In 1977 the Wagga Wagga branch of the Australian Labor Party supported a team of ‘Progressive’ candidates, many of whom were party members, in the Wagga Wagga City Council elections of that year. They did so because they wanted to’ dominate the council’. This call for domination was a result of the lack of authority and influence enjoyed by the labour movement generally over the preceding 37 years. This paper charts the activities of the Wagga Wagga and District Trades and Labor Council, the branches of the trade unions and the local branch of the Australian Labor Party over the period 1940-75. It highlights the factors that prevented the labour movement from playing a positive role in the city.