The founding brief of the Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement 1788-1975 was to publish short biographical entries on some 2,000 activists considered to have made a significant but hitherto un- or under-recorded contribution to the labour movement’s history at the national, state, regional and/or local scale at some point down to the mid-1970s. The project had its origins in discussions that took place during and after the first national conference of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH), which was held in Sydney in the spring of 1989.
Based at the University of Western Sydney, which provided seed funding and facilities, in 1990 the project achieved additional momentum by means of a major grant from the Australian Research Council. Since 1993, the project’s completion has essentially been a labour of unpaid, fitful love and, most recently, has been based within the Business and Labour History Group at the University of Sydney. With the project now complete, the entries are available for all to consult via the Labour Australia site managed by the staff of the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University. We are immensely grateful to Melanie Nolan and her colleagues for assuming responsibility for maintaining the Register as a living public resource.
Andrew Moore, University of Western Sydney
Yasmin Rittau, University of Sydney
John Shields, University of Sydney