This article is an analysis of the political forms that emerged in the New South Wales town of Port Kembla over the period 1900 to 1930. It argues that two principal types of politics dominated the political landscape of industrialising Port Kembla. The first type was class politics, based on the industrial labour market. In the 1910s local workers formed union organisations and a local labor league, culminating in major industrial action in 1919/20. The second type of politics was localist politics, characterised by claims of local unity and development. Localist politics, best represented by the local Progress Association, clashed with class-based organisations, and established ascendancy by the 1920s. Local unity and cross-class alliances were encouraged by a number of factors including the common interest in protecting town infrastructure. Towards the end of the 1920s, as industrial disputes intensified and economic conditions worsened, class politics was resurgent, ultimately overwhelming the localist coalition by the eve of the depression. Men dominated local politics, though behind the public face of these organisations women were active as fundraisers. Kooris were excluded both socially and physically, with their living spaces tellingly located on the fringes of the town itself.