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Trade Union entry Queensland Shearers Union (1887 - 1892)

Trade Union (State or Territory only)


The Queensland Shearers' Union [QSU] was formed in January 1887 to help combat pastoralists' attempts to reduce the shearing rate. By the time the union had registered under the Queensland Trade Union Act in August 1888 it had well over nine hundred members, and a year later close to three thousand. Constantly at odds with the larger Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia [ASU], the QSU rejected amalgamation attempts from that union only to accept by plebiscite an amalgamation with the Queensland Labourers' Union in October 1891 to form the Amalgamated Workers' Union of Queensland, which it did in April 1892. In an ironic twist, however, the Amalgamated Workers Union of Queensland ultimately merged with the newly formed Australian Workers' Union, a creation of the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia, in 1904.


 1887 - 1892 Queensland Shearers Union
       1892 - 1904 Amalgamated Workers Union of Queensland
             1905 - 1976 Australian Workers Union (i)
                   1976 - 1988 Australian Workers Union (ii)
                         1988 - 1993 Australian Workers Union (iii)
                               1993 - AWU-FIME Amalgamated Union

Archival resources

James Cook University of North Queensland, Library Archives

  • Edward Yule Lowry Papers, 1887 - 1897, 403R; James Cook University of North Queensland, Library Archives. Details

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU Archives Program

Published resources


  • Svenson, S., Industrial War: The Great Strikes 1890-94, Ram Press, Wollongong, 1995, 107 pp. Details

Edited Books

  • Murphy, D.J. (ed.), The Big Strikes, Queensland 1889-1965, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, Queensland, 1983, 303 pp. Details

Online Resources

  • Hearn, Mark, AWU History, Australian Workers Union, New South Wales Branch. Details

See also

  • Merritt, John, The Making of the AWU, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1986, 432 pp. Details

Bruce A. Smith