Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (1989), 56, (1), 101–103.


Book Reviews bibliographic note she locates herself within urban studies, but her text and its format show a subsumation of urban studies. The book is interestingly organised. Part I 'Living' includes chapters on urban and social space, transport, and industry. Part II 'Working' includes chapters on occupations and occupational mobility, the 'daily grind'; and then, 'marriage' and 'on the margins of the good life'. Thus Fitzgerald sees marriage as work, as indeed it is, for men and women. Fitzgerald reports more about women than men, reflecting the 1970s origins of the book. And the results of her research are satisfyingly pessimistic?'More women moved down the occupational scale on marrying than moved up? proving this is very laborious work requiring high statistical and archival skills. A sub-theme of this strong chapter is that infanticide and abortion were far more common than con servative historians allow. Fitzgerald's final chapter on marginalised workers ? casual workers ? is also an important corrective to the working people's paradise thesis. In her Conclusion, Fitzgerald argues for 'facts' over 'theory' in her work and then proceeds to draw off Calhoun's The Question of Class Struggle to develop a notion of Sydney-as-community. Yes, and no, to both propositions; but thank heavens for a provocative conclusion. And what of the first few chapters? Fitzgerald shows clearly that Sydney was characterised by blocked mobility, or at least very difficult upward mobility. Shades of Thernstrom and Warner here, and perhaps generally the 'new' urban history influence from the 1960s. How different the nineteenth century now looks to us as a result! From her 'Acknowledgements' it seems that Shirley Fitzgerald at times questioned her ability and motivation to see the project through. While she thanks those who encouraged her over the bad patches, Fitzgerald's readers can see for themselves in the text of Rising Damp a strength of character, a commitment to the difficult task set, and an intellectual span, which is deeply impressive. University of Western Australia C. T. STANNAGE Mark Bray and Malcolm Rimmer: Delivering the Goods: A History of the Transport Workers' Union in New South Wales 1888-1986. Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1987. pp. xii + 297. $24.95 paper. The publication o? Delivering the Goods is a reminder that despite a flurry of labour history titles in the past ten to fifteen years, many aspects of the labour movement, in organisation, ideas or events, have never really been analysed or even described at length. Many Australian trade unions still suffer from a lack of academic attention. Trade union histories are often derided as dull, too possessed with a mechanical narration of the doings of the union's leadership. Publishers doubt their appeal and look to the subject union for substantial financial underwriting. I can't say how well Delivering the Goods will sell, but it deserves a wide readership. Here is the well-researched story behind a domineering union in a key industry, a union which has previously escaped serious scrutiny. Like any union which can look back through a century of struggle the story of the Transport Workers' Union is full of vigour and conflict. This is unsurprising given the firmly private enterprise ethos of Australian road transport. Workers in the road haulage industry from the 1880s onwards have had to reckon with employers jostling for market share in a competitive and tough business. Unionisation of transport workers has consequently been a fairly pragmatic business. 101

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Author details

Hearn, Mark

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