour’ MPs – Kelly, Fitzgerald, Sharp and Johnston – had enraged their colleagues in 1892, when they had first voted to condemn the Government with regard to the Broken Hill strike, but then supported that same Ministry five minutes later on an Opposition ‘lack of confidence’ motion. Their four votes had been the difference in the failed attempt to bring down Dibbs, the result of which was the Dibbs Dictatorship had endured a further twelve months. The Labour Conference, 10th-11th November, the most representative to that point according to Markey, and involving 200 trade and other delegates from around the State, met to debate policy. The LEL Central Committee directed proceedings and the Daily Telegraph reported:

…The conference seemed to be composed almost exclusively of socialists and members of that noisy band of larrikins known as the active service brigade…the labor movement will have to rid itself of these…[633]

A motion urging the healing of the ‘unhappy breach’ between the Labor Leagues and the four MPs was amended to declare ‘undying hostility’ towards them.[634] It passed almost unanimously despite intense argument, and they were expelled from the Party. Both Andrews and ‘Baarmutha’ believed that Desmond moved the amendment.[635]J. Normington-Rawlings in a 1963 letter to Roth denied any Desmond claim outright, another scholar, Fitzhardinge, has credited Dodd and another activist, Ferguson, while Truth at the time gave Dodd the honour of moving and Rosa that of seconding the amending motion.[636] ‘Price Warung’ in his book on the conference does not mention the resolution at all, while George Black’s only reference to it is to describe it as ‘childish’. Kelly’s response included:

            If I am turned out for being a protectionist and a labor man, then I would rather            have the ‘undying hostility’ – it is their phrase – of McNamara, Rosa and Hepher        than their undying gratitude. I can’t see how it is that Rosa should represent         the East Sydney Labor Electoral League when, as a fact, he resides in Newtown.          The fact is, in my opinion, the socialists are trying to capture the labor party.[637]

The long-running battle for the Party, in Markey’s view, was now between the city-dominated LEL’s and the rural based ASU, soon to be the AWU. Markey has contended that the expulsion motion was less important than the November follow-up which re-affirmed the need for all MP’s to pledge adherence to Party policy as determined by platform and caucus decisions. The MP’s in attendance, outvoted, complained the Conference had been ‘stacked’ and that the pledge imposed ‘unrealistic restrictions’ on them. The ASU initially agreed but became less supportive when delegates returned to their constituencies, mainly because of ‘the city’ wanting an eight hour day, considered unreasonable in ‘the bush.’ His demarcation can only hold if the ASB/activist socialists were aligned with the LEL’s – Watson, Holman, Hughes, et all, and were acting on their behalf.

In parliament on the 16th November, Kelly attacked the agitators leading the unemployed in daily parades. He asserted to the House that money was being made from desperate workers by the ASB, this being the only reason the protests were being kept up. Dodd, in the visitor’s gallery, was incensed, cried out ‘Liar’, whereupon he was detained for a time. Dodd then re-organised[638] ASB unemployed protests into pseudo-religious pilgrimages. A meeting and procession with crucifix and rag effigy representing Christ would move from the Statue to a nearby church where Dodd called upon clergy to help the dispossessed in the name of the Galillean reformer.[639] Newspapers of 25 November noted two meetings on one day: the first at St Andrews Cathedral of sixty people shadowed by police but where the service was not interrupted. The second had three hundred marchers and the bloody effigy on a crucifix, labelled IHS, behind which they moved to Centennial Hall. Here police seized the effigy, the procession entered the service and Dodd offered up ‘blasphemous’ prayers until he was interrupted by the clergyman.[640]

At a branch meeting of the Licensed Cabmen on 22nd November, Kelly, who was campaigning for a vacancy on the city’s Transit Committee, brought his own ‘muscle’ and ejected an un-named ASB ‘leader’, probably Robinson (Robertson) often known as ‘Hard Kash’ because of a top hat he wore labelled to indicate what he was selling. Kelly had organised a Catholic Irish gang, euphemistically called the ‘Mosquito Club’ to protect himself from ASB visitations, but he eventually lost the vote to a cab-driver. Robinson who was arrested for ‘riotous behaviour’ outside the hall,[641] appears to have assisted Desmond with Standard Bearer and to have taken over responsibility for it when Desmond left town in December. A Standard Bearer column in November headed ‘Active Service Gazette’ called for a ’21-gun salute’ for ‘the traitors’, ie, the four labor MPs who refused to sign the pledge.[642] Thus Desmond who was, I believe, ‘No. 27’ and ‘Press Secretary’, nursed his disappointment at being superseded, by emphasising the need for movement solidarity with a military metaphor. He, presumably, also wrote in Standard Bearer in December:

The Headquarters of the ASB is in New Zealand, but the organisation there bears another name….The result of the last N.Z. elections is a distinct victory for us and shows that a few thousand silent, determined men can work wonders if they have the money to work with….[643]

Elsewhere he described New Zealand as twenty years, politically and morally, ahead of Australia where public affairs is a huge joke not ‘war to the knife for cash and land’ as across the Tasman:

Democracy can never triumph until it is in deadly, bitter, savage earnest, until it is ready … to wade through fire and blood … to regain its own property.[644]

An alternative approach had taken form in the ASB. It mobilised supporter numbers in the hundreds who were strongly motivated when asked to defend a space. The Dibbs Government lost another vote on 7 December and Ministers Barton and O’Connor had resigned. The following day, 8 December, Dibbs prorogued Parliament, rather than close it and go to an election.     On the 11th December, a West Sydney LEL meeting had Kelly, Fitzgerald and others on the platform to explain their actions in parliament. Douglas, the first ‘Brigader’ to interject, was thrown out ‘in parachutist style’. Dodd, active in the audience was quieted when threatened with ejection. Fitzgerald asked thebully-boys to leave him, Dodd, alone as he was ‘only the tool of people without the courage to do their own dirty work’.  O’Reilly, another newsagent and ASB member, pulled a small gun on an ejector, J J Hynes, the police moved in and arrested him, the gun disappearing in the fracas, apparently by way of ‘Hard Kash’ Robinson.[645]

Also on the 11th, the first cabled news of a major bomb attack on the French Parliament made headlines. On 12 December, hired muscle led by ‘Mick’ Dooley enabled Parkes to obtain ‘the chair’ of a meeting intended to give Reid, the newly-installed opposition leader, a forum to attack Dibbs. Parkes, his colleagues and a contingent of police sat and watched Dooley beat up a vociferous 63-year old drunk who despite having only one good arm put up stern resistance within the general melee. ‘Truly, we have had enough and more than enough of Mr Fosberry’ the Star editorialised, hoping the thugs’ ‘aiders, abettors and organisers’ would all be flushed out in an enquiry:

(North Sydney voters) do not understand free-traders coquetting with socialists, and still less some of those whom we have been accustomed to style the honorable members of Her Majesty’s opposition allying themselves with the grossest forms of blackguardism, and engaging gangs of bullies and larrikins to coerce and insult free citizens assembled in public meeting.[646]

Towards the end of the meeting, Desmond put a motion saying that while the resignation of Barton and O’Connor was the result of an unconstitutional action of Premier Dibbs and must be condemned as further evidence of his dictatorial attitude, nevertheless it was a blessing because the crisis had stopped the passage of a Bill intended to make the Bank Notes Bill permanent. Holland and Dodd supported him to attack ‘Reid the Wriggler’, and the motion was easily carried.[647] A week later Judge Addison dismissed the cross-summonses of John Allen, the old man, and Dooley without hearing Allen’s witnesses. Dooley was allowed to argue that he was there by chance and the judge appeared to want to see the end of the case as quickly as possible. Kelly led a delegation of ‘Mosquito Club’ members to the Minister for Justice to ask for Allen’s case to be heard.[648] Their request was denied, and the Mosquitoes readied themselves for the next round. The ASB, however, was splintering and the authorities were ramping up their pressure.

By late-November early-December, the ousting of Desmond by the pragmatists was complete. Dodd received a second, disguised rebuke in December from the same Ringleader No. 27 as ‘a most indiscreet subordinate member’ of A Division.[649] A Barracks and Free [labor] Registry for the ‘large numbers of men unable to pay the ordinary charges for decent board and lodging’ at 221 1/2 Castlereagh Street was in place despite Annie Dwyer’s suspicions of ‘the Tommy Dodd set’, with Dwyer as manager, Dodd as secretary, and Douglas as treasurer.[650] Ironically, the ASB received more police harassment rather than less with Desmond away:

… the premises were haunted by police pimps, offering to procure dynamite or asking for assistance to burn down the city.








From October, ‘93 to April 1894, Andrews may have camped on a hill outside Mudgee or, following his usual practice, worked on local newspapers in exchange for board. In April he returned to Sydney with his definitive statement A Handbook of Anarchy just as the bitter, internal dispute for control of ‘the movement’ reached another flash point.

Markey has summarised the 1890’s as an ‘industrial holocaust’ and put blame for the subsequent ‘de-mobilisation of the working class’, especially in Sydney, on ‘the combination (after 1892) of unemployment with a series of crushing industrial defeats (which)decimated the unions’. For the period 1890-93, and for the ‘urban proletariat’ in particular, his research led him to conclude that unwillingness of the Sydney union leaders to  give up their independence, and the centralisation of administrative power by the ambitious young men in the Labor Electoral Leagues ruined any chance of organisational stability. The consequence was that the coterie of emergent, professional labor politicians – Watson, Hughes, Holman, et al – aligned with the rural-based constituencies of the ASU/AWU and followed laborist rather than class-based policies: ‘As its constituents collapsed around it, the (Sydney Trades and Labor Council) declined drastically…Although the economy began to improve from 1896, organisational recovery did not begin in earnest until 1900-1901…’ [651]

He has little on the civil, criminal or conspiratorial processes which produced these results and none at all on the personal consequences of internal feuding. ‘The spectacular events’ of the 1890’s have attracted ‘detailed attention from historians’, he has said, and made it unnecessary to ‘relate the actual events…again’. The only fault he finds with his academic colleagues is that:

The detailed analysis to which historians have recently subjected the motivations of the strikes’ major participants, largely at the level of the leadership, has tended to dilute the broader class perspective. (p.158)

Svensen’s subsequent rebuttal was to argue that a great deal of ‘the actual events’ had not been analysed, and, in 2016, I assert that this remains the case. Markey’s doctrinaire approach to what was relevant, following Nairn’s (and others) obsession with certain personalities, has not yet assisted a clear or comprehensive picture to emerge, but whether post-Markey accretion of analysis will or should alter Markey’s general conclusions remains to be seen.

Further waves of anti-anarchist newspaper coverage were sweeping in from overseas making local government efforts at suppression easy and labour politics more reactionary. It was a case of overkill as not only the ASB but the much broader ‘movement’ was on the point of collapse into the arms of the moderates. At this tipping point, the closeness of the most maligned ‘anarchists’ and the most ambitious of ‘labour’ politicians was clearer than ever. ‘Tommy’ Dodd’s altercation with Senior Constable Handon, referred to above, can now be appreciated anew:

Ere, you’re treadin’ on my toes…Roll up boys! Don’t let the dog take me…I’ve got two or three members of Parliament at my back, and I’ll make it hot for you…I’ll have fifty witnesses in the morning…(In court, to Prosecutor Crick, sometime MP) He knows as I’m opposing him for West Macquarie, and that he won’t get in…[652]

Brigade members, Dodd, Dwyer and Douglas, with Arthur Rae and George Black, visited Justice Minister Slattery to appeal for the release of Frank McCoy, fireman, who’d wielded a broken chair at the Parkes-meeting in December. Slattery agreed, if someone could pay the Hall-owners for the chair. Appeals by Rosa and McNamara in the Hard Cash cases were dismissed in February, yet neither turned Queen’s evidence to disclose where it had been printed, most people, in any event mixing it up with Standard Bearer, then and since. A delegation of Dodd, Holman, Hughes, Yewen and Kohen to Justice Minister Slattery to ask for their release was refused in March, as were others. A Sunday Domain meeting 30 April 1894, chaired by Douglas and heard by 3-4,000 people was given over to George Black to defend himself against charges arising from his unwillingness to sign the solidarity pledge. The inconclusive meeting heard Black supported by Dwyer, then Holman and Hughes supported by Dodd, put directly opposed motions.[653]


Dwyer, Douglas, McNiven, Mason and Dodd were arrested by Rochaix after this meeting for material in Justice, an agitational broadsheet, the production of which is even more murky than that of Hard Cash. A regular ASB meeting, held just prior at the Star Hotel in Sussex Street was chaired by Lee and used by Douglas and Mason to set out the Brigade’s electoral platform, something anarchists don’t normally have. Justice was issued as the mouthpiece of the ASB, but was described in its first issue in February as ‘the Organ of Social Democracy’ and on page one, immediately under the heading announced:

Seeing that all wealth is the product of labor it is the duty of the State to protect labor from the hungry capitalist.

Not an anarchist sentiment, either. It was published from February to May, 1894, that is after the arrest of the five so others must have been involved. In court on 28 April, the major charge was publishing a criminal libel against the Minister for Justice, Slattery. A paragraph had suggested he’d off-loaded a mistress to a publican in exchange for favors. Watson was Mason’s surety, Black stood for Douglas, McGowen (another ‘labour’ MP)for Dodd, McNiven’s was a storekeeper and Dwyer’s Clarke, a journalist. Dwyer was the only one of the five likely to have been able to provide an anarchist perspective but he was being attacked by the others who sought the money being made at the Barracks, small amount though it was, and the influence the ASB could bring. The group had, in fact, split to the extent that Dodd claimed to be the only editor of Justice for the first issue, printed at the Castlereagh Street, and Mason the sole editor for the second and third. These two issues, proudly spelling out Mason’s State-Socialism, were produced from 491 Elizabeth Street. After his arrest, Dwyer wrote to Slattery saying the paper had been started with a very serious and expensively vouched-for interest in remaining libel free,[654] and that he was ashamed of what had happened: ‘I have nothing to do with this paper’. Dodd also wrote to Slattery, apologised for the libel and claimed to have been in Newcastle during setting of the 27 April issue. Douglas said he had been in Newcastle since 30 March when he had given up all responsibility for the paper. He had, with Mason, acted as unofficial editor to the early issues. Mason was apparently regarded as the journalist expert and had been expected ‘to keep the libel out’. He disclaimed knowledge of ‘the libel’ and asked for mercy for McNiven who he said was only technically involved as printer’s assistant.[655]

Douglas, Mason and Dodd got nine months, Dwyer six, and McNiven one month. A more serious pair of charges, sedition and inciting to murder, had been levelled at Justice and the sorry five after Dodd, apparently, wrote about the execution of two burglars who had not killed anyone: ‘Then, say we, let every man in the future, when menaced by arrest for housebreaking, shoot and shoot straight’.[656] All five were remanded and the Attorney-General took the opportunity to ask the Crown Prosecutor about the advisability of proceeding. The latter replied:

In my opinion it would not be advisable to proceed further … the accused are certainly technically guilty … and the language … complained of was very intemperate but no more so than that contained in several of the leading papers in the city on the same subject.

Since the prisoners had had a salutary scare, the effect would be neutralised if they were acquitted by a jury unwilling to convict, which was likely.[657] The charges were dropped, ostensibly as a kind of amnesty by the new Reid Government elected in July. Dwyer returned to the Barracks, where the burly adolescent, Lang, had been helping out. Dwyer later claimed credit for having organised three barracks, a co-operative coal mine near Waterfall (NSW) and for having enrolled thousands of new ASB members around the State.

Reflective of his individual closeness to ‘the movement’ but also of his vulnerability was Andrews’ involvement in an altogether different newspaper controversy. In January, Medway-Day, editor of The (Sydney) Worker had published a letter from him repeating his success organising tramps and unemployed but that he was then working for the Mudgee Guardian. Another letter in February responded to reports of the capture of the anarchist Merlino in Europe and explained that he, Andrews was a nihilist and therefore not in agreement with Merlino’s working with socialists. He was then accused by G.C. Johnson that as ‘Pilgrim’ in the Rylestone Advocate, (near Mudgee) he had attacked W.E. Johnson’s (no relation) candidacy in a local seat. Andrews responded again in the (Sydney) Worker denying the charge and listing the persons to whom he was sending copies of the Mudgee Guardian for which he was writing. He did this as he saw the attempt to tie him to the ‘Pilgrim’ letters as part of the plot to jail him, to weaken his influence or to discredit any evidence he might give in cases brought against others. Recipients he named were the McNamaras, Robinson, O’Reilly, Medway-Day, the MP Carruthers, a certain Hoy on whom he calls for help when in prison later, Desmond and Dwyer. O’Reilly and Robinson respond to support him against G.C. Johnson’s continued claims that he was writing for the enemies of labor and being paid by them.[658] Johnson may have been referring to Andrews’s selling of pot-boiler stories to the ‘straight’ press for survival money, such as ‘Romance of a Fair-Girl’s Bathroom’ published under one of his many pseudonyms.

Truth, in April, entered the fray by quoting London ‘labour’ organiser John Burns calling anarchists ‘mentally dwarfed and morally deficient’ and pointedly ending the piece with: ‘Now, then, Anarchist Andrews – play to that’. He of course responded with a cool explanation of why there was little to respond to: ‘Of course, John Burns says such things – he’s a Social Democrat who all believe anarchists more hateful than capitalists’, and as well, he calls ‘anarchist’ anyone who accuses him of being reactionary and corrupt. Edwin Richards of Mudgee, perhaps provoked, wrote in May to explain to readers, he said, the sort of man ‘Anarchist Andrews’ actually was. Richards, editor of the Mudgee Guardian, described Andrew’s wretched appearance when he applied at the paper’s office looking for work, and disclosed how disgusted he was that anyone with Andrew’s background and education could have let himself go so badly. (Syd W 19/5/94) Medway-Day apologised for printing the letter but, after all, Andrews had started the conversation. The argument was overtaken by events as Andrews was (sort-of) arrested immediately distribution of the Handbook began for not having the printer’s imprint ‘correctly’ upon it, a flaw shared by many official and commercial publications.[659] Robinson and Wolfe, helping to distribute it, were similarly charged.

Ferguson’s Bibliography of Australia[660] claims that Dibbs himself was directly responsible for initiating the prosecution of the Handbook, which begins:

Anarchy is freedom. The literal meaning of the word ‘free’ is to love or like; thus when we say that a man is free we imply that he is ‘to like’, that is, he has only to like in order to decide what he will do or try to do. Among the things which people in general like is to avoid hurting others.

In its fourteen pages Andrews discussed lawlessness and the likelihood of violence between people en masse or in small groups. At all times he is opposed to violence. He believes in the naturalness of people feeling for one another, sharing ‘in the joys and suffering of each other’ if they were only given a chance to decide for themselves on the basis of that capacity rather than have that ‘exercise of fellow feeling’ taken away through the application of person-made law. Logical, comprehensive and consistent, the essay concluded:

[How] is this state, so desirable, to be realised? It cannot be imposed; it must come by enlightenment and individual reform [my emphasis]. Each must purify his own life from all taint of the evil and have courage to ignore what is imposed…. Anarchy, the applied science of society will make its way with a rapidity and power impossible to barren creeds. In the spirit of the living faith that works its way to sight, dwells and there alone, the hope with the glory of Victory.

In various places in the text the Handbook recommended News from Nowhere (twice), Lane’s Working Man’s Paradise and Bakunin’s God and the State. Caught up in a ‘trial’ of Wolfe and Robinson, when he appeared as a witness, Andrews was sentenced to £20 or three months by Whittingdale Johnson the magistrate sent to Broken Hill during the 1892 strike. The other two received one month. The secret police in this instance were not called, in fact no one was called, and no court records survive because none were taken. On Andrews’s account, the judge simply sentenced him, exhibiting an instinctive aversion and total abrogation of professional responsibility brought on by the nature of the charge and the defendants.[661] For his part, Andrews was relieved to be out of the firing line and took the three months. He was already very thin to the point of being wasted.

The anti-anarchist stereotype was so firmly entrenched that local editors printed anything supplied by ‘authorities’ without question. The Australian Star, as one example, has sixty-seven leading items or editorials on ‘anarchist outrages’ during the five months from October 1893 to 1 May, itself another peak of hysteria. All but a few items are from Europe and the United States, many of them rumour or based on association:

“The anarchist who placed the bomb was blown to smithereens”

16 March 1894, from France.

“French anarchist Polti said to have showed another the bomb and its workings on a bus”

April 1894, from London.

“Huge anarchist plot ‘suspected’”

April 1894, from London.

“It is believed that the anarchists have entered into a compact not to commit any outrages in Great Britain or her colonies”

19 February 1894, from London.

“At the Autonomie Anarchist Club an Englishman made a violent speech in which he offered to die in action if he were wanted to carry out any anarchist plot.”

19 February 1894, from London

“Police find bombs, announce a plot”

8 March 1894, from Chicago.

“Italian PM says there were 300,000 Anarchist revolutionaries in Italy. They had sought aid from the Russian Government.”

3 March 1894, from Italy.

The bile was often nastier. A Star editorial on May Day 1894 telling of the march on Washington by Coxey’s Army – tramps and beggars protesting poverty – referred to the ‘vile and contemptible and almost incomprehensible [notion] called Coxeyism …[that] asserts … that property is a crime’. A London report of May Day crowds there included:

Amongst them came the tousle-haired, claw-handed creatures with their red flags and foreign tongues and on and about them the unmistakeable odour of murder, of foul blood.

The reporter applauded ‘honest hearted’ workmen kicking and spitting on these ‘foreign trash’.[662] Local press attacks, ignorant and verging on the pathological, are almost the sum total of the discussion on the topic. There is nothing in the daily papers of, for example, the public support by French intellectuals and literary figures for anarchist principles or their abhorrence of the arbitrary ‘justice’ being meted out, in the midst of far more warlike campaigns of bombings, vilification and police repression.[663] The fight for control of ‘the movement’ and its politico/financial benefits was not resolved by an LEL conference, in March, the Central Executive insisting on maintaining the platform and its overall control: ‘Only three MPs accepted the conference decisions. Open warfare followed, at public meetings, and within the Leagues, for control of the movement.’(Markey, p.183)

The ‘Socialist Party’ organised two Sydney May Day celebrations, one in the Domain and an evening meeting at Leigh House. Both passed wordy resolutions expressing little more than solidarity with ‘overseas toilers’. Speakers included Smith, Norman, Hughes, Black and Holman. The (Syd) Worker’s Medway-Day, commented: ‘One could wish that both the resolution and the speeches had been more of a thoroughly practical nature…In Melbourne (the resolutions passed) were more to the point than those in Sydney’:

…Just now, labor in New South Wales is not in a position of triumph. It is divided within its own rankssave us from the petty jealousies and disagreements which at the present moment are the most serious menace to the labor movement in New South Wales.’[664]

A journal The New Order, decided on around the end of 1893 by the Central Committee of the LEL to counter the TLC influence expressed in the newspapers, The (Sydney) Worker and the AW, appeared on 7th April. Hughes has left the most detailed, but coded, description of New Order, which ran from 7th April to 25th August. His pride in ‘that unique, that peerless journal’ is apparent in his memoirs where self-deprecation competes with self-adulation. As he describes it, his role was a minor one. He describes the editor, ‘Yeates’, in great detail, without revealing that this was the committed and resolute Yewen, who later left ‘the movement’ in disgust after Hughes, boosted by the paper got into parliament and moderated his politics. The Manager of New Order, ‘John Hillyard’, described by Hughes as ‘our guide, philosopher, friend and championOf course, we were all, or nearly all, remarkable men…but none of us was a patch on Hillyard.’ Nairn’s biography has: ‘…In 1894 (Holman) was involved with Beeby in a publication at Hillgrove in the northwest; the same year with Hughes and others he produced the New Order.’ Holman doesn’t appear in Hughes’ text unless he is ‘John Hillyard’. Volunteers in the basement of Farmer’s Pitt St Building where the journal was prepared included Mrs Holman senior who provided coffee, and Sam Smith of the seamen’s union. CH Bertie, writing in 1929 said no-one was paid but the venture was supported by ‘three sympathisers’ who lived and worked on the ground floor. One was an Italian anarchist who kept a wine shop, ‘a most kindly man who wouldn’t have known a bomb from a banana.’ The other two sold fruit and small goods ‘so there was always food’.[665]

Desmond, on the staff but disguised as ‘Arthur Dremayne’, was in Hughes’ hands an irritating, useless drunk. He had returned to Sydney in February to put out at least one Australian Investors Review, but in April 1894 was reported chairing a miners’ meeting in Wyalong, southern NSW. Hughes refers to no controversial history before New Order and has Desmond writing rural reports.[666] Sometime in 1894 he was offered a safe labor NSW seat, Durham, but declined, some say ‘indignantly’. When New Order finished he went back into the country leaving a rapidly written Public Opinion to shrivel on its release. Julian Stuart, one of the Queensland union organisers arrested in 1891, camped with Desmond in southern NSW, his memoirs also mentioning Harry Holland and Leo Cadogan who later married Rose Summerfield and joined the communards in Paraguay. Stuart thought Desmond a good mate and a propagandist who made things lively wherever he went. Stuart told how Desmond received ‘a mulga wire’ at Lambing Flat that the warrants for his arrest on charges of sedition and treasonable utterances were about to be executed, indicating continuing surveillance, so he slipped out of the tent and ‘faded over the horizon’, not even waiting for breakfast. ‘Soon after I got a letter from New York saying he was taking another name just for luck’.[667] Clearly, he was another ‘drunk’ whose context deserves more attention.

On 30 June 1894 just three days after French President Carnot was killed by anarchist Santo, the Bird 0’Freedom centre-paged a scurrilous, vicious attack on anarchism, Andrews and the Smithfield farm.[668] The article correlated social revolution with seas of blood and men forcing women to share their sexual favours around. Marx and Engels were said to have been the leaders of the Paris Commune, and anarchists, unionists, Satan and mad fanatics were, literally, all lumped together. The article speaks lovingly of rulers and statesmen, repeated the lie that Abbott, the dead Melbourne secularist died during a fight with anarchists, and that the Colonel Price order to his troops was fabricated by Andrews ‘for the good of the cause’:

We have it on the most reliable authority that both Ravoschol [sic] and Vaillant who have been recently executed for outrages in Paris, were in constant communication with local groups and that there are at the present moment a number of anarchist refugees of the worst type in Sydney. More than that, it is whispered that this country has been made a kind of depot for Anarchistic correspondence and that some recent European explosions were to have had an echo in the far south.

The tone is Brady’s. Outrageously, it went on to assert an embellishment of the 1890 ‘bomb-plot’ story:

 At the time of the strike in 1890 it is said that a cartload of dynamite with an electrical firing apparatus affixed was launched at dead of night from a lonely wharf on Pyrmont side with a view to blowing up a wharf and woolstores, where a great number of free labourers had been assembled. The plot failed owing to an act of cowardice or conscience on someone’s part …

Totally out-manoeuvred on the question of direct action, the whole of ‘the movement’ was in tatters, vigorous only in spasms, subsiding fitfully to a plateau of aspiration far below that from which it had begun the decade. The containment of the democratic surge within the parliamentary bottle was very nearly complete. Country districts were the last to submit, 1894 providing some of the clearest examples of determined, deliberate yet largely spontaneous defensive acts of violence of the whole period, without so far as I am aware there being any genuine anarchists on hand. The authorities, on the other hand, were still adding to their strength. The Queensland government introduced Peace Preservation Legislation in August and issued a Manual to ‘peace officers’ which horrified even the Sydney Daily Telegraph:

This ghastly official announcement ….Not even in the most autocratically governed country in Europe has a more cold-blooded incitement to take human life been issued with official sanction.[669]

The Manual ordered the police in specified situations not to fire low, but to pick off ‘the leaders’, echoing the ASB leaflet. Among many other things the legislation made it possible to imprison anyone for six months without trial if suspected of being guilty of any crime punishable by law – in particular, violence, intimidation or incitement, or tending to disturb or interfere with law and order.[670] Eight labor members of parliament were gagged and expelled for attempting to stop the Bill. Tozer, Colonial Secretary, was quoted as saying that the arrests of strike leaders in 1891 was illegal, and that he wanted power to do it legally, thus the new Bill.[671] The alleged ASB leaflet from November, 1893 [672] were followed-up in July and August 1894, only the first of them referring to the ASB, the second being called ‘An Anarchist Leaflet’ by the Brisbane Courier.

What Tozer described in 1894 as ‘an insurrection’[673] ‘in the west’ spilled into New South Wales. The ASU Manifesto averred the need to ‘resist to the death’ and the Australian Star from 4 July 1894 to the end of November reported fifty-seven serious ‘rural strike’ incidents from the two States. From 1 May to the end of August there were in the Star fifty-two major reports or editorials on anarchy, real and imaginary, mostly from overseas, then only a further nine to the end of 1894. The burning of the MV Rodney in August while it was conducting ‘free labourers’ to Bourke on the Darling River provoked the new Reid Government in NSW to offer £100 rewards and[674] to spend ‘large sums in secret detective work’.

Pastoralist WE Abbott made a useful distinction between ‘justifiable…and under all the circumstances, commendable homicide’ and ‘murder’ which would have made ‘every one of the sundowners’ involved in an attack on ‘free labourers’ leading to a fatality among the attacked, criminals and ‘liable to be hanged’:

Anarchy, bloodshed and murder are the natural fruits of pandering to crime or cowering in the presence of criminals.[675]

When Justice Stephen urged station owners and strike-breakers to arm themselves and shoot down strikers – ‘the law will find it justifiable homicide’ – a young May Hickman weighed in:

Just so. Stephen’s interpretation of the law should cut both ways; but when unionists resist the ruffianly attempts of organised capital … their resistance is called riot or insurrection, according to the law. Therefore let Stephen … be impeached – as a counsellor to sedition and a stirrer-up of civil strife.[676]

Neither she nor Abbott were arrested. Again one wonders about the behind-the-scenes dynamic. In responding to Abbott’s letters and to a telegram from a meeting of Wagga pastoralists along the same lines, Inspector-General Fosberry expressed surprise that ‘life has not already been sacrificed’ in the west and suggested stronger punitive actions: the dispersing of union camps; an act of parliament ‘rendering it illegal under certain circumstances for persons to carry arms’; employment of the military – ‘they would be of little use unless an Act could be passed at once, similar to that in force in Queensland authorising their service as Police’ – and special printed instructions for the police as to their legal powers and duties.[677]

The end of Dibbs’s reign in July made little difference, as the disastrous result for Labor – only George Black being clearly supported strongly – meant that the Reid Cabinet could shrug off the verbal attacks on it if and when it introduced police into strike areas. Equally it shrugged off the Bulletin’s suggestions that Party Government be replaced with a system of referenda as the only way to a truly democratic society, that is, one in which majority [678] will prevailed. The radicals’ only weapons now were verbal, and these were blunted. It is helpful to note just how different New Zealand continued to be. The New Zealand Police Commissioner, Hume, in circumstances similar to those in Australia, refused a request from a pastoralist for protection of even the station itself, especially since, Hume said, the problem was self-induced as the pastoralist had brought in outside, that is, NSW, labour.[679]

Pockets of self-sustaining indignation outside the capitals persisted. In Orange (NSW town), Dibbs was attacked with eggs and flour by miners, in July 9/7/1894, just before the election which ousted him.[680] In Newcastle, police guarding ‘free labourers’ were promiscuously thumping men and women and children of miners, some reports say with bottles.[681] One interesting new response occurred at Minmi (pit-town nr Newcastle) where an improvised cannon was used to shell a ‘scab’ camp. Two miners arrested were discharged when it became obvious that an American-born police informer, Nelson, was involved as agent provocateur.[682] In the city, physical and emotional decline followed the labour movement’s defeats. ‘Get rifles, let’s fight’ was a Domain call in February 1894[683] but railway unionists tried hard to get the TLC to pass their resolution abhorring the assassination of President Carnot in June, the Council resisting in order to make a symbolic gesture, feeling it would be a ‘laughing stock’.[684]

Deep disillusion showed in the debate which raged the length of the country over William Lane’s fanaticism and leadership.[685] Gilbert Casey challenged Head in Sydney for a share of ‘New Australia’ assets following the first split in South America and was repulsed. Head then disappeared, later turning up in Tasmania with a new name.[686] Peter McNaught for a while toured, recruiting for the colony, then turned back more and more to Single Tax efforts, and gradually dropped out of sight.[687] Rose Summerfield attempted for a time to radicalise the women’s movement being president of the Waverly Branch of Womanhood Suffrage and a member of the NSW Council for a period.[688] She then worked with Casey to encourage women to go to Paraguay where she went herself in 1899 with her second husband, Leo Cadogan.

Lawson was recalled to Sydney from a secure job in New Zealand to work on ‘The Daily Worker’ but arrived three days after the scheme collapsed. Aptly, he wrote in 1894 of ‘The Dying Anarchist’ to symbolise his own spoliation and that of the impetuous wave of which he expected so much:

I have been through it all,

Republican, Conservative, Socialist,

Anarchist, Ishmael! Broken idols.

He’d seen close-up the splits, the loss of momentum, the strike losses, the abortive attempts at secret organisations, the disharmony among those who talked solidarity and mateship, and most of all the continued reluctance of ‘the people’ to move on their own behalf:

I dreamed of revolution with blood and fire … I pictured myself in a Liberty cap on top of a barricade … all covered with burnt powder and dust and blood … and my comrades fighting … as they roared the Marseillaise … afterwards wounded and dying.

Inescapably romantic, physically and emotionally limited Lawson was unable to choose action over dreams, but in his dreams he died, sometimes happy. Reality was far too difficult but in this brief vignette he oscillated between fatalism and the need for action:

A bond of hate – the Anarchists. No, not hating each other; we held each other in contempt – we distrusted one another, but we hated the world.

He swings between seeing this hate and suspicion as detrimental to the cause and as an understandable response.

God! I hate them all – the blind, selfish, ignorant fools who live in idleness and lust, and the blind, selfish, ignorant brutes who slave and starve …I toiled for [change] … worked night after night … for the sake of ‘our fellow- men’ who would be the first to mock us and tear us to pieces. Fellowmen! Poor curs who would bite you if you tried to stop their masters from kicking them.

His disillusion was deep:

Comrade? No. I hate that word now. It has become a word of cant like ‘Brother’ and ‘Union’ – like your ‘Mateship!’ I am disgusted with it all.[689]

Published in August, the month before this Lawson ‘story’ appeared, in one of the last issues of New Order was a letter from Andrews which caused a stir in the police office because the authorities thought it must have been smuggled out. It is an important bench-mark for his lessening enthusiasm for agitation. Before going into prison he had written:

After mature consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the present social system … is an essential part of the order of nature and that far from seeking its overthrow, it should be our aim to let it take its course undisturbed whilst removing ourselves from its influence.

This social-Darwinist statement stands alone and outside the flow of his material generally. The ignorant, those incapable of logical under­standing, whether rich or poor, powerful or not, will not perpetuate their kind, and it would be better if ‘we’, those fitted in the fullest sense for a voluntary and co-operative life, let them die out, rather than try to save them from the ravages of competition ‘keener and more scientific’. Unfortunately, ‘we’ due to our higher and nobler sensitivities are also unlikely to reproduce, and in addition ‘we are menaced through all sorts of diabolical’ misrepresentations.[690] it is  a hugely disappointed statement, reflecting his tiredness and the state of ‘the movement’. Out of jail in October, he took up propaganda activities again with renewed enthusiasm. Writing to Dwyer he said he was keeping up the sale of books, having added a new lot but business was slow:

I am thinking about a flying trip in the country … I shall anyway try and make a good all-round trip [after Dwyer’s release]. Charley is looking after the beds [at 491 Elizabeth Street] and Liaubon is doing all he can to push things forward.[691]

Liaubon, a Frenchman with a full-time job, was living in Balmain in a house owned by Mrs Cameron and where ASB and labour meetings were held. He tended a ‘Unity’ garden there and prepared poems and propaganda sheets such as ‘The Balmain Anarchist’ for publication. Andrews continued to print poem sheets and produced a second issue of Revolt which was critical of inactive anarchists though he claimed a degree of progress. He thought ‘the lesson of New Australia’ had influenced people towards anarchy and thought ‘a very manifest anarchist tendency of thought is arising among the progressive unionists, whose socialism is now about the standard of the old social democratic alliance at the time of Bakunin’.[692]

He used publication of this bulletin to manipulate the terms of his arrest for sedition. The charge came out of the address Lord Chief Justice Darley made when sentencing the group of unionists known as the Momba shearers. There is no need to add to Andrews’s account[693] except to record that his response to Darley was deliberately provocative, saying quite baldly, ‘I am an advocate of murder, incendiarism and rebellion’, before pointing out that this was exactly the sense of Darley’s words as it was for Hickman and Abbott. Darley had flouting the law when it suited him. A few years before, in supporting the unconstitutional NSW contingent to the Soudan War, Darley took the view that ‘where the glory of the Empire was at stake the letter of the law was but trifling’. He said he felt pity for those who could not ‘feel proud of such illegalities’.[694] This is perhaps the same view as the editorialist for the South Australian Register took in October when some of the arrested strikers were released because no adverse witnesses could be found:

Secret Societies which terrorise jurors and witnesses … may be ineradicable among Italians or among the foreign riff-raff collected in such a city as New Orleans …but unless we have greatly mistaken the temper of the Australian public nothing of the sort will be tolerated in these British Colonies. In this view the Rodney incident … may have a bracing effect upon all who have the spirit

of Englishmen, and have an Englishman’s detestation of wholesale violence, shielded by wholesale intimidation…[695]

Just after Andrews’s December arrest George Black wrote to Dwyer that the Attorney-General was wavering in his desire to proceed on the very heavy charges on which the arrest had been made, sedition and incitement to murder.[696] Photographs of Andrews show him serious and intense, while descriptions of his physical appearance emphasise his ‘middle-aged, dishevelled’ appearance, though he was only thirty in 1895. His health was clearly impaired. His court responses, however, some written by his detractors, show his mental faculties acute and strong.[697] An unnamed Bulletin writer, conversant with his work, carried on the education in the December 1894 issue. It repeats though not as harshly the appeal of the ‘evolutionary anarchists’ for nature to be allowed to take its course and makes clear its opposition to [state] socialism:

The conception of the anarchist is undoubtedly the higher. Socialism … the view of a human society which considers its members as merely specialised parts of a huge machine, and exacts from every individual abject obedience to the mandates of a central authority is less noble …

No less clearly:

The bomb is the direct antithesis of Anarchism and the … anarchist doctrine has the more reason to deprecate it because up to now it is the anarchist agitation that has suffered the most from its agitation.[698]

The Bulletin further ventured to translate and print with this long article a long poem with illustrations from banned French anarchist paper Le Pere Peinard and extracts from Le Peril Anarchiste, a sympathetic account despite the title. Andrews’s ideas and anarchism generally continued to be discussed despite their apparent unreality in pre-Federated Australia, one example being the debate Reverend J. Medway Day has with his audience as editor of the (Sydney) Worker.[699]





After three months in jail, Andrews came to trial prepared to defend himself but found lesser charges, ‘of scandalysing and vilifying’ Darley had been added, and while the jury found him not guilty on the major indictments, it found him guilty of the lesser, and back he went to jail for nine months of which he served five. Out of jail by July, he spent some time in Sydney before returning to Melbourne, the Socialist[700] saying he intended to produce a paper. A meeting with White and Fleming ostensibly of the Melbourne Anarchist Club in October 1895 [701] decided him that this forum was no longer useful.

No paper eventuated but Andrews wrote leaflets and a poem ‘Invicta Spes’, which Bernard O’Dowd has described as a masterpiece. This was written for the Bulletin, and for the Buenos Aires Communist Anarchist journal he corresponded with someone in Adelaide about forming a group. In January 1896 he produced, with the help of ‘Rivuleth’, the first of two issues of the substantial magazine Reason. ‘Teufelsweldt’, an epic poem, was completed and published the same year. Speaking on the Yarra Bank and elsewhere begun after his return in November 1893 from a visit to the UK to see his ailing father, Fleming spoke up to four times a month on behalf of the Single Tax, up to April, 1896. His union activities continued and he was partly responsible for the Executive and Co-operative Committee of the Victorian One Big Union (VOBU) recommending in June 1895 that the VOBU adopt the principles of Village Settlement and Co-operations. Not a lot was achieved in these areas.[702] Yet he persisted, working with John White, by himself or with committees of moderates. The full stories of Andrew’s continued work up to 1903 when he died of tuberculosis and of Fleming up to 1950 when he died of old age are summaries elsewhere.

Pugilist and push leader ‘Griffo’ had left Sydney in 1894 (coincidentally, on the same steamship that RL Stevenson departed Sydney for the last time) and in New York City he became Lightweight Boxing Champion of the World. He was the star of Young Griffo vs. Battling Charles Barnett, a film made on the roof of Madison Square Garden, May 4, 1895, the first motion picture in the world to be screened before a paying audience. It premiered at 153 Broadway in New York City on May 20, 1895, more than seven months before the Lumière brothers showed their film at the Grand Cafe on the Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, on December 18 – the event usually said to be the first movie-by-ticket screening in the world. Griffo’s brilliant career ended suddenly in 1895 when he was convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy. He spent the rest of his life drinking himself to death.[703]

        ‘Tommy’ Dodd appears to have settled on directly-related LEL work, leaving the ASB amicably in 1895. His reported involvement with Reid, up until Justice appeared in 1894, and his reported support for Harry Foran’s Anti-Humbug League were perhaps attempts at disinformation. He was Secretary of the ill-fated Daily Post venture which saw Holman and Sam Smith jailed. Nairn’s biography made excuses for Holman but cannot sidestep the break-up with the foxy Hughes:

…The most ambitious, and disastrous, project was the Daily Post which ran from January to April 1895. In November Holman was charged, with other directors, with conspiracy to defraud a creditor. Mercurial optimism and enthusiasm and lack of business experience, rather than dishonesty, had produced the crisis, but a miscarriage of justice saw him sentenced to two years in March 1896 … Holman claimed later that Watson and Hughes did not help him.

Late in 1895, alongside a lengthy report on the Haymarket injustices, the Brisbane Worker spelled out the evidence against Dieckmann, an under­cover agent used by Tozer against unionists. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, senior government member and chief beneficiary of the Queensland National Bank reconstruction while Treasurer, had denied in 1893 that the Colonial Secretary or police would ever approve the use of spies. In December 1895, the Worker exposed the Queensland government’s falsification of the Police Commissioner’s 1894 Report to justify the Peace Preservation Legislation and thus the alarmist reports circulated by government members.[704]

In 1896 one of the McNamara daughters married Lawson and another married Lang and lived with the McNamaras for a time. Bertha was a leading member of the Social Democratic Federation of Australasia and of the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales. In 1894 she had published three pamphlets: Commercialism and Distribution of the Nineteenth Century, Forgery and Workingmen’s Homes. In 1897 she campaigned vigorously for imprisoned labour-movement activists in Spain. Using the bookshop as a command centre, she organized protest meetings in the Domain, collected money for the prisoners’ families and wrote angry letters to the press. During the South African War she and William faced hostile crowds to voice their opposition. Always speaking with a pronounced German accent she was a founder of the Labor Women’s Central Organizing Committee and was a frequent delegate to State Labor Party conferences. After William died in 1906 Bertha conducted the bookshop on her own and published further pamphlets.




Intrinsic to anarchism since Proudhon has been the non­violent response of developing self-help techniques and situations which redress the power imbalance by putting the less-powerful more in control of their own lives, and less influenced by the more- powerful. Though self-help was the ‘great Victorian virtue’ 1 it was, in practice, a very qualified self-help which was envisaged by mainstream society. It was a self-help that was not intended to change ‘the natural order’, but in fact was part of the ‘cultural lobotomy’ experienced specifically by the British ‘lower orders’ from about 1835 whereby a vast array of cultural missionaries, voluntary and professional, induced the less-powerful to police themselves and to adopt values of thrift, security and respectability. It required as complement the protective, authoritative and paternalistic ‘heroic agent of order’ to soothe anxieties of the bourgeoisie in a secular

and fragmenting world.2 An example was Sherlock Holmes, another was General Gordon.             These figures embodied ideas of the superiority of white, anglo-saxon males who conformed to, espoused and protected the prevailing hierarchy. Revolutionists shared with their militant opponents a diminished view of the individual’s importance and an exaggerated belief in collisions of competing, heroic forces to decide moral contests. Whether in duels, in David and Goliath combat or in that of huge, massed armies, this belief extended and underlined the ‘habit of authority’ and the prevailing masculine

‘habit of authority’ and the prevailing masculine view of itself. The small, conspiratorial group allowed some women into the struggle at a time when science was making an individual rebel much more powerful, but only when the movement to centralisation and mass culture had already rendered such rebels ultimately powerless.

Put another way, individual or small group violence as arbiter of social power imbalance leaves the source of the imbalance intact.

Anarchism, however, as the logical result of theories of self-help, had its counterpart heroic-figure, the lone assassin, not as an agent of order, but as a herald of change, just as the relevant movement for change was faltering and leaving ‘direct actionists’ isolated, increasing their frustration. Most individual assassins have been portrayed as, and probably were, poor examples of actualised self-hood or autonomy, but were at least struggling against the pressures to passivity, as were the other heroic agents, their function of passivity-making in others notwithstanding. This frustrated striking out against the inhibiting of aspirations is not part of these aspirations, is not anarchism. Indeed it is the reverse: it is the reactionary expression of the failure to achieve anarchism.

Inevitably, realising one’s own previously unknown power leads one, in a hierarchical situation, to defiance of authority and thus the problem returns, in the form of the tension between the maintenance of one’s self-hood and the consequences of being defiant. The need for organisation to achieve large-group violence or social change by mass pressure is an extension of this dilemma of the self- managing individual in a cohesive group. But again the large-scale violence itself tells us nothing about the philosophy, self-management. In general, anarchists have spelled out the belief that the opposite case to the one usually associated with them applies:

Revolution in its original liberal and radical significance is revolution towards, rather than against centralisation.

Even were it true that the movement as a whole had adopted the violent strategy it would yet be the case that the process of anarchist vilification is part of that larger process used against attempts to change the established order, namely blaming the victim. Most clearly violence demands attention as part of this conundrum: the State encompasses violence and threatens its use ‘legitimately’, ‘the people’ for whom and by whom the State allegedly operates, have access to it, but any recourse to it is ‘illegitimate’, or must be mediated by professionals and applied in an institutionalised way. This happens, in what are called ‘civil’ disputes against some of those people who comprise supposedly the State’s legitimating base. In the case under consideration we see that both violence and anarchists were defined out of the ‘community’ and thus out of rational consideration. The anarchists have been labelled criminals, deviants or foreigners, thus the objects of their attention, the conformists, can be protected by State violence against those it stigmatises as violent. Both State or outsider violence is thus regarded as aberrant in a normally peaceful situation which ‘the outsiders’ are trying to disrupt. In these so-called tests of strength, even talk of self-defence or use of ambiguous euphemisms like ‘vigorous responses’ by strikers or agitators was sufficient to damn, in some people’s eyes, the whole cause. There is a need to consider the dynamic of a triad of elements: anarchism – violence – information, wherein lies the more profound reason for firstly, the anarchist-State socialist split, secondly, the suppression of anarchists by governments of various ideological persuasions and thirdly, for the stigma itself.

Anarchism demands a personal response to authority and authority figures. It is therefore a threatening philosophy for both anarchists and those confronted with dissidence. Violence is a common response to threatening situations, including repression, and itself demands personal responses. However violence does not advance self-management, though it may provide space in which movement towards autonomy can occur. Self-management requires knowledge, that is, access to and ability with information. As the antithesis of self-management, the State requires violence, for enforcement, and information control, especially if it is to appear benign, neutral, even a puppet of the electorate. As it developed historically, the State moved to secure this dual control. Its monopoly of violence assumed new forms and specific techniques were developed for surveillance, collation, and control of what others were saying and hearing, up to the control of its (the State’s) own history, and control of the definitions of key concepts. Whatever the State ideology, the controls are the same though mediated differently.

The industrialised nation state is not the first hierarchically organised social structure in history – populations have been oppressed and conditioned for submission for millenia. It stands to reason therefore that any urge to decentralise decision making would run up against the residual authoritarianisms or tendencies to think of power relationships in existing, hierarchical ways among even the people most concerned to develop non-hierarchical forms. Where commentators have misread social phenomena most often is in determining which cultural features are the residues of repression, or on a more pessimistic interpretation, the areas of successful, perhaps expanding, repression.

When we consider the non-violent methods of containment and acknowledge that the establishment newspapers whether reactionary or liberal were instrumental in defining what was legitimate and therefore respectable for the bulk of the decision making group, we can understand the importance to the outcome of the struggle of the capacity to impose a definition of radicalism, in particular of anarchism and to restrict the influence of dissident information. The Australian Star’s editorial of 20 February 1894 included:

[The] nature of the crime [selling Hard Cash] when properly understood is heinous in the extreme … it is a crime against humanity, against liberty, against all the high journalistic privileges or rights which have been so hardly won and should be zealously guarded.

The custodians of the status quo worked hard at controlling the flow of information as part of the overall methodology of political surveillance of the population, and were prepared to wear the opprobrium of a few knowledgeable questions in parliament in order to stem Andrews’s activities or that of a handful of malcontents such as the Justice crowd. More important blows for conservatism went generally unnoticed. Legislation went through the Victorian (June) and the New South Wales parliaments (July) in mid-1890, to stop-up leaks in the State’s own information system – this was the Official Secrets Bill.

Two years before, in the Imperial Parliament, an Act of the same name had been introduced to ‘prevent the disclosure of Documents and Information by means either of Spies or of breaches of Official Trust’. Amendments passed the following year in the House of Lords removed all mention of ‘spies’ while retaining the two categories of ‘crimes’. The Lords also spelt out the applicability of this Act to all of Her Majesty’s possessions (and any government departments therein) unless similar legislation was passed in such possessions.

The local legislation then was designed to foster the image of independence while following exactly the format of the British model. In this legislation the surface impression is protection of information about explicitly military positions, for example, forts, from falling into the hands of foreign powers. But a closer look reveals the comprehensive nature of an attempt to stifle discussion, in the press particularly, of the wider implications of a standing militia, and to bind the hands, and thus presumably the minds, of public servants.

While defining the ‘crimes’ very carefully and setting penalties, none of the Australian legislation makes any mention of a counter-intelligence force, or Special Branch to enforce it. This was because such a group was already in operation, a group not yet specialised enough to make any distinction in its work between financial fraud, larrikinism, political agitation or external threat. This was, as I have already argued, the State’s second line of defence the ‘ordinary’ police force, and particularly the Detective Branch or CIB which operated as a ‘secret service’ because its members wore ‘plain clothes’.

Getting further away from the primacy of wealth and physical violence as the power-making devices, along the path to some extent laid down by twentieth century renovators of the radical tradition, in particular of Marxism, it becomes clear that at some point one’s view of the nature of revolutionary change alters. It is my contention that in accepting forms of power other than those two, for example, cultural hegemony and/or gender role-conditioning, and in attempting to analyse them, the need appears to not merely renovate class analysis but to extend it and replace it with what can only be called a power analysis. Such an analysis moves away from both economic relations as the prime determinant of social structure and of violence or physical force as the means by which social relations are held in place or altered, by acknowledging the historical role of individuals and the dynamic of the relations between individuals.

Thus, the power of individuals collected together in ‘classes’ to change their situation is not altered in power analysis. What is changed is the recognition that until individuals have themselves enhanced their own personal power and become initiators, they remain order-takers and incapable of revolutionary change. They can only change their masters. In order to produce a free society it is precisely the individual, defined more than just economically, who has to change, specifically in evaluation of his/her power to be free, that is, to be self-managing. This personal power cannot be left to chance and it cannot be enhanced at the level of collectivities as large and as vague as ‘classes’. The organisation of this change process must be directed to the individual level. Anarchism is the political philosophy which has consistently pushed in this direction.

[it] was anarchism, unique among the social philosophies, that most sought to integrate individual behaviour into a framework of general social relations.

Appearing to digress for a moment: it may be tempting in a psycho-social context to see the violence of the individual thug, assassin, revolutionist or soldier as a result of generalised masculine fear of women and emotional openness for which violence could be seen as an easier substitution. Often heard are arguments about inherent  male violence and inherent female nurturance, yet it is very strange for men, the dominant gender, to brutalise the ‘weaker’. One could expect continual intimidation of a group that the oppressor ‘knew’ was weaker, or its use in dangerous tasks, as with laboratory animals, but sustained brutality against women makes little sense unless one adds a tension dependent on male fear. Male need is insufficient explanation for the tension, again as with laboratory animals. However even greater violence than that done by individual men against women is done by the more-powerful people, mainly men, against the least-powerful, men and women, most obviously by the State against civilian populations, sometimes its own, sometimes militarised to ‘legitimate’ the killing and maiming.

It is necessary to incorporate the radical-feminist view of maleness with the anarchist anti-authority view to produce the notion that absence or loss of self-hood in hierarchical situations can produce violence by way of fear or frustration, either or both also producing the controlled emotions and suppression of spontaneity and creative impulses which are the signs of a lack of self-hood, even in the most powerful. Thus men and male politics have more victims available, supposedly physically weaker, certainly the more vulnerable women, whereas women only have babies and small children. It is not just the case that male culture correlates with incidents of violence more than female, but that hierarchical culture, predominantly topped and maintained by men, correlates with violence more than non-hierarchical culture, and this hierarchical culture is more controlled, sterile and fear-driven.

Personalising one’s politics when speaking of voluntary contracts in the 1880s required radical adjustments to one’s views of sex, marriage and women’s role. Because these were areas of great personal fearfulness and guilt, even the most progressive found it difficult going.  END



[1] For Pike see G Davison and J Hirst, The Oxford Companion to Australian History, 2001, p.511. For the Eureka quotes see R Brown, Settler Australia, 1780-1880, Vol 2, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2013, p.1, p.277.

[2] Hart, Confessions of an Anarchist, Richards, 1906, chs. 3, 5 and 8.

[3] B Porter, ‘Preface’, Plots and Paranoia, Routledge, 2016 (orig 1992)

[4] W Hughes, Crusts and Crusades’, Angus and Robertson, 1947, p.122.

[5] See C Roderick, Ch 7 – ‘1891-1892 Sydney, EJ Brady’, in Henry Lawson A Life, Angus and Robertson, 1991; M Clark, Henry Lawson The Man and the Legend, MUP, 1978, pp.58-69.

[6] S Lawson, ADB, Vol 3, MUP, 1969.

[7] ‘Birth of the Bulletin’, The Sun (Sydney), 12 July, 1914, p.11.

[8] P Rolfe, The Journalistic Javelin, Wildcat, 1979, p.21.

[9] Truth, ‘Cause Celebres’, 1 Oct, 1899, p.3. For Argles see his obituary in Freemans Journal, 16 Oct 1886, p.16.

[10] P Rolfe, The Journalistic Javelin, WIldcat, 1979, p.32.

[11] B Mansfield, Australian Democrat, SUP, 1965, p.50.

[12] S Svensen, The Shearers’ War, UQP, 1989, p.260.

[13] Lansbury and Nairn, ‘William Guthrie Spence’, ADB, Vol 6, MUP, 1976.

[14] B Mansfield, ‘EW O’Sullivan’, ADB, Vol 11, MUP,1988.

[15] The detail in this para from ‘John Haynes’, H Radi, ADB, Vol 4, MUP, 1972.

[16] The Protestant Standard, 21 May, 1887, p.7.

[17] B Nairn, ‘William Holman’, ADB, Vol 9, 1983, MUP.

[18] B Nairn, ‘JC Watson’, ADB, Vol 12, 1990, MUP.

[19] L Fitzhardinge, ‘William M Hughes’, ADB Vol 9, 1983.

[20] B Nairn, ‘GS Beeby’, ADB, Vol 7, 1979, MUP.

[21] B Nairn, ‘GM Black’, ADB, Vol 7, 1979, MUP.

[22] P O’Farrell, ADB, Vol 9, MUP, 1893.

[23] P Rolfe, The Journalistic Javelin, Wildcat, 1979, p.74.

[24] Maitland Weekly Mercury, 21 Apr, 1894.

[25] See complete column at ‘Western Standard and Roma Advertiser’ (Qld), 30 March, 1881,    p.4; and discussion at P Rolfe, The Journalistic Javelin, Wildcat, 1979, p.32.

[26] S Meyer, ‘Forging a Nation 1866-1900’, in A Schlesinger Jr, Ed, The Almanac of American       History’, Bison Books, 1983, p.376.

[27] R Schneirov, ‘The Knights of Labor in the Haymarket Era’, in D Roediger & F Rosemont    (eds), Haymarket Scrapbook, Kerr, 1986.

[28] W. Adelman, Haymarket Revisited, for the Unions Labor History Society, 1976, p.15.

[29]  There is considerable ‘Haymarket’ literature. Regarded as definitive is H. David,      The History of the Haymarket, Collier, 1963, from which the un-footnoted quotes have      been taken.

[30] An example, ‘A Whimpering Anarchist’ in New York Herald, 17 July 1884, on Kropotkin.

[31] H. Sears, The Sex Radicals – Free Love in High Victorian America, Regents Press, 1977, p. 139.

[32] Albany Law Journal, 15 May 1886, quoted in W. Adelman, 1976, as above; another two examples are in the New York Times for 5 May 1886 and 14 May 1886 quoted in B. Stevenson, The Ideology of American Anarchism, 1880-1910, PhD thesis, University of Iowa, 1973, pp. 268 and 273: e.g. ‘American soil does not grow such venomous reptiles’.

[33] Fond du Lac (US) Commonwealth, quoted by A. Spies m L. Parson (ed), Famous Speeches of the Eight Chicago Anarchists, Arno, 1969, p. 23. Other examples at pp. 76 and 85, quoted by Parsons; the New York Times on 29 January 1890 suggested someone strangle Johann Most, one fervid orator and writer. William Hearst editorially suggested President McKinley be murdered just before the latter’s assassination in 1901. See David, as above, p. 447. Hearst was not arrested after McKinley’s death, but Emma Goldman, anarchist, was.

[34] Gribble, p. 37.

[35] Gribble, p. 39.

[36] Gribble, pp. 37-44. See for comparable material and anarchist interpretation in J Davidson & B Pateman, Sewing Freedom, AK Press, 2013.

[37] The following notes on Chicago have been adapted from a number of on-line sources, including ‘The Encyclopaedia of Chicago’; the PBS lectures on ‘The American Experience – Chicago, City of the Century’; the essay for the Newberry Collection by H Layson and L Fink, ‘Chicago Workers During the Long Gilded Age’; and an essay by F Schied,‘Education and Working Class Culture: German Workers’ Clubs in Nineteenth Century Chicago’.

[38] Henry George, not an anarchist supporter, in p. 1 editorial,

The Standard [NY], 19 November 1887. See also Connell and Irving, Class Structure in Australian History, Longmans, 1980, pp. 19, 22, and 29 on Berkman.

[39] In January 1892, the Chicago Herald revealed how police had recently raided a public meeting to delude business people, who had recently donated $487,000 in 5 years, ie since May 1886, to ‘wipe out the Reds’, that the payments should continue despite a lack of result in terms of people charged or plots discovered: in L. Parsons, Famous Speeches of the Eight Chicago Anarchists, Arno, 1969, pp. 7-8.

[40] W. Hart, as above, p. 137.

[41] David, as above, p. 410; on Bonfield see C. Ashburgh, Lucy Parsons,

Kerr, 1976, pp. 60-62; the Australian Radical, 27 July 1889; Adelman,   as above, p. 24; on Schaak see C. Jacker, The Black Flag of Anarchy,

Scribner, 1968, p. 108; and Adelman, as above, pp. 15-16; on

attitude of State’s Attorney see Stevenson, as above, p. 260.

[42] Robert Pinkerton in North American Review, vol. 113, quoted in P. Latouche, Anarchy, Everett and Co., 1908, p. 229.

[43] David, as above, p. 436 referring to the USA. See N. Hong, The Anarchist Beast, Soil of Liberty, nd, for a perusal of US magazines during this period.

[44] W. Lee, A History of Police in England, 1901, p. 174.

[45] K. Jeffery, ‘British Army and Internal Security, 1919-1939’ in The Historical Journal, June 1981.

[46] Jeffery, as above, p. 878; the self-defeating nature of this statement is on a par with Richter’s conclusions in his recent D. Richter, Riotous Victorians, Ohio University Press, 1981, p. 16.

[47] Jeffery, p. 878.

[48] R. Deacon, as above, pp. 108-123. A much more realistic account

of the spies of the period 1558-1603 is in M. Burn, The Debatable Land, Hamish Hamilton, 1970.

[49] B. Chapman, Police State, Macmillan, 1971; C. Emsley, ‘French Police in the Nineteenth Century’, History Today, Jan-Feb 1982, p. 25.

[50] For example, N. Dixon, On the Psychology of Military Incompetence in America, Futura, 1979, p. 294; Deacon, as above, p. 123; G. Bryan, The Spy in America, 1943, on Thos. Beach [Le Caron]; also other material on Beach including his memoirs, My Twenty-Five Years in the Secret Service, 1887; S. Bamford, Passages in the Life of a Radical, 2 vols, 1893 (for example, p. 9, vol. 1, and various vol. 2 entries on Oliver the Spy); A. Cobban, Aspects of the French Revolution, Paladin, 1968, esp. ch. 10.

[51] Armed troops were used in 1793 against the London Convention of the Corresponding Society – J. Braunthal, History of the International, 1869-1914, vol. 1, Nelson, pp. 12 and 16; at Peterloo in 1819; in 1848 to guard London from the Chartists – Lee, p. 314; over this period, R. Quinault, ‘Warwickshire Magistracy, c.1830-1870’ in J. Stevenson and R. Quinault (eds), Popular Protest and Public Order, St Martin’s Press, 1975, pp. 195, 199, 200; in 1887 in the ‘Bloody Sunday’ Trafalgar Square attempt to suppress free speech; in 1889 against the London dock strikers – a participant, Mr Symes, to R. Seth in The Specials, 1961, p. 68.

[52] W Childs, Episodes and Reflections, 1930, p.198.

[53] C. Reith, The Blind Eye o£ History, 1952, p. 9; M. Reichard, The Origins of Urban Police: Freedom and Order in Ante-Bellum St Louis, PhD thesis, Washington State University, 1975, describes 1830-1850 as the period of the national development of a recognisably modern police in the USA.

[54] C Reith, as above, p.10.

[55] The Marine Police Establishment for the River Thames had been taken over from largely merchant control in 1800, 2 years after its beginning – Draper, p. 18; on the ‘Blue Army’ see D. Richter, as above, p. 5.

[56] Lee, p. 277.

[57] Lee, p. 278.

[58] H. Greaves, ‘Reactionary England’ in Freedom and the Police, 1936, p. 8; the Riot Act dated from 1715, Richter, as above, p. 9.

[59] J. Belchem, ‘Spy-System in 1848: Chartists and Informers – An Australian Connection’, Labour History (ACT), November 1980, p. 15; and ‘Chartist Informers in Australia: the Nemesis of Thomas Powell’, Labour History, November 1982.

[60] B. Porter, ‘The Freiheit Prosecutions, 1881-1882’,The Historical Journal, 23, 4 (1980), p. 849.

[61] T. Bunyan, The Political Police in Britain, Quartet, 1977, p. 103.

[62] Griffiths, vol. 1, p. 364, fn; see similar remark 1869, by

Commissioner of Metropolitan Police in H. Keating, Sherlock

Holmes – the Man and His World, Thames and Hudson, 1979, p. 37; F. Morn,

The Eye That Never Sleeps: A History of the Pinkertons, PhD thesis,

University of Chicago, 1975, shows slightly different reaction to

similar anti-spy feeling.

[63] Griffiths, vol. 1, p. 365.

[64] M Carr, The Infernal Machine, New Press, 2006, pp.3-4. See also A Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, OUP, 2013.

[65] J.Longoni, Four Patients of Dr Deibler, Lawrence and Wishart, 1970, pp.170,89.

[66] G. Woodcock, Anarchist Reader, Fontana, 1977, pp. 164, 193.

[67] H. Graham and T. Gurr, History of Violence in America, NY Bantam Books, p. 380, lists 160 ‘interventions’ by troops and police against strikers and demonstrators, 1877 to 1969, in the USA, quoted in J. Becker, Strike, South End Press, 1977, p. 236; in August 1909 more than 150 strikers were executed in Barcelona. There are many other examples, without going to the huge numbers of war deaths.

[68] Another anomaly is that numbers killed by troopers or police were generally uncertain. Casualties after ‘anarchist’ attacks were publicized far and wide.

[69] For example, A. Griffiths, Mysteries of Police and Crime, 2 vols.

[70] ‘The Spy Who Came to Sydney Cove’, Age, 26 January 1979, where Frost sets out Phillip’s intelligence background. See also M Pembroke, Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy, Hardie Grant Books, 2013.

[71] G. O’Brien, The Australian Police Forces, OUP, 1960, p. 13. Certain relevant areas have been only slightly researched: D. Salecich, The Queensland Police Force, 1859-1890, BA (hons) thesis, University of Queensland, 1979; R. Evans, Loyalty and Disloyalty: Social and Ideological Conflict in Queensland During the Great War, PhD thesis, University of Queensland, 1980; AGPS, The Army in Australia 1840-1850: Prelude to the Golden Years, 1980; J. O’Sullivan, Mounted Police of Victoria and Tasmania, Rigby, 1980; J. O’Sullivan, Mounted Police of New South Wales Rigby, nd.

[72] O’Brien, p. 121.

[73] Directions for the Chief Constable, Newcastle, 8 January 1822, NSW Police Department Records, Uncat MSS 224, ML.

[74] O’Brien, p. 19.

[75] Guide to the NSW Archives, Record Group NCS Colonial Secretary, Part II, Correspondence, Archives Authority of NSW, 1972, p. 209.

[76] NSW Police Dept Records, Returns for Years, 1858-59, Uncat MSS 244, ML.

[77] O’Brien, p. 21 and p. 121.

[78] Also 0’Sullivan, 1980, p. 58 for 1852 ‘mob control’ achieved with the flat of troopers’ swords.

[79] E.J. Brady, Two Frontiers, 1944, p. 229. His father was a policeman. This has implications for later events.

[80] Grabosky, p. 76.

[81] K. Knight, History of the NSW Public Service, M.Ec. thesis, University of Sydney, 1955, quoted in S. Encel, ‘The Concept of the State in Australian Polities’, AJPH, May 1960, p. 19.

[82] O’Brien, p. 53.

[83] O’Brien, p. 121.

[84] J. O’Sullivan, 198U, pp. 53, 59, 60-63.

[85] J. O’Sullivan, nd, pp. 58, 68, 107 for NSW.

[86] J. Castieau, Reminiscences of Detective-Inspector Christie, Robertson, nd, pp. 14, 20.

[87] Also Victorian Manual of Police Regulations, 1856, quoted in O’Brien, p. 122.

[88] J. Sadleir, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer, Penguin Colonial Facsimile, 1973, pp. 207 and 217; see also Sub-Inspector Brown to Chief Commissioner, 2 December 1884, Series 937, Box 149, Police Records, Victorian Public Records Office.

[89] Castieau, as above, pp. 121, 128.

[90] O’Brien, pp. 55 and 120; Castieau, p. 14; Brady, p. 285; and A. Haydon, The Trooper Police of Australia, Melrose, 1911, p. 149.

[91] Haydon, as above, p. 174; see Julian Thomas, ‘The Vagabond’, in The Age, 11 February 1889, for spies at Eureka; R. Carboni, Eureka Stockade, various edns; and Melbourne Herald, 9 June 1897. Telegraphic cipher codes were in use from at least 1880 – Victorian Police Records, PRO.

[92] S Dando-Collins, Sir Henry Parkes The Australian Colossus, Vintage, 2014, p.230.

[93] See Constable P. Fennessy on ‘disloyal utterances’ 13 June 1915, MP16, File 15/3/836, Australian Archives, Brighton. For Queensland, see Detective Smyth, 3 November 1872, to Commissioner, COL/A, 2348/133, Col. Sec. Papers, QSA.

[94] Series 937, Box 515, Victorian Police Records, PRO.

[95] Castieau, as above, p. 73.

[96] Castieau, p. 81.

[97] Truth, 3 January 1892.

[98] See I Cobain, The History  Thieves, Portobello, 2016; Y Ward, Unsuitable for Publication, Black Inc, 2013, are both vital reading here. In both texts Lord Esher ‘government fixer’, is a key protagonist.

[99] B. Barrett, The Civic Frontier, MUP, 1979, for Victoria; D. Johnson, as above, for Queensland.

[100] D Holloway, Hooves, Wheels and Tracks, Regimental Trustees, 1990, p.13.

[101] ‘Defence’ in Australians 1888, Fairfax Syme and Weldon, 1987, illust, p.414.

[102] CM Clark, A History of Australia, Vol 5, MUP, 1981, p.26.

[103] ‘Defence’, Australians 1888, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, 1987, pp.413-415.

[104] H. Cunningham, The Volunteer Forces 1859-1901, Croom Helm, 1975, p. 1.

[105] C.C. Standish to Chief Secretary, 28 September 1870, ‘Bertini Threat to HRH Duke of Edinburgh, 1870’, No. 10 Bundle 13, Unit 15, Series 1095, Victorian Police Records, PRO.

[106] P94/7 Secret Papers, Item 1172, Victorian PRO.

[107] D. Johnson, Volunteers at Heart: Queensland Volunteer Forces 1860-1901, UQP, 1975.

[108] L. Trainor, ‘British Imperial Defense Policy and the Australian Colonies, 1892-96’, Historical Studies (Melbourne,), April 1970, p.208.

[109] Trainor, 1970, p. 205.

[110] O’Brien, as above, p. 122.

[111] Premier to Police Minister Berry, 29 March 1885 and following; Series 937, Box 149, and ‘Case of Constable James Smith’, Box 152, Series 937, Police Records.

[112] Grabosky, pp. 91-98.

[113] O’Brien, p. 123.

[114] JA Andrews, ‘Australia’s Slums – Melbourne and Thereabouts’; Tocsin, 5 Sept, 1901.

[115] Truth, 20 March 1892; The Argus, 12 March 1892. NSW Archives appear to have only the Enquiry Book of the Detective Branch, 1859-1883, and this is not of much use, being only about missing persons.

[116] See I Cobain, The History Thieves, Portobello, 2016.

[117] Australians Events and Places, 1887, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, 1987, p.104.

[118] The covert world of ‘special correspondents’ like Sir Donald Wallace, Robert Lawrie Thomson and ‘Morrison of Peking’, all of The Times, requires its own book. See R. Walker, ‘Media and Money, the London Dock Strike of 1889 and the Australian Maritime Strike of 1890’, Labour History, November 1981, p. 41 for some discussion.

[119] For an earlier example, see H. Mayer, Marx and Engels in Australia, Sydney Studies in Politics, Cheshire for APSA, 1964, pp. 6-9 on the establishment of the IWMA in Melbourne.

[120] Age, 11 July 1881. In AR, 7 July 1888 ‘Gyges’ described Winspear’s Australian Radical as the ‘straightest’ paper in Australia.

[121] Holloway, 1990, as above, p.7.

[122] O’Sullivan, 1980, pp. 164-165;  0.Commettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines – a Frenchman’s View of Australia in 1888, Rigby, 1980.

[123] Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 23 August 1853.

[124] H Parkes, Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History, vol. 1, Longmans, 1892, p. 25.

[125] M. Roe, Quest for Authority, 1835-1851, MUP, 196 5, pp. 91-92.

[126] G. Nadel, Mid-19th Century Political Thought in Australia (NSW-VIC), MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1950, p. 35.

[127] Nadel, as above, p. 53. See also J. Mudie, The. Felonry of New South Wales, 1837, reprinted A § R, 1965, ‘… ruinous and anarchical policy [of NSW Colonial Govt] … unbridled crime and lawless anarchy …’ p.3.

[128] There is extensive literature on Melbourne in the 1880s – for a recent list and comment see J. Monie, Victorian History and Politics, 2 vols., La Trobe University, 1982, pp. 374-375.

[129] F. Smith, ‘Joseph Symes and the Australasian Secular Association’,

Labor History, November, 1963, p. 34; see also F. Smith, Free Thought and Religion in Victoria, 1870-1890, MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1960.

[130] G. Woodcock, Anarchism, quoted in D. Johnston, An American Individualist: An Analysis of the Individualist-Anarchism of Benjamin R. Tucker, PhD Thesis, University of New Mexico, 1973, p. 26

[131] Sears, as above.

[132] S. Rowbotham and J. Weeks, Socialism and the New Life, Pluto, 1977.

[133] Donovan was the first ASA secretary, Sinnot, 1982, as above, p. 8. Records of the Eclectic Association of Victoria (from 1866 under various names, at SLV) show Donovan’s involvement there from 5 August 1880 when he was secretary. He contributed papers regularly from 6 January 1881 to 15 January 1891, just 9 months before he died. He is recorded in Launceston attempting to establish a Secularist Society there in 1883 – see Launceston Examiner, 27, 28 November, 1883.

[134] N. Sinnott, Joseph Symes – Flower of Atheism, Atheist Society of Australia,

1977, p. 1. See also N. Sinnott, ‘The Roaring Days of Victorian Unbelief’, Recorder, August, 1982, p. 6.

[135] For example, Liberator, 25 October 1885; Bulletin, 17 October 1885.

[136] Isaac Selby, From Atheism to Christianity, Melbourne, 1890, p. 25 quoted in Sinnott, 1977, p. 14.

[137] See the cover of Liberator, 24 January 1886 and compare with cover of Woodcock’s Anarchism.

[138] J. Martin, Men Against the. State, Myles, 1970, pp. 202-278.

[139] This biographical information from F Smith, ‘Joseph Symes: 1841-1906’, Aust Dict of Biography, Vol 6, MUP,1976.

[140] Rationalist, October 1940.

[141] The Liberator, 22 June, 1884, p.65.

[142] Smith, 1963, p. 31. Sinnot regards The Liberator as ‘one of the largest [in pages?] free thought weeklies ever published’. Sinnott, 1982, p. 9.

[143] For example, ‘Briagalong Notes’, p. 394, 16 May 1886 on the anarchists.

[144] David Andrade and Will Andrade were born 30 April 1860 and 12 October 1863 respectively in Victoria to Abram and Maria da Costa Andrade from Middlesex, England. They supported themselves as salesmen after their father died and took advantage of the Working Men’s College (now RMIT). David married Emily Anders in 1881 and lived at South Yarra near his mother who supported herself as a dressmaker. For other details see S. Merrifield, Recorder, no. 5, March 1965.

[145] D.A. Andrade to Liberty, 20 February 1886.

[146] Later a well-regarded labour organiser, he was born in 1839 in Tasmania and died in 1920 – see E Fry, ‘”Monty” Miller’, ADB, Vol 6, MUP, 1976.

[147] Liberator, p. 390, 16 May 1886.

[148] John William Fleming was born at Derby, in 1863.

[149] J.A. Andrews, Tocsin, 17 October 1901; J. Fleming, ‘Memories of the Boot

Trade’s Early Days’, Unity, 14 March 1938, pp. 10-11, reprinted 16 February 1953, where see comment suggesting Chummy owned 4 houses at his death which seems unlikely.

[150] Liberator, 21 March, 1886.

[151] Liberator, 11 April 1886, p. 313.

[152] ‘Ballarat Notes’, Liberator, p. 116, 27 September 1885; see also Smith, 1963, pp. 34-38.

[153] Albany Law Journal, 15 May 1886, quoted in W. Adelman, 1976, as above; another two examples are in the New York Times for 5 May 1886 and 14 May 1886 quoted in B. Stevenson, The Ideology of American Anarchism, 1880-1910, PhD thesis, University of Iowa, 1973, pp. 268 and 273: e.g. ‘American soil does not grow such venomous reptiles’.

[154] ‘What is Property?’ (1840), in G. Woodcock, 1977, p. 67.

[155] G. Woodcock, Proudhon – His Life and Work, Schocken, 1972, p. 75. Proudhon’s letter to Marx, May 1846, repudiating ‘coup dc main’ in Woodcock, 1977, p. 138.

[156] B. Tucker, State Socialism and Anarchism, 1888, in Woodcock, 1977, pp. 147-148. Max Stirner, a libertarian contemporary of Proudhon, but no follower, had argued for change to transcend the many forms of ‘idolatry and alienation’ including wealth concerns to achieve the state of mind he called ‘ownness’ which placed personal control of one’s own actions, spirit and life, at the pinnacle of aspiration. See R. Miller, Ownness: the Philosophy of Self-Enjoyment, MA, Cambridge, nd, summarised in The Pessimist (Melb), no. 3, March 1983.

[157] G.D.H. Cole, Self-Government in Industry, G. Bell, 1917, pp. 110-11, quoted in B. Russell, Roads to Freedom, Unwin, 1973, p. 126.

[158] D. Chodorkoff, ‘The Utopian Impulse’ in Harbinger, no. 1, 1983, p.22;

See also D McLellan, The Legacy of Marx, BBC Publishing, 1983, pp.53-54.

[159] Dolgoff, as above, Sections II and III.

[160] M. Bakunin in ‘Church and State’ from Woodcock, 1977, p. 82.

[161] As above, pp. 83-85. See Woodcock, 1972, on Proudhon’s similar views, p. 234.

[162] Dolgoff, as above, p. 13. For examples of the opposite view of Bakunin, see C. Friedrich, ‘The Anarchist Controversy Over Violence’, in Zeitschrift Fur Politik, NF 19, 1972, pp. 167, 168, 176.

[163] Dolgoff, as above, p. 150.

[164] D. Stafford, From Anarchism to Reformism, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 87.

[165] S. Dolgoff (ed), Bakunin on Anarchism, Black Rose, 1980, p. 15;

‘… most groups developed as collectives based on anti-hierarchical, skill-sharing principles …. They did not seek to help women as much as to empower them’, is a 1983 summary of anarcho-feminist activities from Open Road (Vancouver), Spring, 1983, p. 19.

[166] Advertiser (Adelaide), 10 May 1886.

[167] Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 5 May 1886.

[168] The Age, 18 May 1886 on Thargomindah (Qld) meeting for example.

[169] J. Symes, Liberator, 16 May 1886, p. 385.

[170] The Age, 17 May 1886.

[171] Herald, 17 May 1886.

[172] Liberator, 23 May 1886, p. 401.

[173] DAA, Liberty, 30 October 1886; Our Commonwealth, 18 December 1886; Melbourne Punch, 27 May, 10 June 1886, and 10 February 1887, p. 62; Upham’s response to  The (Melb) Herald, in Herald, 19 May 1886.

[174] Age, 23 October 1886; the Boston Anarchist Club also had chairpersons, but had majority voting which the MAC did not. See Liberty, 22 October 1887; and The Champion, 19 October 1895, p. 139.

[175] AR, 25 February, 1888.

[176] AR, 24 November, 1888, p.4.

[177] Honesty, p. 71.

[178] Honesty, p. 1, p. 33, June 1887; p. 47 (August 1887); p. 74 (February 1888)

[179] J. Quail, The. Slow Burning Fuse, Paladin, 1978, p. 19.

[180] K. Kenafick, ‘The Australian Labour Movement in Relation to War, Socialism and

Internationalism’, Melbourne, typescript, 1957, p. 903.

[181] P. O’Farrell, ‘The Australian Socialist League and the Labour Movement,

1887-1891’, in Historical Studies, May, 1958.

[182] B. Mansfield, ‘William Morris in England and Australia’, in Historical

Studies, November 1956.

[183] Quail, as above, p. 47. See also p. 46 (below) for ‘Gyges’ view of

anarchism; and H. Oliver, The International Anarchist Movement in late-

Victorian London, St Martin’s-Croom Helm, 1983, for more on Seymour.

[184] Quail, p. 48. Bradlaugh, with Annie Besant, had agitated for secularism

through previous decades, but once in parliament had toned down his public

attitudes considerably – see The Rise and Fall of English Freemasonry, on this web-site.

[185] M. Shatz, The Essential Works of Anarchism, Bantam, 1971, p. 125; Martin, as above, p.219.

[186] New York Weekly Herald, 7 September 1892.

[187] Honesty, 5 October, 1887, p.49; Martin, p.219, fn 70.

[188] Quail, as above, p. 49; see also Woodcock, 1962, p. 419.

[189] Also translated by Tucker, this was a Russian episodic novel about strong women redrawing their lives, reprinted 1982, Virago Russian Classic Series. See below, Chapter 10, fn 14.

[190] ‘Anarchy’s Growth in Australia’, Liberty, 15 September 1888; Honesty, no. 3, has a report on the free circulating library as part of the secretary’s Second Half-Yearly Report.

[191] The First Half-Yearly Report is in Our Commonwealth (SA), 18 December 1886.

[192] ‘Give us free banking and all the other steps would follow naturally as a matter of course’, in New York Weekly Herald, 7 September 1892.

[193] Martin, as above, pp. 208, 218.

[194] Honesty, p. 49; for Tucker, ‘State Socialism and Anarchism’ in Woodcock, 1977, p.145.

[195] Liberty, 2 July 1887. The last Andrade communication in Liberty is headed ‘The Gospel in Australia’, 6 October 1894, quoting the Dandenong Express, nd.

[196] Liberty, 10 September 1887.

[197] ‘Debate on State Education’, Liberator, 19 April 1885, p. 746; D. Andrade to Liberty, 30 October 1886.

[198] Liberty,  17 September 1881, quoted in Martin, as above, p. 220.

[199] Liberty,  19 June 1886, quoted in Martin, p. 226.

[200] Liberty, 30 July 1892 at Martin, p. 267.

[201] Debate, ‘Individual Liberty’, Liberator, 25 April 1886.

[202] ‘What is Anarchy?’, lecture to ASA, reprinted Liberty, 28 May 1887, pp. 6-8.

[203] D. Andrade, ‘Anarchy in Australia’, Liberty, 20 February, 1886, p. 8.

[204] Liberator, 18 October 1885.

[205] S. Merrifield, ‘The Melbourne Anarchist Club’, Labor History, no. 2, p. 33

[206] Merrifield Collection, SLV.

[207] Liberty, 3 July 1886.

[208] Liberator, 28 February 1886, p. 218.

[209] Honesty, February 1888, p. 75; Honesty, May 1887, p. 17.

[210] Recorder, vol. 1, no. 5; J.E. Anderton to Commonweal (UK), 28 April 1888; McNamara’s membership card is dated 4 May 1887, Folder ‘ASL, 1880s-1890s’, J.N. Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives.

[211] Commonweal (UK), 9 June 1887.

[212] R Atkinson, ‘Blood on the Hustings’, The Argus (Melb), 23 Nov, 1935, p.8.

[213] ‘Van Diemens Land’, in Adelaide Morning Chronicle, 9 Dec, 1852, p.3.

[214] ‘Conservative Threats’, The Leader (Melb), 28 Feb, 1880, p.2.

[215] Parkes in control, EN, 13 Nov, 18880, p.6; ‘Oxford St trams’, EN, 4 May, 1881, p.4;     Parkes in his cab, EN, 9 March, 1883, p.3; McNamara, EN, 20 April, 1886, p.6.

[216] ‘Cockatoos’ at Evening News, 22 June, 1883, p.3; Bris ‘pursuit’ at EN, 15 Aug, 1883,    p.3; ‘Skeleton Army’, Maryborough Chronicle, 22 Dec, 1885, p.2.

[217] SMH, 11 June, 1887, p.8.

[218] Evening News, 27 August 1887.

[219] B. Mansfield, and P. O’Farrell, as above.

[220] Honesty, November 1887; Hawkesbury Chronicle, 15 October 1887; see David

Andrade’s comments, Honesty, p. 66 and Will Andrade’s, p. 71, both

November 1887.

[221] ‘Our principal opponent’ was Anderton!s description of Symes, as in fn 5; also    Honesty, June 1887, p. 31; attack by McNamara on Symes in AR, 1 May, 1888.

[222] Honesty, October 1887, p. 56,

[223] J. Quail, p. 37.

[224] Born 27 October 1865 – Revolt, no. 1, 1 December 1894, p. 2.

[225] ‘Rivuleth’ pseudonym for B.P. O’Dowd, in Recorder, vol. 1, no. 7; and S. Merrifield, Recorder, vol. 1, no. 6, Victorian Society for the Study of Labor History.

[226] JAA, Tocsin, 5 September 1901 and ‘Societies I Have Been In’, Alexandra and Yea Standard, 18 July to 8 August 1890.

[227] From 10 March, 1888.

[228] Liberator, 24 December 1885, and 3 January 1886, p. 87.

[229] Personal communication to J.N. Rawlings, in Rawlings Papers, ML;

  1. Burgmann, ‘The Mightier Pen’, in £. Fry (ed), Rebels and Radicals, Allen and Unwin, 1983, pp. 163-177 for some biographic details.

[230] Twenty-nine dozen Radicals sent to McNamara in September-1 October 1887 Invoice, Folder ‘ASL, 1880s-1890s’, J. Normington-Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives.

[231] Anderton to Commonweal. (UK), 28 April 1888; Radical, 22 October 1887,

  1. 245. Hennessy in debate, thought Andrade, Pilter and McNamara wanted ‘no government, no parliament, no landlords, in fact no people’,

Evening News, 17 November 1887.

[232] AR, 3 November, 1888.

[233] AR, 2 March, 1889; Liberty, 15 September, 1888.

[234] AR, 14 July 1889, and Winspear also at AR, 16 June 1888.

[235] Four all told, from March 1886 to April 1888.

[236] AR, 16 June 1888,

[237] Honesty, October 1887, p. 50; Oliver, as above, 1983, p. 47, See also my Conclusion, below.

[238] AR, 23 June 1888.

[239] Anarchy etc., F. Vivian, 1888, Melbourne; Anarchist Trial at Chicago, referred to in D. Andrade to McNamara, 25 June 1888, in ‘Correspondence and Documents 1880s-1890s’, J. Normington-Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives.

[240] Bulletin, 7 April 1888.

[241] Bulletin, 17 March 1888.

[242] Our Good Words, December 1888.

[243] Our Good Words, March 1889; see below for Andrew’s important definition of nihilism.

[244] ‘Nihilism’, AR, 10 November 1888.

[245] ‘Equity’, AR, 22 December 1888.

[246] AR, 12 January 1889,

[247] ‘Societies in Which I Have Been’, Alexandra and Yea Standard, 8 August 1890; other parts 18 and 25 July.

[248] AR, June 1889.

[249] AR, 7 September 1889.

[250] AR, 13, 20, 27 July, 3, 10 August 1889.

[251] AR, 29 June 1889.

[252] See also Richmond Courier, 29 June 1889.

[253] Richmond Guardian, 14 September 1889. References to this meeting being at ‘Emerald Hill’ are using a name for Richmond/South Melbourne dropped in the 1880s.

[254] J.A. Andrews, Tocsin, October-November 1901.

[255] Tracking the Knight’s Australian spoor is difficult at present. Hobart T&LC in Jan, 1887 resolved to follow-up on a letter from the US suggesting the Order would like to set up a branch in Tasmania. Meetings of similar Knights’ initiatives are noted in Melbourne and Adelaide in February, and in New Zealand. All show a keenness to be seen as respectable and to have connections to Single-Tax philosophies as was evident in the US. The Adelaide Assembly approached a local worthy in June suggesting that he stand for the legislature.

[256] V Burgmann, ‘SA Rosa’, Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 11, MUP, 1988.

[257] ‘Melbourne Notes’, ‘FMP’, AR, 5 January 1889.

[258] See also Andrew’s reports of similar police connivance, for example, AR, 12 January 1889.

[259] W Horton,‘Larry Foley, 1849-1917’, ADB, Vol 4, MUP, 1972.

[260] As with much of his work, Andrews’ observations of the gangs, done at night when he had nowhere to sleep, remain un-mined – see JA Andrews, ‘Australia’s Slums – Sydney and Thereabouts’, Tocsin, 10 Oct, 1901.

[261] M Cannon, ADB, Vol 11, MUP, 1988.

[262] AR, 6 April 1889.

[263] AR, 31 August 1889.

[264] AR, 29 June 1889.

[265] AR, 10 August, 1889.

[266] Liberator, November 1887, p. 440.

[267] Honesty, no. 4, August 1887.

[268] Possibly this is S.A. Rosa (see below) but more probably George Rose of Chapel Street, Windsor, reported importing anarchist literature in Honesty, August 1888, p. 98, and brother-in-law to the Andrades – W.C. Andrade to W.H, McNamara, 15 May 1891, Folder ‘Correspondence and Documents, 1880s-1890s’ , J.N. Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives,

[269] The Age, 4 December 1890, advertised ‘a special meeting’.

[270] See AR, 26 January 1889 for reaction in Sydney ASL to Andrew’s paper ‘On    Revolution’ discussed below.

[271] McNamara to Winspear, 27 July 1889; McNamara to ASL members,1 August 1889 calling meeting to discuss The Radical and other items, in Folder ‘ASL, 1880s-1890s’, J. Normington-Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives.

[272] DATE xxx.

[273] Parkes thought Northumberland people, ie coal mining families, ‘mean spirited’ and ‘ignorant’ and said he wished to spit on them, presumably because they were not sufficiently deferential – A. Martin, Henry Parkes, MUP, 1981, pp. 371 and 372.

[274] Australian Star, 9 October and 16 November 1888.

[275] M Ellis, A Saga of Coal, Angus and Robertson, 1963; J Turner, Coal Mining in Newcastle, 1801-1900, Newcastle History Monograph No 9, 1982; M Shilling, The Story of Lambton, Newcastle Family History Society, 2009; E Tonks, Wallsend and Pelton Colliery, xxx; A McLagan, A History of Newcastle District Trade Unions, Vol 3, 1886-1911, 1953-54, np.

[276] S Dando-Collins, Sir Henry Parkes The Australian Colussus, Vintage, 2014, p.343-4.

[277] J Brown, Anzac’s Long Shadow, Redback, 2014.

[278] Quotes from ‘Between Bourke-street…(to) to conceive of…’ in JA Andrews, Tocsin, 5 September, 1901.

[279] Illustrated Australian News (Melb), 13 Oct, 1888, p.186.

[280] Letters numbered 677-720, in letterbook entitled Reports to Directors and Letters to Mr Binney, from July 1883 to August 1889, Local Studies Section, Newcastle Regional Library.

[281] Bulletin, 29 September 1888. SMH quote included.

[282] R Neumann, Zaharoff The Armaments King, Readers Union, Allen & Unwin, 1938; R Perman, The Man Who Gave Away His Island: The Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna, xxx; W Manchester, The Arms of Krupp,xxx; G Davenport, Zaharoff: High Priest of War, 1934; A Sampson, The Arms Bazaar, 1977.

[283] G Chin, Chapter 14 ‘Nordenfelt Machine Guns’, in The Machine Gun: History, Evolution..(etc), Bureau of Ordnance, Dept of (US) Navy, 5 vols, 1951, from p.110. (available on line Sept, 2016)

[284] Australian Star, 12 November, 16 November 1888.

[285] Australian Star, 18 and 22 December 1888; 18 April 1889; the Windeyer judgement quoted by W.E. Abbott, pastoralist, at height of the 1891 ‘troubles’ in a letter to the (Sydney) Daily Telegraph, 25 July 1891.

[286] ‘Royal Commission on Alleged Tampering with Letters of John Deasey, MP (County Mayo) 1889’, Col. See’s Special Bundles, 4/887.4, New South Wales Archives. This case paralleled the Mazzini case in England in 1844 – The Rise and Fall of English Freemasonry.

[287] SMH, 23 May 1889.

[288] ‘More Protection Ruffianism’, Evening News,28 Jan, 1899, p.4.

[289] Reference by B Kingston to Black’s ‘History of the NSW Political Labour Party’, 1918, in her The Oxford History of Australia, Vol 3, 1860-1900, OUP, 1988, p.252.

[290] Australian Star, 1 October 1889.

[291] Australian Star, 5 September 1889.

[292] Australian Star, 9 September 1889.

[293] From a similar editorial, Australian Star, 29 October 1889.

[294] M Walsh, ‘A Relentless World-wide Pursuit of Mammon’, SMH, 31 August, 1987. Also see ‘The Crisis of 1890’, Economic Journal, March 1891, p.192.

[295] M Walsh, ‘Auction Tension Turns Political’, SMH, 5 Oct, 1987.

[296] Bird O’ Freedom, 12 Sept, 1891, p.3.

[297] S. Rosa, ‘The Truth About the Unemployed Agitation of 1890’, September 1890. See Also A. Serle, ‘The Melbourne Unemployed Movement of 1890’, Recorder, no. 70 (Supplement), June 1974.

[298] Chief Secretary, Police Department, 1890, Series 1189, File P7511, ‘Unemployed Agitation’.

[299] This is no new strategy, contrary to what Serle suggests.

[300] Liberator, 9 August 1890.

[301] The Age, 14 July 1890, reported no shortage of ‘novice speakers’ prepared to address the crowd.

[302] J.A. Andrews, Tocsin, 19 October 1901; L.L. Kelly to Labor Call, 30 March 1933 and Fleming response Labor Call, 6 April 1933. See exchange Fleming and THC President, 27 October 1890, Deposit T5 [VOBU] Series 1, no. 3, ANU Labor and Business Archives. Rosa later described Trenwith as the ‘most unscrupulous opponent’ of he and others trying to organise the 1890 unemployed – letter to Tocsin, 1 September 1898.

[303] Argus, 18 August 1890.

[304] Barrier Miner, 8 July, 1890.

[305] SMH, I September, 1890.

[306] NMH, 8 September, 1890.

[307] Australian Star, 21 August 1890.

[308] Australian Star, 26 August 1890.

[309] Minute No. 36, 26 August 1890 to Executive Council, Col. Sec’s Minutes and Memoranda, 1890, NSW Archives, in Government Gazette as No. 19778.

[310] Australian Star, 27, 28, 29, 30 August 1890.

[311] Australian Star, 29 August, 1 September 1890.

[312] As one example, E.J. Brady’s dismissal, Truth, 14 September 1890, quoting The People;   but see Ch. 6, for further discussion of this example.

[313] Brady to Brother Carroll, 21 October 1946, ‘Personalia’ MS206, ANL.

[314] EJ Brady, ‘Why I Am A Socialist’, Pt. II, 8 October 1910, International Socialist; Truth editorial, 14 September 1890, p. 2. For Brady’s father, see G. Davison, ‘Sydney and the Bush: An Urban Context for the Australian Legend’, Historical Studies, October 1978, p. 203.

[315] The first quote is from ‘Why I Am A Socialist’, Pt. II, 8 October 1910, International Socialist; Truth editorial, 14 September 1890, p. 2. For Brady’s father, see G. Davison, ‘Sydney and the Bush: An Urban Context for the Australian Legend’, Historical Studies, October 1978, p. 203.

[316] A double execution he refers to in a letter to Muir Holborn, 21 August 1944, ML, as marking the end of his militant phase occurred in early 1893 – NSW Statistical Register, 1893. The details of Brady’s personal life over this period are too complex to go into here.

[317] Chapter 4, ‘Red Objective’, MS206, ANL.

[318] ‘Pimp and Renegade’, AW 28/8/1897, p.2. Authorship of this material is discussed below.

[319] AW, 23 September 1890.

[320] AW, 6 December 1890; Brisbane Worker, 7 February 1891.

[321] Brady to Bro. Carroll, as above.

[322] Brady to Bro Carroll, as above. The ‘position’ could also be ASL Secretary.

[323] Part 8 of ‘For the Cause’ on the labor movement generally, The Field, from internal evidence dated 1897, in Brady’s papers, ANL. Identical pars in numerous country NSW papers re ‘autobiographical’ material, 18th or 19th August, 1899, eg, Dungog Chronicle, 18 Aug, 1899.

[324] Australian Workman (AW), 27 December 1890, also published as ‘A Vision of the Future’ in Brisbane Worker, 7 March 1891.

[325] George Black was a founder member. About 50 attended the first meeting. AW, 6 December 1890, 24 October 1891, and (Brisbane) Worker, 1 February 1891. It was never amalgamated with the TLC, see ‘For the Cause’ article, as above.

[326] ‘Ned’ in Working Man’s Paradise is Jack Meehan, AWU organiser – see Brady’s description in ‘Odd Men Out’ (Arthur Rae, Jack Meehan), MS206, Series 12(h), ANL; see also an untitled, incomplete manuscript in his papers, MS206, ANL; Wm Lane to J. Fitzgerald on Meehan, 24 March 1891, Fitzgerald Correspondence, MSQ250, Dixon Library. Ernie Lane’s much later views on anarchism at Dawn to Dusk, p. 74; he was an influential member of the Social Democratic Vanguard after his return from Paraguay. He hoped New Australia would become ‘a powerful communist state with a disciplined army’ – Dawn to Dusk, p. 48.

[327] Dawn to Dusk, pp. 29 and 37. One is reminded of Spence’s fears, of ‘civil war’, W. Spence, Australia’s Awakening, Worker Trustees, 1909, p. 147.

[328] Letter EJ Brady to ‘Barnes’, 5 Sept, 1944, in JN Rawlings Collection, N57/220 – ‘E J Brady’ Folder, ANL.

[329] ‘On Active Service’, Tocsin, 17 May to 19 July 1900; ‘Spiders’, MLMSS2184/16, John Dwyer Collection, ML.

[330] See entries in ADB, various volumes, MUP, for these quotes and references.

[331] C. Pearl, Wild Men of Sydney, A § R, 1980, p. 72, quoting unnamed source.

[332] Andrews to Truth, 22 November 1891; see A. Crockett to McNamara, nd but 1889, on Rosa’s ‘obnoxious’ Christian Socialism preventing co-operation on a Melbourne paper in the Folder, ‘Transcribed Correspondence to McNamara, 1888- 1891’, J. Normington-Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives.

[333] R McMullin, Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party, 1891-1991, OUP, 1991, Ch 1 – ‘The Ballot is the Thing’.

[334] Australian Star, 4 September 1890.

[335] Australian Star, 6 and 8 September 1890.

[336] Truth, 21 September 1890; Australian Star, 20 September 1890; the Daily Telegraph,      19 September 1890.

[337] For Andrews see Tocsin articles, Appendix 1; for J.D. Fitzgerald see Daily Chronicle (UK) interview, 30 October 1890, MSQ89, Dixon Library.

[338] Australian Star, 20 September 1890; Truth, 16 June 1891, p. 5;

Table Talk, 19 September 1890.

[339] Truth, 24 October 1890, p. 4.

[340] Trail’s claim in Parliament, NSW Debates, 1st Series Vol. XLVIII, p. 3922 and Willis    about Bruce Smith, in Truth, 28 September 1890, p. 3.

[341] JT Lang, ‘Inside Politics’, Truth, 14 Nov, 1954.

[342] W. Spence, 1909, p. 138.

[343] Spence thought no military were involved.

[344] Compare Ernie Lane’s version, Dawn to Dusk, p. 24 with R. Gollan, Radicalism and Socialism in Eastern Australia, 1860-1910, PhD thesis, Australian National University, 1958, p. 206.

[345] For example, Newcastle Morning Herald, 20 September 1890.

[346] For example, Australian Star, 19 and 20 September 1890.

[347] Australian Star, 20 September 1890.

[348] A. Martin, as above, p. 398.

[349] Australian Star, 22 September 1890.

[350] Truth, 19 October 1890, p. 4.

[351] Age, 15 July 1889; Bulletin, 13 July 1889, p. 5; Argus, 6 July, 8 July, 15 July 1889.

[352] Australian Star, 5 October 1889.

[353] Freemans Journal, 11 Oct 1890, pp.16-17.

[354] Australian Star, 1 October 1890; see also Brisbane Worker, 1 November 1890; Table       Talk, 31 October 1890.

[355] Australian Star, 30 October, 1890.

[356] ‘Matters At Wollongong’, Evening News, 16 October, 1890, p.6.

[357] Available in many places, one is Brisbane Worker, 18 October 1890, p. 2.

[358] J.A. Gordon’s account in ‘With the Military’, Alexandra and Yea Standard, 5 Sept,1890. See also a follow-up editorial by Gordon at 3 October, 1890, p.2. See Andrews’ version, Tocsin, 15 August 1901, p. 1; see also, ‘On the Verge of Revolution’, Tocsin, 31 May 1900.

[359] Australian Star, 20 September 1890.

[360] Australasian, 27 September 1890, p. 602.

[361] ‘Col. Tom Price’, Vic Parlt. Debates, Leg. Assembly, 7 October 1890 and Papers Presented to Parliament, 7 October 1890.

[362] General Orders, Victorian Military Forces, 357, 30 August 1890, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

[363] Melbourne Herald, 23, 24, 27 October 1890, and 25 September; Argus, 27, 29 September,   23 October 1890; Age., 24 and 25 October 1890; Australasian, 25 October 1890.

[364] ‘Col. Tom Price’, Vic Parlt. Debates, Leg. Assembly, 7 October 1890. Price wrote asking for an enquiry to clear his name on 8 October – see MP 106, File 99/4097,   ‘Transcript of Enquiry Lt. Col. Tom Price’ Australian Archives, Brighton [see fn 34] .

[365] Colonel Knollys on the occasion of the Trafalgar Square Riots quoted in Truth, 28       September 1890, p. 3. See examples in Ch. 3.

[366] Price to Tulloch, 27 September 1890, quoted in Argus, 29 September 1890, p. 5,    and Truth, 12 October 1890, p. 1.

[367] Price to Deakin in interview, Alfred Deakin Papers, 1540/9/259, ANL. See reports of a previous example, Truth, 24 April 1891, of mounted and foot police inflicting     ‘some severe wounds’ on demonstrating unemployed in Sydney in May 1860. See   also C. Coulthard-Clark, ‘The Military As Strikebreakers’, Pacific Defense    Reporter, May 1981, p. 72.

[368] Tulloch to Defence Department, 27 September 1890, quoted in Argus, 29 September   1890, p. 5.

[369] Gordon to Enquiry, see Australasian, 25 October 1890.

[370] Alexandra and Yea Standard, 10 October 1890; note that Gordon and Andrews met     some years later for an amicable chat – see J.A. Andrews, Tocsin, 15 August 1901;      see also Australasian, 25 October 1890; see Age, 7 October 1890 advertisement     for meeting of communist-anarchists.

[371] Argus, 31 October 1890, discussed in J Rickard, Class and Australian Politics, ANUP, 1976, p.35.

[372] Alexandra and Yea Standard, 8 August 1890.

[373] For example, Age, 25 August 1890. Unpublished police reports specifically   contradict newspapers’ claims of striker ‘outrages’, e.g. Sergeant King,     28    August, Constable Seelan, 29 August 1890, both in Series 937, Box 513, PRO.

[374] As for fn 9; 27 August 1890.

[375] Professor Pearson, then in the Ministry, in a 5 September article in Spectator (UK) quoted in J. Tregenza, Professor of Democracy, MUP, 1968.

[376]  Compare Tregenza with W. Murdoch, Alfred Deakin, Constable, 1923, p. 131;              W.G. Spence, Australia’s Awakening, Worker Trustees, 1909, p. 141; Sadleir,          1973, pp. 261-264; J. La Nauze, Alfred Deakin, vol. 1, MUP, 1965, p. 132 fn,        quoting Argus, 11 November 1906.

[377] La Nauze, as above, p. 132 fn.

[378] Confidential Memo, Chomley to Supt. Ryall, Sandhurst, as one example, 19    August 1890, in Chief Secretary, Series 939, Box 513, ‘Shipping Strike,     1890’.

[379] Age, 30 August 1890.

[380] Sadleir, as above.

[381] (Melbourne) Herald, 3 September 1890, p. 2.

[382] Nicolson to Gillies, 5 September 1890, Premiers Dept., Inward Correspondence, PB682, PRO.

[383] MP106, file 1890/2857, Victorian Dept. of Defence, Inward Corresp. Files, Australian Archives, Brighton.

[384] General Order 333, 12 August 1890, at War Memorial Archives, Canberra.

[385] Sydney’s Table Talk, 12 September 1890 gives Hare as the second magistrate. I believe this is incorrect, and that it was Nicolson initiating the enquiry.

[386] The Police Magistrate’s enquiry has not been sighted and no date is provided by Tulloch.

[387] The Instructions for the Guidance of Magistrates, Constables and Others With Regard to the Suppression of Riots used in both Melbourne and Sydney.

[388] Age, 4 November 1890. Note that the file 99/4097, MP 106, ‘Transcript of Inquiry – Lt. Col. Tom Price’ does not contain the Inquiry’s Report and does not have any transcript of evidence. No copy of the Report appears to have survived. It was not tabled in parliament since the government had fallen in the meantime; and transcripts of evidence could not be checked against newspaper reports.

[389] Victorian Defence Dept., Inward Correspondence Register, MP371/7, Australian      Archives, Brighton.

[390] Tulloch to Secretary of Defence, 6 November 1890, MP106, File No. 1890/3395, Australian Archives, Brighton.

[391] Secretary of Defence to Crown Solicitor, 13 November 1890, MP106, File No. 1890/3395.

[392] Crown Solicitor to Secretary of Defence, 17 November 1890, MP106, File No. 1890/3395.

[393] Tulloch to Collins, 30 December 1890.

[394] Collins to Tulloch, 31 December 1890.

[395] Tulloch to Collins, 6 March 1891.

[396] The Aust Town and Country Journal, 28 Feb, 1891, p.11.

[397] The Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld), 18 Feb, 1891, p.3.

[398] S Svensen, The Shearers War, UQP, 1989, p.40.

[399] Julian Stuart, in AW, 16 March, 1937.

[400] G Souter, ADB, Vol 9, 1983.

[401] G Souter, ADB, Vol 9, 1983; Svensen, 1989, pp.223-229.

[402] Courier Mail (Bris), 7 May, 2016.

[403] See editorial matter in AW, Oct, 1890, and in other papers for same period.

[404] See M Cannon, That Damned Democrat, MUP, 1981, p.8 for one possible scenario involving Norton.

[405] M Rutledge, ADB, Vol 12, MUP, 1990.

[406] B Nairn & M Rutledge, ADB, Vol 8, MUP, 1988.

[407] E Campion, ADB, Vol 12, MUP, 1999.

[408] C.M. Clarke, A History of Australia, Vol. V, p. 80.

[409] For example, the Federation of Australian Co-operative Associations discussing a Peoples Bank, AW, 7 February 1891.

[410] Stanley at Sunday Times, 23 August 1891, cutting in J.W.Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives, Box ‘Press Cuttings – 1890-1911’.

[411] Brady Papers,   MS206, ANL.

[412] This was a struggle in itself, appointed 1 August 1891, seated a month later.     See Daily Telegraph, 4 September 1891, NSW TLC Minutes, 3 September 1891.

[413] See Sydney papers at 23 February, 1891.

[414] Quote from SMH, 24 Feb, 1891, p.4; other information from SMH, 20 Feb, 1891, p.3 and AW, 21 Feb, 1891, p.3.

[415] J.A. Andrews, ‘Anarchism and the Social Movement in Australia’, L’Humanite Nouvelle,    1898 (translated 1983).

[416] Schellenberg, as above; Truth, 17 May 1891.

[417] Full version at The Worker (Syd), 4 May, 1904.

[418] ‘With Swag and Billy’, Tocsin, 26 July to 20 September 1900 in 6 parts.

[419] George Black, History of the Political Labor Party in NSW from its Conception to 1917, 1926-28, p. 23.

[420] Tom Batho (‘The Vag’) in Random Ramblings, Peoples Print, nd, p. 7.

[421] Dawn to Dusk, p. 31; for Brady see MS206, Series 12(h),’Odd Men Out’. Lane remembers Andrews fondly.

[422] W. Andrade to McNamara, 15 May 1891.

[423] Daily Telegraph, 15 April 1891; Schellenberg, as above, details a letter he wrote to the Queensland government.

[424] J. Schellenberg, ‘News from Australia’, Commonwealth (UK), 12 December 1891; A.G. Yewen to McNamara, 14 May 1891, J. Normington- Rawlings Collection, ANU Archives. Note on McNamara’s mail is in JNR Collection in Mitchell Library

[425] DT, 9 May, 1891.

[426] National Advocate (Bathurst), 16 May, 1891, p.2; compare with reports at SMH, Evening   News, and Newcastle Morning Herald, all 13 May, 1891, and Aust Star, 12 May, 1891,      p.3.

[427] SMH, 19 May, p.2; Freemans Journal, 23 May, 1891, p.14.

[428] Ch. 6, ‘The Red Objective’, Brady Papers, ANL.

[429] Quoted in F. Browne, They Called Him Billy, Huston, 1946, p. 22.

[430] Parkes has been credited – Table Talk, 22 May 1891.

[431] AW, 11 July 1891.

[432] AW, 18 July 1891.

[433] AW, 7 March 1891, p. 4.

[434] AW, 14 February, 28 February 1891.

[435] EJ Brady, quoting Lane to un-named correspondent, 17 Dec, 1944, in ‘EJ Brady folder’, in JN Rawlings Collection, ANL. The hostility generated by Rosa persisted – see the George Black-edited The Worker, 21 May, 1904.

[436] Truth, letter from Brady, 15 November 1891, p. 5.

[437] ‘Big Men Scrapbook’, MS206, Series 12(h), Brady Papers, ANL.

[438] ‘Big Man Scrapbook’, Brady Papers, MS206, Series 12(h), ANL.

[439] Dawn to Dusk, pp. 42-43.

[440] Injured in a Melbourne railway quarry accident, probably in 1890, he recovered but his withered arm was irreparably damaged in the fight, see Andrews in Tocsin, 6 June 1901.

[441] AW, 5, 19 and 26 December 1890 (3 items); reference there includes one to Italian conservative papers calling his activities ‘anarchist’ while the TLC welcomed them. See The Socialist, 23 March 1907 to 18 January 1908 for items on Sceusa before his return to Italy, and International Socialist Review, 4 January 1908, pp. 8-14 for biography.

[442] Australian Workman, 9 May, 1891, p.2.

[443] ‘The Vote of Thanks Debate’, L Cronin (ed), Henry Lawson Complete Works, Vol 1 A Camp-Fire Yarn, Landsdowne, 1984, p.149.

[444] AW, 2 October 1891, p. 4; Andrews in 1898 described ‘the Workman as first socialist, later anarchist’ but that ‘was the personal bias of the editor’ as above, L’Humanite Nouvelle, 1898.

[445] ‘Man at the Margin’, AW, 24 October 1891. A September contributor, ‘Salmagundi’ had disapproved of Single Taxers and anarchists ‘running a joint combination’, AW, 19 September 1891.

[446] AW, 10 October 1891; Brady commented the ASL was not the only socialist group around.

[447] Sinclair to Brady, 26 October 1891, Brady Papers, MS206, Series 7, ANL.

[448] Truth, 22 November 1891.

[449] No doubt an ironic reference to a secretive European revolutionary group.

[450] AW, 14 November 1891.

[451] AW, 21 November 1891.

[452] Truth, 15 November 1891.

[453] Truth, 22 November 1891.

[454] I can find no mention of this group in any histories of the Haymarket unless it is the Lehr und Wehr Verein. It seems unlikely that Parsons would give himself up without a fight if he had organised 1,500 soldiers for just such an emergency. Also, how could they drill without being discovered? And Parsons spoke no German.

[455] Truth, 22 November 1891.

[456] Truth, 15 November, 22 November.

[457] Truth, 7 February 1892. Another item quotes Rosa saying that he refused to work manually because he hated to put money in capitalists’ hands. Historians have accepted parts of the story at face value.

[458] Humphrey McQueen’s A New Britannia, Penguin (1970) and UQP (2004) equates real ‘socialism’ with Marx’s visions – see Chapter on ‘Socialists’ espec.

[459] Truth, 13 March 1892.

[460] See a contemporary report at Newcastle Morning Herald, 3, 6 Sept, 1892.

[461] C Pearl, Wild Men of Sydney, Universal Books, 1970 (orig 1958), p.70.

[462] AW, 26 March 1892.

[463] Truth, 31 January 1892.

[464] AW, 5 December 1891.

[465] Truth, 27 March 1892.

[466] For detail on the Scheme see Australian Herald, Rev. Charles Strong’s Newsletter, from April 1892.

[467] AW, 22 August 1891.

[468] C & WA, Supplement, 16 April 1892.

[469] DAA file – Crown Lands Office.

[470] See Evening News, 12 Feb, 1892 ‘The Origins of the Panic’ for a useful summary.

[471] Brisbane Worker, 2 July 1892, Truth, 17 July 1892; see editorial on Sydney May Day      demonstration organised ‘by the ASL’ in (Melbourne) Truth, ‘Advocate of Religion and Temperance’, June 1892.

[472] SMH, 2 May 1892; the crowd of 2,000 (6,000 according to Hummer, 7 May 1892) heard Petrie, G. Waite, Brown, Sinclair, Kohen, Mitchell, Burgess, Daniels. That night a further meeting in the ASL rooms was ‘largely attended’ and addressed by Black, Holman, Higgs, Cohen [Kohen], Rae, Weber and others, Hummer, 7 May 1892.

[473] F. Rosemont, ‘Free Play and No Limit’, in Surrealism and its Popular Accomplices, F. Rosemont (ed), City Lights, 1980, p. 9.

[474] Richmond Guardian, 4 June 1892; Hummer, 18 June, 2 July; C & WA, 18 June, pp. 2, and 3 (3 items); Brisbane Worker, 16 July; Melbourne Herald, 1 August 1892; Truth, 26 June 1892, ‘The Salvage Corps’.

[475] Fleming in Hummer, 18 June 1892; Truth, 12 June 1892.

[476] Police reports quoted in G. Davison, The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne, 2 vols, PhD thesis, Australian National University, 1969, vol. 2, pp. 494, 509-513. Wardley continued surveillance duties pf Fleming and others into the twentieth century. McNamara and Henderson are named in newspaper reports of the agitation, as is Passmore Edwards, styled secretary of the Unemployed Organised Committee and National Labor Exchange. The status of these titles is very dubious. I do not know what a ‘bob’ is – perhaps a deliberate misprint for ‘bomb’.

[477] Melbourne Herald, 12 and 21 July 1892; Liberator, 13 August 1892; Brisbane Worker, 20 August 1892; Tocsin, 31 May 1900; White, aged 72, was. jailed for 3 months in February 1893 for stoning a bank window, C & WA,

18 February 1893.

[478] Book Review, C & WA, 1 June 1892; ‘Australia’s Slum’s’, Tocsin, 29 August to 7 November 1901.

[479] AW, 13 February 1892.

[480] ‘King Working Man’, Melbourne Punch, March 1892.

[481] Argus, 8 March, 9 March and 12 March 1892; see below for more on this point.

[482] C & WA, 19 March 1892; Rosa was also addressing the unemployed, Hummer, 2 April 1892, which paper suggested his imminent return

[483] Hummer, 16 April 1892; Truth, 10 April 1892; Andrews in Tocsin,

17 October 1901; Best is described by Rickard as having ‘a liberal reputation’, as above, p. 87, despite he, Best, reportedly saying, ‘agitators of the Fleming-type should be stamped out like rabbits’. He accused the PPL of choosing ‘anarchists, incendiaries and men of the Rosa-stamp’, C & WA, 2 April 1892.

[484] C & WA, 19 and 26 March 1892.

[485] Argus, 6 April 1892.

[486] Age, 16 April 1892.

[487] Hummer, 7 May 1892; C. Williams, Brief History of May Day Celebrations, Merrifield Collection, La Trobe Library, VSL.

[488] C & WA, 14 May 1892. The man dismissed as drunk and incompetent, Norton, was corresponding with McNamara – see one survival 18 May, 1892, JNR Collection, ANU Archives.

[489] Brisbane Worker, 21 May 1892.

[490] This did not stop his campaign opponents describing him as a ‘demagogue and firebrand’. Richmond Guardian, 2 April 1892.

[491] Fleming in Hummer, 11 June 1892; see also C & WA, 19 March and 11 June and Hummer, 18 June 1892.

[492] Bulletin, 7 May 1892.

[493] The first article in the first issue is on the Haymarket affair, and the part quoted is in Issue No. 1.

[494] Truth, 12 June 1892; Bulletin, 31 March 1900, for some of Andrews’s inventions,   including his printing techniques.

[495] Government proclamations attempting to cow the miners had appeared from around 7 July 1892, Col. See’s Records, Minute No. 31, 7 July 1892, NEC/1, 4/1588, NSW Archives.

[496] Brisbane Worker, 18 June 1892. Another source is a Ravachol article from France in Truth, 22 May 1892.

[497] Table Talk, 15 December 1893 says Bird 0’Freedom, Sunday Times and Referee. were all from the same office. For Brady, AW, 2 April 1892.

[498]  V Burgmann, ‘M E B McNamara, 1853-1921,’ ADB, Vol 10, MUP, 1986.

[499] J.A. Andrews, 1898. His reference in 1892 (above) to a spread network matches later information.

[500] H Buggy, The Real John Wren, Widescope, 1977, p.16, p.22.

[501] Aukland mtg, in Northern Mining Register (Charters Towers, Qld), 18 Sept, 1891, p.8; Knts resolutions in AW, 28 Nov, 1891, p.4; Knts at Wagga, Evening News, 5 Jan, 1891, p.6; Head ref The Worker, 30 April, 1891; Vic Knts in The Age, 18 July, 1891, p.10.

[502] He was teaching children the Marseillaise; Hummer, 6 and 13 February 1892.

[503] Hummer, 23 and 30 April 1892.

[504] Brisbane Worker, 23 May 1892. Lawson also made short country bursts, D. Prout, The Grey Dreamer, Seal, 1973, p. 97.

[505] Hummer, 9 July 1892; Shearers Record, 15 September 1892. She made her first speech to the Leigh House crowd in May, AW, 28 May 1892. From May to September Petrie debated social change with Bob McCook, a Georgeist in the Hummer and the (Sydney) Worker when the name changed; Hummer, 21 May 1892, p. 1.

[506] (Brisbane) Worker, 23 January 1892; see also Truth, 30 August 1891, p. 5, and (Brisbane) Worker, 20 February 1892.

[507] Truth, 7 February 1892. The Workman of 23 January reported the TLC refusing to seat him as an FEU delegate-, AW, 6 February 1892.

[508] AW, 6 February 1892.

[509] ‘Man at the Margin’, AW, 24 October 1891; ‘Bombs and Bombast, Revolution and Roguery’, Sunday Times(Sydney), 10 December 1892. None of the Sunday Times items has been sighted in their original form.

[510] Truth, 17 July 1892 for pre-publicity and Australian Star, 19 July 1892 for report of Stanley speech at Leigh House on need to purify and reform ‘the party’, ‘Parasites of the Labor Movement’.

[511] AW, 21 May 1892.

[512] AW, 12 November 1892.

[513] AW, 31 December 1892 and 21 January 1893. Ravachol was tried first on dynamite charges, then tried and executed for murder.

[514] AW, 15 October 1892.

[515] ‘John Miller’ in Brisbane Worker, 9 April 1892, p. 2. For conflicting opinion in French radical circles about Ravachol, see J. Longoni, Four Patients of Dr Deibler, Lawrence and Wishart, 1970, ch. 2, especially p. 39.

[516] E Lane, Dawn to Dusk, pp. 44-45.

[517] ‘Cervus Wright’ in Truth, 13 March 1892, quoted in Brisbane Worker, 19 March 1892.

[518] Queanbeyan Age 27 Feb, 1892, p.3

[519] Henry Lawson, ’Pursuing Literature in Australia’, in L Cantrell (ed), Writing of the Eighteen Nineties, UQP, 1977, p.4.

[520] Singleton Argus, 24 September, p.2.

[521] Evening News, 17 July, 1892, p.3

[522] ML, MSS 372/2 Pt V.

[523] For Rochaix, including refs to his re­capturing French escapees from New Caledonia see – MSQ283, Item 7, and MSQ 250, Chomley to Fosberry, 27 January 1892, J.D. Fitzgerald Papers, Dixon Library; correspondence 28 July 1978 from NSW Inspector of Police.

[524] Maitron’s history provides four brief mentions of Ricard substantiating the dates in the translation about his prison term and release in 1885, J. Maitron (ed), Histoire du Mouvemente Anarchiste en France, 1951,

  1. 154, 155, 156, 203.

[525] There is no certainty that the letter was to Andrews. There are postcards from France in his papers without throwing any more light on his connections overseas. In the Merrifield Collection, there are French, Portuguese and Spanish language papers which are probably Andrews’s.

[526] i) Series of Tocsin articles, ‘On Active Service’, 17 May to 19 July 1900. ii) A handwritten, unpublished ‘Spiders’ in the John Dwyer Collection, ML MSS 2184/16. Some integration of fragments has been necessary. Interestingly, four stories of political conspiracies, by persons mentioned in this study, appeared in 1892-1894: Price Warung’s, ‘Secret Society of the Ring’, Bulletin, 9 April-21 May 1892; his ‘The Strike of ’95’, AW, 18 February-29 April 1893; Rosa’s, The Coming Terror, Sydney, 1894; D.A. Andrade’s, The Melbourne Riots, Andrade, 1892.

[527] Tocsin, 7 June 1900. See section in ‘Spiders’ which begins ‘… a policy of terrorism and personal violence tends to throw society backwards …’

[528] Dawn to Dusk, p. 31, Tocsin, 28 June 1900. SMH, 8 September 1892 for seamen’s union destroying one; and earlier Brisbane Worker, 18 April 1891 for ‘a seditious dodger from the bush’. See Brisbane Worker, 1 October 1892, p. 4, for mention of a poster on the wharves in 1890.

[529] AW, 4 July 1892.

[530] (Sydney) Worker (previously the Hummer), 24 September 1892.

[531] M Rutledge, ADB, Vol 7, MUP, 1979.

[532] SMH, 10 September 1892, Col. See’s Special Bundle 4/904, ‘Broken Hill Strike, 1892’, NSW Archives; for sentencing of Strike Committee, see C & WA, 5 November 1892.

[533] B Matthews, ADB, xxx

[534] G. Black, History of the NSW Labor Party from Its Inception to Now, 1917, p. 22.

[535] For Holland in chair, see International Socialist Review, 23 January 1909; for Horkins, see I.Weiner With Banner Unfurled, Hale and Iremonger, 1982, pp. 117-118, where also see references to Hart, Flowers and Hepher.

[536] Truth, 25 September 1892; for reporters’ accounts of the 20 September meeting itself, see SMH, 20 and 21 September, Aust Star, 21 September 1892. See Dawn to Dusk, p. 42.

[537] (NSW) Col. Sec, Inward Correspondence, 20002 for 13 February 1893. Justice, 24 February and 24 March, 1894 both refer to ‘informer J.T. Browne’.

[538] Brisbane Worker & The Worker (Wagga), 8 October 1892, p. 2.

[539] S.S. Hauroto, steerage from Wellington, Inwards Passenger List, Reel 511,   September-October 1892, NSW Archives. Last Wellington references to him in      Australian newspapers Truth, 18 September 1892 and (Sydney) Worker, 8 October       1892, p. 2. Letter Desmond to Sir G. Grey from Sydney, now in Grey Collection,      Auckland Public Library, also fits.

[540] Palestine, Mexico, New Zealand and Arizona are suggestions about where Desmond died     that Julian Stuart reports he has heard, Australian Worker, 11 May 1927, p. 13.

[541] Julian Stuart’s reminiscences in Australian Worker, 23 June 1927; see also, J. Stuart, Part of the Glory, Australasian Book Society, 1967, p. 100.

[542] H. Roth, ‘Te Kooti’s Friend Desmond’, New Zealand Monthly Review,

August 1960, p. 10, and fn 110.

[543] H. Roth, ‘Arthur Desmond’, Pt. 1, Radio Talk on Three New Zealand Agitators, 1956. See also, Australian Standard (Sydney) (Single Tax), 1 August 1890 reprinted from Justice (NZ; the Pioneer (South Australia) (Single Tax), 21 February 1890 reprinted the New Zealand Labor Manifesto signed ‘Arthur Desmond’, Secretary, United Labor Election Committee. The AW, 9 November 1890 for the Bank of New Zealand letter; AW, 29 November 1890

[544] Tocsin, 17 May 1900.

[545] SMH, 22 October 1892.

[546] SMH, 31 October 1892.

[547] B. Dickey, ‘The Broken Hill Strike, 1892’, Labour History (Canberra), November 1966, p. 41. Dickey is simply wrong when he says ‘suppression was against the practice of the departments concerned’. What he did not do in bringing to light his ‘Further Documents’ was to compare the different drafts of the collection presented to parliament. There are two drafts and each is different from the final version.

[548] Their departure for and arrival in Broken Hill was not publicised and their identity there was not recognised by strikers for some time.

[549] Detective Goulder to Fosberry, 24 July, 8 September; Coffey to Attorney-General, 12 September, Col. See’s Special Bundle, 4/904, as above. In 1898 Levien MP charged Sleath and Ferguson, both 1892 arrestees, with conspiracy involving foreigners. A Commission of Inquiry found no charge to answer. I have not sighted evidence. Borchardt, No. 613, Vol. IV, points to NSW Parlt. Papers 1898, Vol. 1, 1st Session, pp. 103-110 for resume. See Newcastle Morning Herald 6 Sept, 1892; The Age, 30 June 1898; Tocsin, 14 July 1898.

[550] SMH, 5 November 1892.

[551] Brady’s papers provide the attacks on ‘Amateur Reformer’ but not the Sunday Times articles themselves, and they misdate the former. ANL, MS 206/4/241, Folder 6. Extensive searching has failed to locate these Sunday Times items. Notes on their contents come mainly from the Australian Workman responses (see text).

[552] AW, 17 December 1892.

[553] AW, 3, 10, 17 December 1892. For some Warung back­ground see B. Andrews, ‘Dynamite, Barricades, Brimstone: Price Warung’s Political Themes’, Labour History, May 1972, p. 1; B. Andrews, Price Warung, Twayne, 1976; and Price Warung: A Critical and Biographical Study MA thesis, University of New South Wales, 1969.

[554] Because there is doubt about the dates of all of Andrews’s propaganda visits outside Sydney, and because there is a ‘J. Andrews’ mentioned in connection with Henry Lawson’s visit to Bourke in late 1892, there was a possibility that J.A. Andrews was in Bourke while these articles were appearing. I do not think this is so, that the ‘J. Andrews’ is a local unionist and J.A. Andrews remained in Sydney until at least mid-1893. C. Roderick, The Real Henry Lawson, Rigby, 1982, p. 47. Other de Guinney references in G. Souter, A Peculiar People, A § R, 1968, p.205. Lawson’s other companion was ‘socialist’ Jim Grahame (Gordon).

[555] Brisbane Worker, 8 October 1892; Evening News, 29 September 1892 records ASL meeting at which she was appointed to go to Bourke as ASL represent­ative. Also see for her, AW, 15 October 1892, p. 4; C & WA, 28 January, 11 and 18 February 1893; Shearers and General Record, 15 March 1893; Brisbane Worker, 28 January, 4 March 1893. She wrote under pseudonyms ‘Rose S’, ‘Rose Hummer’ and ‘RS’ usually pro-ballot, pro-women’s unions and women’s votes. She continued to mix these travelling and lecturing visits with agitation in Sydney until turning to support for, and eventual joining of ‘New Australia’.

[556] The Commonweal. (UK) of 12 April 1890 has a letter from W. Holmes arguing for such a device: ‘Some of us here have already taken the initiative and wear as badges a miniature gallows with a noose hanging from the cross-beam’. Andrews used the symbol on the cover of his Handbook of Anarcky, 1894. Schellenberg wore one to court in 1893, see Truth, 26       November 1893. Also see, C. Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, Kerr, 1976, p. 188

[557] J. Longoni, as above, p. 69. For discussion of song, see A. Sanborn, Paris        and the Social Revolution, Small, Maynard and Company, 1905.

[558] Brisbane Worker, 7 January 1893, p. 1.

[559] Truth, 19 February 1893; see Tasmanian Democrat (Launceston), 11 Feb, p.3; 8 April, p.4, 1893.

[560] SMH, 26 Jan, 1893, p.7.

[561] Australian Star, 24 January 1893.

[562] M. Hirsch, Fiscal Superstition, Cole, 1895, pp. 67, 89.

[563] See SMH, 24 Jan, 1893, p.4, and subsequ.

[564] AS, 21 Feb, 1893, p.4; see also AS, 24 Jan, 1893, p.4.

[565] Australian Star, 24 February 1893; AW, 4 March 1893.

[566] Brisbane Trades Hall speech, reported in Daily Standard, Bris, 20 December 1921, p.8, quoted in Len Fox, ‘Henry and Ragnar Redbeard’, Overland, March 1968.

[567] An article in Fair Play (NZ), 23 December 1893 attacking Desmond provoked a Lawson defense ‘Arthur Desmond’, in ‘By An Australian Exile’, Fair Play, 30 December 1893. The poem is at Overland, June 1953 among other places.

[568] L. Fox, as above, p. 31; see also, ‘Ragnar Redbeard’, Ross’s Monthly, March-April 1920, p. 1. M Hearn, PhD and ‘A Wild Awakening: The 1893 Banking Crisis,,,etc’, Labour History,(Sydney), 2003, is a fanciful rendition of these events in the forgettable ‘tropes’ of Greg Denning, older academic scholar.

[569] The (Brisbane) Worker, 6 May, 1920, p.12.

[570] Windsor and Hawkesbury River Gazette, 8 October 1926, includes a photograph. ‘Baarmutha’ at Bulletin, 12 June 1919 and a respondent, 10 July 1919, on Desmond mix fact and fiction in unknown proportions.

[571] J. Lang, I Remember, Sydney Invincible Press, 1956, p. 9; Lang reports Desmond as once a Royal Navy officer and Private Secretary to Sir G.

Grey. (Sydney) Worker, 29 October 1892 also claims he was a naval officer.

[572] W.M. Hughes, Copy, December 1913, pp. 6-9. See also references to ‘Dremayne’, that is, Desmond, in W. Hughes, Crusts and Crusades, 1947, for example, p. 149.

[573] Annie Dwyer letters to John Dwyer, 29 August 1894 and 12 October 1894, Dwyer      Collection, ML, MSS 2184.

[574] See SMH, 24 Jan, 1893, p.4, and subsequ.

[575] For some description C.M. Clark, A History of Australia, Vol. V, p. 90.

[576] E Shann, ‘The Boom of 1890 – And Now’, Cornstalk, 1929, p.19.

[577] Australian Star, 5 October 1893. Thos A. Dibbs as Bank Mgr. is in Sands Directory (NSW), 1893, p. 941.

[578] (Sydney) Worker, 29 April 1893, p. 4; ‘Baarmutha’, Australian Worker, 14 April 1926. Jack Lang magnified the sign to a huge banner across the street, I Remember, p. 9. ‘Baarmutha’s’ bank details are incorrect but he provides words of two Desmond poems which were put on stickers and the information that ‘Printed at the Australian Star’ the pro-Dibbs, protectionist newspaper where J.C. Watson worked, was put on some. The same item suggested Hard Cash were produced in a cellar in Sussex Street, the stated address for Standard Bearer. The 1893 item records Desmond as Australian correspondent for one Irish and two British financial journals.

[579] (Sydney) Worker, 3 May 1893. This dodger is probably the item ‘Britten’ claims he put through for ‘Esdaile’ when they quarrel in ‘Spiders’. The reward notice, £100, appears at 3 May 1893, Extra­ordinary Government Gazette, No. 290, p. 3487, NSW Government Gazettes, May-June 1893.

[580] Andrews in Tocsin, 14 June 1900.

[581] NSW Clerk of the Peace Records, 9/6866, ‘R. vs. Publishers of Justice’, 1894, NSW Archives.

[582] J.A. Ross, ‘The Early Nineties’, 1933, ML, MSS2801. From March 1893, (Sydney) Worker prints many Desmond references or Desmond-sounding material, a lot of it signed ‘No. 7’: 4 March, 1 April, 6 May, p. 1, 18 November 1893. Truth printed a Desmond poem ‘Gone Bung’ on 30 April 1893 commenting that Desmond ought to be fined another £3 for not observing the distinction between poetry and poetic licence.

[583] First issue, by my reckoning, was Vol. 1, no. 23 of 22 May 1893; then Vol. 1, no. 25, of 19 June 1893; Vol. 2, no. 1, 10 July 1893; Vol. 2, no. 3, nd; Vol. 2, no. 4, September. For Standard Bearer, which is quite a separate exercise, ‘Chapter 1’ appeared 19 November 1893; Chapter 2 on 3 December    1893; Chapter 4 on New Year’s Day 1894 (but dated 1893). Chapter 5 on 21 January 1894. Police evidence of sales imply many more than 200 Hard Cash  were printed, as does parliamentary question about fifty or so newsagents selling it without police harassment, G.D. Clark to Minister of Justice, 27 September 1893, NSW Parlt. Debates, Vol. LXVII, Legislative Assembly, p. 58. Jack Lang who wrote himself into the Desmond legend (I Remember, p. 9) spoke of helping turn the mangle and set type at 25 Rose Street, Darlington, which is where Desmond lived during 1894 (NSW Electoral Roll, 1894) thus Lang, who was in his teens, must be speaking of Australian Investors Review (Sydney Worker, 17 February 1894, p. 2) or Public Opinion (JAF, October 1894) as Standard Bearer, successor to Hard Cash, but made up to resemble it, was supposedly printed and published by Desmond at 435 Sussex Street, but this is a blind. A correspondent in Bulletin, 10 July 1919 was in error as was a para in Bulletin, 14 August 1924. Hard Cash, Vol. 2, no. 3 and Vol. 2, no. 4 provide some detail of the difficulties experienced in its production, detail fitting Ross’s account, another reason for accepting his story despite the difficulty with numbering. Standard Bearer resembles its pre­decessor by having its title in small letters and ‘Hard Kash’ in very large, but this fact disguises another, that ‘Hard Kash’, with a ‘K’, is a person who actually writes, publishes and edits the paper. See text for more on this. Truth, 19 November 1893 refers to a different Hard Cash, someone’s attempt at disinformation.

[584] On the meeting, J.A. Ross, ML, MSS2801, as above and Hard Cash, re­printed in Justice, No. 11, 7 April 1894; on Dibbs’s bankruptcy, see Age, 3 August 1893; on gift, see Bulletin cartoon, 5 August 1893, p. 9 (Sydney) Worker, 12 August 1893 lists the ships and the amount of gold bullion leaving Sydney – close to £2 million in six weeks, 24 June to 7 August. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said RMS Arcadia left Melbourne in September with gold worth £462,225, DT, 12 September 1893.

[585] Geo Reeve, ‘Henry Lawson’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 28 Nov, 1950, p.9.

[586] Justice, 24 February 1894, p. 2 recounts another Brown(e) claim about ‘Anarchists and Dynamitards’ which earned him a permament job and a reward during the search for Hard Cash; ‘Baarmutha’ and Andrews have variants on the story of the removal of the press.

[587] NMH, 28 Oct, 1893.

[588] Memo, Supt. to Inspector of Police, 16 September 1893, in Bundle

“R. v. Rosa’ which, with others, is in NSW Clerk of the Peace Records, 9/6847, ‘R. vs. Hard Cash; 9/6865 is ‘R. vs. Schellenberg’.

[589] Questions in parliament by Schey and Black, at Australian Star, 5 October 1893, Truth, 29 October and 5 November 1893; on the trials see Truth,15 October 1893, Clerk of the Peace Records, 9/6847 and 9/6865 (as in fn23); and Supreme Court Criminal Appeals, 1892-94, T122, ‘R. Vs. Rosa and McNamara’, all in NSW Archives. For Schellenberg’s provocation of police see above and Brisbane Worker, 4 November 1893. On bail of £200 on his own recognisances he had to tramp mid-west NSW looking for work and Fosberry had to certify a free rail pass for him to get back to Sydney. The Crown Solicitor himself indicated the importance of Schellenberg standing trial. Wm. Hughes’ caricature of Schellenberg as ‘Adolph the Anarchist’ in Crusts and Crumbs comes from this period. Incidentally, Lang’s story of Schellenberg and Lesina’s court appearance on alleged explosion charges has not been verified.

[590] See for context and details at B James, They Call Each Other Brother, Griffin, 2010, pp.148-9.

[591] Dawn to Dusk, p. 50.

[592] G. Hannan, The ‘New Australia’ Movement, MA thesis, University of Queensland, 1966, pp. 93-98;(Sydney) Worker, 22 July 1893. On ‘bombings’ see Argus, 15 July 1893; SMH, 4 August 1893; (Sydney) Worker, 5 August 1893. An explosion on the Argo almost at the height of the strike was immediately recognised as due to coal-gas, SMH, 24 July 1893. See erroneous article, Sydney Sun, 24 May 1984.

[593] Argus,, 15 July 1893. NSW parliament resumed on 26 September, a Tuesday; the ‘Burrumbeet’ and ‘Sydney’ Reward Notices of 14 July 1893, Gazette No. 498, NSW Government Gazettes, July-August 1893, p. 5509; Truth, 23 July 1893.

[594] Numerous publications have attempted analysis of ‘New Australia’ – see letter from Ernie Lane to Reynolds reported in The Worker, 30 April, 1904.

[595] Argus, 29 July 1893.

[596] J.A. Andrews in Tocsin, 6 June 1901.

[597] Brisbane Worker, 1 October 1892, p. 3, 21 October 1892, p. 3; SMH, 7 September 1892; Brisbane Worker, 10 September 1892; GLU of Australasia-Wagga Branch, Statement of Receipts for the Year ending 31 December 1893, ML. Note: other GLU/AWU Records at ANU Archives were closed when last sought.

[598] Liberator, 26 February 1888; Andrews in Tocsin, 6 June 1901 at the time of Petrie’s death in South America.

[599] Truth, 20 August 1893. Age, 29 July 1893; Sydney Daily Telegraph, 29 July 1893, has the same stories; SMH, 29 July 1893, p. 9.

[600] SMH, 4 August 1893.

[601] Brisbane Courier, 29 July 1893. Note: Smith by 1895 is in San Francisco.

[602] Age, 5, 11, 12, 19 August 1893; in all eight remands -Deposition Register, Clerk of Petty Sessions, CPSI/AW 96, Queensland State Archives.

[603] ‘Baarmutha’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 8 October 1926.

[604] Argus, 24 August 1893; SMH, 24 August 1893.

[605] GLU Receipts, 1893 Petrie Defence Fund, ML; (Sydney) Worker, 2 September 1893; Bulletin, 2 September 1893, p. 8.

[606] Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard at the District Court at Brisbane, 1878-1893, JUS/AC8 No. 2957,

Queensland State Archives.

[607] Brisbane Worker, 14 October 1893. The article concludes with a letter from Marshall Lyle, a fellow MAC member, who defends Petrie’s innocence and eulogises Petrie’s work ‘among the outcasts and poor in Melbourne’.

[608] See discussion of Petrie by ‘J.D.’ and Andrews in Tocsin, 6 and 27 June 1901; also Souter, as above, pp. 170, 174 fn. from which some detail on Petrie is taken; (Sydney) Worker, 13 January and 14 April 1894. See ‘Baarmutha’ as above for suggested founders of the ASB, except for Douglas for whom see Lang, I Remember, p. 10.

[609] Queensland Times, 18 November, 1893, p.5.

[610] Beattie later described an anarchist orator in a shearing shed near Gympie in the winter of 1893 in terms which indicate Andrews, ‘Adam Tramp’ (Beattie) on ‘The Anarchist’, Tocsin, 4 January 1900, reprinted from Queensland Worker. However, to get to Gympie and back to Sydney by September/October to advise ‘a labour reformer’ against a major ‘event’ he would have had to travel by means other than foot.

[611] Dwyer Collection, ML MSS 2184/2. The 4 Principles complement Andrews’s ‘fictional’ account of the ‘War Contingent’ making ‘Spiders’ the best source on the ASB. The ‘A Division’ is the ASB group for which there are most references but there was also a ‘Star Division’, Section No. 9, which was the Wentworth Falls Social Co-operative Coal Mining Association of 1895, and there are references on rubber stamps and on published letters to No. 17, a person and a group, Group No. 19, No. 21, a person and No. 27, a person. A letter to the Australian Star signed ‘Ringleader No. 27’, also claimed to be from the Press Secretary. It referred to the seal of the Supreme Council as ‘a draped skeleton with a raised hand’. Bulletin, 21 October 1893; Standard Bearer, 1 January 1893 [sic], p. 1; Australian Star, 27 December 1893. For the Wentworth Falls venture see Lithgow Times 29 May, 1895, and ‘Socialism’ at 14 Aug, 1895.

[612] Dwyer Collection, ML MSS 2184/2.

[613] Brisbane Worker, 4 November 1893, quoting ‘Sydney papers’.

[614] Truth, 29 October 1893.

[615] NMH, 7 July, 1893, p.4.

[616] SMH, ‘The Police and Public Order’, in five parts, 12, 19, 26 Aug, 2, 4 Sept, 1893; The Australasian, (Melb), 2 Sept, 1893, p.21.

[617] Truth, 8 September 1893.

[618] SMH, 8 September 1893; VT, 7 September 1893; Holland and Douglas letters to DT, 8 September 1893 say ‘socialists as a body’ had nothing to do with the matter. Letters by Cato and Cotton abhor the disruptions.

[619] Truth, 10 September 1893.

[620] EN, 15 Sept, 1893, p.3.

[621] SMH, 20 September 1893, p. 8; Truth, 24 September 1893; VT, 20 September          1893 says this motion put before meeting by ‘a middle- aged person’   (Douglas?) who referred to McMillan as ‘fomentor of anarchy, discord and       civil strife’.

[622] SMH, 26 September 1893.

[623] (Sydney) Worker, 3 February 1894, p. 3 sets out an uncompromisingly ‘loner’ role for himself with regard to organisations. He also refers obliquely to his situation in ‘Spiders’. Handbill signed ‘No. 21’ (see note 35) is almost certainly by him. Ralph Baynham is largely a mystery. W.H. Mellor is another possibility, VT, 29 September 1893, p. 6; see fn 64 and fn 78.

[624] Andrews reference, Appendix 1, p.28; for Hart, see Weiner, as above, ch. 10.

[625] Australian Star, 7 September 1893. Similar description of Holland by WRW in International Socialist, 24 June 1911. The ‘youth’ said that he had brought 200 men with him; Truth, 17 December 1893; Holland later led the Labor Party in New Zealand, while Holman became Premier of NSW. See Dodd letter to VT, 22 September 1893 on two previously described ‘boys’, actually 28 and 30 years old, the second being Holland. His disclaimer, p. 155, can be set aside if no one actually organised the disturbance, or if Desmond is taken as organiser.

[626] J. N-R Collection, ANU Archives.

[627] ‘Communistic Anarchy’, JA Andrews, Mudgee, (Sydney) Worker, 6 January 1894.

[628] Holman and Rosa were two-thirds of NSW’s debating team to Victoria in 1891 and in January 1893 Holman was ‘on business’ with Rosa again in Melbourne, AW, 21 January 1893; Lang, as above, p. 10.

[629] (Sydney) Worker, 18 Nov, 1893.

[630] Sceusa’s welcome, (Sydney Worker), 18 November 1893.

[631] Table Talk, 17 and 24 November, 15 December 1893.

[632] Australian Star, 2 December 1893; others in similar tone, 14 December, 10 November 1893, Argus, 12 January 1894, Bird O’Freedom, 20 January 1894, and for cartoon, 21 October 1893. On the other hand ‘Bushman’ to the Star in January with information about the structure of the ASB which agrees with Andrews, described the members as ‘about the most harmless revolutionists the world has ever seen’. He believed the inner seven to be all anarchists and No. 1 to be living in Central Cumberland, Australian Star, 25 January 1894.

[633] Daily Telegraph (Sydney),13 Nov, 1893.

[634] ‘P. Warung’, Labor in Politics: Conference of 1893, Sydney, 1894; G. Black, as above, p. 33; Sydney Daily Telegraph, 10 and 11 November 1893; VT, 13 November 1893, for Kelly’s response; the Australian Star, 13 November 1893 refers to Desmond as the Gunyahtown delegate which may be a sarcasm.

[635] ‘Baarmutha’ items as above; Dally Telegraph, 13 November 1893, and

  1. Ford, Cardinal Moran and the Labor Party, MUP, 1966, p. 144 quotes an anti-ASB letter to Freeman’s Journal. See also L. Fitzhardinge, William Morris Hughes, Vol. 7, That Fiery Particle, A § R,1964, pp. 42-43; D. Murphy (ed), Labor in Politics, QUP, 1975, p. 33.

[636] Photocopy with present writer, courtesy of Roth, letter dated 31 August 1963; Fitzhardinge, as above, p. 49; Truth, 12 November 1893. Rosa and    McNamara were able to attend since they were out on bail. They missed the 1894 conference when their appeals failed.

[637] Daily Telegraph, 21 July, 1894.

[638] Rylstone Advocate, April 1894; Orange Leader, 3 February 1894.

[639] SMH, 20 November 1893; Australian Star, 20 November 1893.

[640] SMH, 27 November 1893; Standard Bearer, New Year’s Day 1893 [sic], misprinted also in Socialist, 1 November 1896.

[641] Australian Star, 22 November 1893.

[642] Standard Bearer, 19 November 1893.

[643] Standard Bearer, 3 December 1893, p. 4. Truth, 15 October notes a ‘Brigader’ enrolling members in the Sydney Domain and claiming the ASB would soon have 7,000.

[644] Standard Bearer, 1 January 1893 [sic].

[645] Australian Star, 12 December 1893 and 8 February 1894; Justice, 17 February, p. 2.

[646] Aust Star, 13 Dec, 1893, p.3.

[647] SMH, 13 December 1893; Australian Star, 13, 19, 20 December 1893;

Truth, 17 December 1893.

[648] Newcastle Morning Herald, 3 Jan, 1894.

[649] Australian Star, 27 December 1893; Smith (1960) mentions masked, numbered ‘anarchists’ being arrested in Sydney. I have been unable to find the newspaper cutting or the Greig Collection of pamphlets to which he refers. Arrests of ‘seamen’ by plain-clothes police, Truth, 26 November and 3 December 1893 possibly relate to this incident.

[650] Annie Dwyer to John Dwyer, 8 December 1893, Dwyer Collection, ML, MSS 2184/1. The leaflet is marked ‘1893’ in ink, Dwyer Collection, ML, MSS 2184/2; see also Truth, 14 January 1894.

[651] R Markey, The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales 1880-1900, UNSW Press, 1988, pp.158-164, (slightly re-arranged) for quotes, and pp.161-192, Ch 6 – ‘The Emergence of the Labor Party’ for his summary.

[652] Maitland Weekly Mercury, 21 Apr, 1894.

[653] Justice, 5 May 1894; Australian Star, 27 January and 2 February, 1894.

[654] Justice, appeared February-May 1894; Statement of Sureties, 2 February 1894 is Item 2 in ‘R. Vs. Justice’, 9/6866, Clerk of the Peace Records, NSW Archives.

[655] Australian Star, 13 and 14 June 1894.

[656] Justice, 21 April 1894.

[657] Ralston to Attorney-General, 12 July 1894, Item 2, 9/6870, Clerk of the Peace Records, NSW Archives. O’Reilly considered the ASB was finished by the jailings in any event and left town. He was back in court in December 1894 for objecting to the labelling which carried over from his earlier activities, Annie Dwyer to John Dwyer, 24 July 1894; Australian Star, 28 December 1894.

[658] G.C. Johnson, Windsor Gazette, 1903, copy in ML Newspaper Cuttings Collection on Andrews; Andrews in Justice, 28 April 1894 and (Sydney) Worker, 21 April 1894; G.C. Johnson in Justice, 12 May 1894. The two met early in 1894 and became reasonably friendly, Johnson in 1903 describing Andrews as having been ‘head and shoulders above any of [his crowd] in capacity, education and character’.

[659] Question in Parliament by George Black, Votes and Proceedings, NSW Legislative Assembly, 1894-95, vol. 1, p. 16, 29 August 1894.

[660] J.A. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia, Vol, 5, 1851-1900, A-G, NLA Facsimile, 1977, p. 83.

[661] One Andrews account of his ‘trial’ is in Appendix One; another is at Bulletin,    3 November 1894; the Bulletin had only been warned by polite letter for a   similar offence. Selective prohibition was used or attempted against Andrews       when he was trying to cover the Justice trials for the Mudgee Guardian, Australian Workman, 16 June 1894 (letter), and against Dwyer trying to appear for Robinson   in February, Australian Star, 27 February 1894. New Order was generally     supportive of Andrews, 7 July, p. 5 and 14 July, p. 5, 1894.

[662] Australian Star, 1 and 3 May 1894.

[663] R. Carr, Anarchism in France: the Case of Octave Mirbeau, Manchester University   Press,      1977, p. 52, ch. 4.

[664] The (Syd) Worker, 12 May, 1894, p.1.

[665] CH Bertie, ‘New Order’, The Sun,(Sydney) 24 Nov, 1929, p.23.

[666] W. Hughes, ‘The Rise and Fall of the New Order, Copy, 1913, p. 6; on staff see New Order, 11 August 1894, p. 2, and ‘Baarmutha’, Bulletin, 19 July 1923. New Order contains a lot of typical Desmond. Justice has only one item from ‘No. 7’.

[667] V. Marshall, Brisbane Daily Standard, 20 December 1921; New Order, 30 June 1894, p. 8, and 14 June 1894; J. Stuart, Australian Worker, 14 April 1926, 11 May, p. 13, and 23 June 1927; (Sydney) Worker, 17 February 1894, p. 2.

[668] A similar but as yet unsighted Sunday Times attack appeared 10 June 1894; photograph of Brady on staff of Bird 0′ Freedom at 30 December 1894; Cardinal Moran at a packed Sydney memorial service for President Carnot attacked anarchism at length, especially for its anti-religious aspects, its ‘satanic enmity against religion and morality’. See report, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 1894, p. 10, and elsewhere. Fr. Ford’s book on Moran and the labor movement (cited above) is based entirely on an unexamined acceptance of Moran’s self-interested ignorance about anarchism. Sunday Times (Sydney), 10 June 1894; Bird O’Freedom, 30 June 1894. The two earlier articles, Table Talk, 17 and 24 November 1893 appear to have a different style, though the same theme.

[669] Daily Telegraph, 30 August 1894.

[670] Quoted Brisbane Worker, 8 September 1894, p. 2.

[671] Brisbane Worker, 15 September 1894, quoting Queensland Hansard 7 September.

[672] Dated ‘9 November 1893, By Order Active Service Brigade’ it appeared in the Brisbane Courier, the Brisbane Worker of 25 November 1893, Table Talk of 15 December 1893, New Zealand Times, 6 June 1894 and is discussed and quoted again as agent of change in tactics of Queensland employers in Brisbane Worker. for 5 May 1894. Higgs, the then editor of the Worker, thought the pamphlet ‘revolutionary anarchist’.

[673] Brisbane Worker, 8 September 1894, quoting the Brisbane Observer.

[674] Table Talk, ‘Anarchy in the Bush’, 31 August 1894; for the ‘Rodney’ reward, £100, see NSW Government Gazette, No. 571, 28 August 1894, p. 5455, NSW Government Gazettes, July-August 1894.

[675] Letters to SMH, 29 August 1891, and VT, 31 August 1894 quoted in 4.914.1, Colonial Secretary’s Special Bundle, ‘Police Reports on Shearing Disturbances’, NSW Archives.

[676] Brisbane Worker, 27 October 1894.

[677] Fosberry to Col. Sec., ‘Special Report’, 6 September 1894 in 4.914.1, as above.

[678] Bulletin, 7 July 1894.

[679] Brisbane Worker, 27 October 1894.

[680] Australian Star, 10 July 1894.

[681] Australian Star, 14 February 1894.

[682] Australian Star, 31 March, 17 April, 12 June 1895.

[683] Australian Star, 22 February 1894.

[684] Argus, 14 July 1894, quoted in J. Docherty, The Rise of Railway Unionism 1880-1905, NSW and Victoria, MA thesis, Australian National University, 1973, p. 79.

[685] Australian Star had 32 major items on ‘New Australia’ from 1 May to end of December 1894.

[686] See ‘Walter Alan Woods’, biog by M Lake, ADB, Vol 12, MUP, 1990.

[687] (Sydney) Worker, 20 January, 12 May 1894.

[688] (Sydney) Worker, 20 January, 21 April, 18 August 1894; Brisbane Worker, 16 June 1894; New Order, 30 June 1894; Dawn, 2 July 1894.

[689] (Sydney Worker), 15 September 1894. Simultaneously he wrote of ‘The cant and dirt of Labor Literature’, (Sydney) Worker, 6 October 1894.

[690] New Order, 11 August 1894, p. 4.

[691] J.A. Andrews to J. Dwyer, 21 October 1894, Dwyer Collection, ML MSS2184.    Annie Dwyer, after Mason’s arrest, ran 491 Elizabeth Street as a boarding house with varied help including Andrews after his return from the country    in April. Though the Brigade had apparently promised her Dwyer’s share she       claimed to have received nothing from Domain collections and donations – Letters, Annie to John Dwyer, 1894, as above; also John Dwyer to Barrister       Conroy, 21 July 1894. Desmond appears to have expressed dissatisfaction with ‘that pathetic cripple Dwyer’ – ‘Brother Snuffler’ to ‘Dear Harry’, 8 May       1894, Dwyer Collection. The in-fighting was still going on in February 1895,       Dodd to Andrews, 1 October 1894, and Dodd to Dwyer, 18 February 1895, Dwyer   Collection. Dwyer on his release somehow takes back Castlereagh Street from the young Jack Lang and cronies, makes Elizabeth Street his and ASB headquarters, and as Andrews says, initiates a number of far-sighted    projects which kept something of the ASB going into the 20th century, at one stage having three Barracks operating – see, ‘The Australian Order of Industry’ in The Socialist, 10 September 1895, p. 5.

[692] Revolt, no. 2, December 1894, p. 3.

[693] In Appendix One. See also Annie Dwyer to John Dwyer, 2 September 1894, showing Andrews expected to be arrested the day after Darley’s speech; ‘R. VS. J.A. Andrews’, Clerk of the Peace Records, Central Criminal Court, for February 1894 [sic], 9/6864, NSW Archives.

[694] Hansard, vol. 16, p. 66, NSW Legislative Assembly quoted in

  1. Bennett, Life and Influence of Sir Frederick Mathew Darley, Chief Justice of NSW, 1886-1910, MA thesis, Macquarie University, 1970, p. 235.

[695] South Australian Register, 20 October 1894.

[696] G. Black to J. Dwyer, 21 December 1894, Q329.31N, ML.

[697] See Australian Star, 21 February 1895; Bulletin, 2 March 1895.

[698] ‘Anarchism up to Date’, Bulletin, 8 December 1894; ‘Revolutionary anarchists’ are acknowledged in this piece but repudiated. A Manifesto from the ‘International Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Socialists’, issued in Italy and published in Liberty (UK), February 1895, shows some of the currency of the name.

[699] For example, (Sydney) Worker, 7 April 1894, 26 May 1894, and comments by Higgs as editor of Brisbane Worker, 20 January 1894, and 14 April 1894. See also letter by ‘OJ’ in Brisbane Worker, 8 September 1894.

[700] Socialist, 10 September 1895, p. 8.

[701] Champion, 19 October 1895, p. 139; J.A. Andrews, ‘Each According to his Needs’ pamphlet, 1895, refers to MAC meeting, 16 October 1895.

[702] VOBU Minutes, 17 June 1895.

[703] Notes adapted from on-line, ‘Harry Holland’s Sporting Archives’.

[704] Brisbane Worker, 14 September 1895; 21 December 1895. For the other pamphlets see Brisbane. Courier, 10 August 1894; Brisbane Worker, 18 August 1894 and 21 July 1894; Australian Star, 7 May 1894. Charters Towers Eagle, has report that Tozer admitted in parliament using private detectives to spy at union meetings, 12 August 1893.