Contents of ATUA

Lists of industrial organisations

ATUA provides comprehensive lists of trade unions, trades hall councils and employer associations registered under the federal industrial relations system since 1904. A number of organisations that were registered under their respective state's industrial legislation have also been identified and included in ATUA. Browse lists of organisations.


When searching for entities, users should be aware that in some instances abbreviations instead of the full name of the entity are used. The spelling conventions chosen by the union's originators and published as such in Parties to the Award have been applied. For instance, the Hotel Club Restaurant Caterers Tea Rooms amp; Boarding House Employees Union of New South Wales is preceded by the Hotel Club Restaurant amp; Caterers Employees Union of NSW. The same principle applies also to the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association which is referred to and listed as the TFGA Industrial Association.

Date range of industrial organisations

In many instances, the date on which the organisation was legally registered and/or deregistered is included. It is important to note that some organisations came into being prior to the system of federal registration (1904) therefore the date the union came into being may not necessarily be the date on which it was federally registered. This is reflected in some of the apparent discrepancies between the dates which appear alongside the names of the organisations and their accompanying histories. See the Seamens Union of Australasia (1930-1943).

Where organisations were not registered under the federal or state systems, the dates given are for their creation and/or demise.

Contextual information

In addition to listing industrial organisations, ATUA aims to place them in their historical context, providing an overview of the circumstances and events which led to their formation, representation, existence, and for some, their demise.

Where possible, a brief history of the organisation, its date of registration or de-registration, and links to related organisations are included. Where the organisation exists today, albeit under a different name, there may also be a link to its own website.


Individuals including trade union officials, rank and file members, employer representatives and politicians involved in the Australian labour movement and whose personal papers can be found in the manuscript collections of libraries, museums and archives, have been included in ATUA. See John Curtin's papers at the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.


ATUA also includes selected events in the history of the Australian labour movement including major strikes (such as the Victorian Nurses Strike) and interstate congresses. Events have been included where archival and/or published resources have been located.

Archival resources

ATUA provides summary information including brief descriptions of the records of industrial organisations which are held in recognised archives, museums and libraries. ATUA does not include records which are still in the custody of the creating organisations.

Where possible, one of the following links is also provided in the summary:

  • A link to the repository's online description, which may include further detail about a specific collection such as item number. For example - Reference: D42 (University of Wollongong Archives); or,
  • A link to the repository's entire list of holdings. For example - Reference: N85; Z236 (Noel Butlin Archives Centre).

There is also a link to the Australian Society of Archivists' Directory of Archives in Australia, which provides repository contact details.

Published resources

ATUA includes references to monographs, journal articles and conference papers, and links to online resources related to individual unions, persons and events which have shaped Australian labour.

Pedigree charts

Scholars can trace an organisation's lineage in chart form, in which the organisation's pedigree is detailed against its broader industry focus and also in terms of the bodies which directly preceded or succeeded it. See Chart 1 Peak National Councils - Trade Unions.