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Trade Union entry South Australian Teachers Association (1887 - 1936)

South Australia
Trade Union (State or Territory only)


Teachers' unions in South Australia began in 1885 with the formation of the Adelaide Teachers' Association. The Country Teachers' Association formed in 1887 and the two merged in 1887 to become the South Australian Teachers' Association. This association split in 1936 into the South Australian Public Teachers' Union and the South Australian Women Teachers' Guild. These separate organisations remained apart until 1951 when teachers voted to form a single representative body called the South Australian Institute of Teachers [SAIT]. SAIT covered all teachers and school assistants in the State's primary schools, pre-schools and secondary schools, as well as teachers in the fields of further education and non-government schools. It had the widest coverage of any teacher organisation in Australia and accepted student teachers and Education Workers (Aboriginal Education). Membership has grown from 2,500 in 1951 to 20,099 full members and 2,500 associate members in 1987.

Archival resources

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU Archives Program

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • South Australian Institute of Teachers - Records, 1890 - 1948, SRG 74; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

Published resources


  • Hyams, Bernard Keith, From compliance to confrontation: 140 years of teachers' unions in South Australia, 1851-1991, Auslib Press, Adelaide, 1992, 148 pp. Details
  • Vicary, Adrian, In the interests of education: A history of education unionism in South Australia, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, New South Wales, 1997, 289 pp. Details

Ross G. Elford