The Dalfram Dispute 1938

10 Oct

On November 15, 1938 the steamship Dalfram berthed at No. 4 jetty Port Kembla to load pig iron for Kobe, Japan. Ted Roach, Branch Secretary, addressed the men at the labour pick up for the Dalfram. He told the men of the destination of the pig iron and the use of the pig iron in the use of weapons – first to be used against the Chinese and they feared that eventually – against Australia.

At 11 am the men walked off the ship declaring they refused to load pig iron for Japan to turn into weapons. It led to an eleven week lock-out, with incredible pressure being applied by the government of the day. On the 11th of January 1939, Robert Menzies Attorney General at the time, came to Wollongong to sort out the dispute. He met with an angry crowd where a lady screamed out Pig Iron Bob for the first time. It lasted his lifetime.

Sandra Pires <


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