Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2006), 91, (1), 206–208.


206 Labour History Number 91 November 2006 A particularly interesting tension explored is that between hope and despair. While academics write about cycles of protest and so on, this book engages engagingly with this literature but asks and finds answers to intriguing questions, such as: how do you keep going in the bad times? Australian activists have offered much to the world. Australians formed the first democratically elected Labor government. Our unions were the first to use their industrial power to protect the environment. Jack Mundy coined the term 'green ban' and inspired Europeans to adopt the label 'The Greens' as a political noun. Tasmanians who defended the wilderness can claim to have established the first Green Party in the world. Australian radicals developed the 'open source publishing technique' that allows would-be journalists to post their own stories on the web, and is used by indymedia groups all around the world. As African American anti-slavery and women's rights campaigner Frederick Douglass wrote in 1849: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find just what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong that will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted either with words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Academics have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it. This book is a valuable contribution to both interpretation and practical efforts at change. University of Melbourne VERITY BURGMANN Christopher Cunneen (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography: Supplement 1580-1980, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, 2005. pp. xxii + 520. $74.95 cloth History is full of forgetfulness; there is no reason why even the Australian Dictionary of Biography, in all its vast and preceding 16 volumes since 1962, should have escaped the tendency to overlook some valuable lives, or felt compelled to leave them behind in the crush for scarce space, until a trace of a life snags at the memory, a protest is lodged on behalf of the neglected, and four good minds - amongst many others - are brought to bear on the unenviable task of summoning another tribe of the dead, from the many who might be recalled in the span of 400 years of human experience of this continent from 1580. Supplementing the story of Australian lives starts with a resonant and disturbing echo: Mullah Abdullah, camel driver and Islamic priest, whose faith and its practices jarred with the narrow mining community of Broken Hill, and who was by January 1915, 'a grey-bearded zealot, fiery when insulted', as he joined with a former Turkish Army soldier, Gool Badsha Mahomed, to bring the Great War and simmering religious grievance to a train load of citizens bound for the Manchester Unity Order of Oddfellows Picnic in Silverton. Equipped with a rifle-laden ice cream cart, they

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Author details

Hearn, Mark

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