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Trade Union entry South Australian Shearers Union (1886 - 1888)

South Australia
Trade Union (State or Territory only)


Formed, largely as a response to the cutting of shearers' rates in April 1886, the South Australian Shearers' Union was among a number of similar bush unions hoping to achieve better conditions for their members. In 1888 the South Australian Shearers' Union became a branch of the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia [ASU].

In 1890 ASU machinery was used to recruit shed hands and bush labourers into a new union which was formally established as the General Labourers' Union of Australasia at its inaugural conference in February 1891.

In February 1894 the General Labourers' Union and the Amalgamated Shearers' Union amalgamated to form the Australian Workers' Union. 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 - 1888 South 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

Bruce A. Smith