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Trade Union entry Australian Shearers Union (1886 - 1887)

Trade Union (State or Territory only)


The Australian Shearers' Union grew from the discord that was generated by the cutting of shearers' rates in April 1886. Organised, to a large extent by David Temple, the Union swelled to 8000 members by the end of that year's shearing season. In January 1887 the smaller shearers' unions of Wagga Wagga and Bourke joined with the Australian Shearers' Union to form the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia [ASU]. By 1894, the ASU had evolved to become the Australian Workers' Union [AWU], due largely to the amalgamation of the General Labourers' Union of Australasia. The AWU was registered in 1905 and continued operating under this name until 1993, despite two reregistrations (one in 1976 and the next in 1988). In 1993 the AWU amalgamated with the Federation of Industrial Manufacturing & Engineering Employees to form the AWU-FIME Amalgamated Union.


 1886 - 1887 Australian Shearers Union
       1887 - 1894 Amalgamated Shearers Union of Australasia
             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

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Norm O'Connor folklore collection - Mr Oscar Hills talks, recorded by Norm O'Connor and Wendy Lowenstein, 1967, ORAL TRC 2539/096; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Published resources


  • Spence, W.G., History of the AWU, The Worker Trustees, Sydney, 1961, 125 pp. Details

Online Resources

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

Bruce A. Smith