Labour History

“Good Riddance to the Stinkin’ Place”: Deindustrialisation and Memory at Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in Burnie, Tasmania

Labour History (2015), 109, (1), 149–167.


As areas have deindustrialised, the factories that once symbolised prosperity and constancy are abandoned. These buildings are imbued with the memories of the workers and local people and can become the site of contest over visions of the past, present and future. In Burnie, Tasmania, the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills factory closed in 2010 and was demolished in 2012. There was a sense of ambivalence around these buildings that had dominated Burnie physically and economically for over 75 years. Their centrality to the town’s prosperity and growth went largely uncelebrated and they were demolished to erase memories of the industrial past and frame the future as post-industrial.

Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


1.Steven High, “‘The Wounds of Class’: A Historiographical Reflection on the Study of Deindustrialization, 1973–2013,” History Compass 11, no. 11(2013):994–1007;Carolyn Brown,Jennifer Klein andPrasannan Partasarathi, “Senior Editor’s Note,” International Labor and Working-Class History 84(2013):1–6. Google Scholar

2.Steven High, “Beyond Aesthetics: Visibility and Invisibility in the Aftermath of Deindustrialization,” International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 84(2013):140. Google Scholar

3.High, “Beyond Aesthetics,” 141;Alice Mah, Industrial Ruination, Community and Place: Landscapes and Legacies of Urban Decline(:University of Toronto Press, 2012), 7. Google Scholar

4.Thomas Ryan, “57 Twentieth Century Burnie Paper Mill Buildings being Demolished,” Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism(blog), 4 October2012, accessed September 2015, Google Scholar

5.Ivan Neville, “Labour Market Conditions in North West/Northern Tasmania and Burnie,” Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations Presentation, 12 September 2013, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

6.James Fentress andChris Wickham, Social Memory(:Blackwell, 1992), viii. Google Scholar

7. Ibid., 1–24;Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory, Volume 1: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture(:Verso, 1996), viii;Natalie Zemon Davis andRandolph Starn, “Introduction,” Representations 26(Spring1989):1–6. Google Scholar

8.Fentress andWickham, Social Memory, 26. Google Scholar

9.Samuel, Theatres of Memory, x. Google Scholar

10. Ibid., 17. Google Scholar

11.Fentress andWickham, Social Memory, 126, 200–201. Google Scholar

12.Marianne Debouzy, “In Search of Working-Class Memory: Some Questions and a Tentative Assessment,” History and Anthropology 2, no. 2(1986):261–82. Google Scholar

13.Pierre Nora, “Between Memory and History:Les Lieux de Mémorie,” Representations 26(Spring1989):7. Google Scholar

14. Ibid., 12. Google Scholar

15.Mah, Industrial Ruination, 15. Google Scholar

16.Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” History Workshop Journal 39(1995):186. Google Scholar

17.Samuel, Theatres of Memory;Lucy Taksa, “The Material Culture of an Industrial Artefact: Interpreting Control, Defiance and Everyday Resistance in the New South Wales Eveleigh Railway Workshops,” Historical Archaeology 39, no. 3(2005):8–27;David Byrne andAiden Doyle, “The Visual and the Verbal: The Interaction of Images and Discussion in Exploring Cultural Change,”inPicturing the Social Landscape: Visual Methods and the Sociological Imagination, eds.Caroline Knowles andPaul Sweetman(:Routledge, 2004), 166–77. Google Scholar

18.Steven High andDavid Lewis, Corporate Wasteland: Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization(:ILR Press, 2007);Caitlyn De Silvey, andTim Edensor, “Reckoning with Ruins,” Progress in Human Geography 37, no. 4(2012):465–85. Google Scholar

19.Alice Mah, “Memory, Uncertainty and Industrial Ruination: Walker Riverside, Newcastle upon Tyne,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies 34, no. 2(2010):399. Google Scholar

20.Tim Strangleman,James Rhodes andSherry Lee Linkon, “Introduction to Crumbling Cultures: Deindustrialization, Class and Memory,” International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 84(2013):7–22;Michael Frisch, “De-, Re-, and Post-Industrialization: Industrial Heritage as Contested Memorial Terrain,” Journal of Folklore Research 35, no. 3(1998):241–49. Google Scholar

21.Kathryn Dudley, The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America(:The University of Chicago Press, 2007), xi. Google Scholar

22.Steven High, “Mapping Memories of Displacement,”inPlace, Writing and Voice in Oral History, ed.Shelley Trower(:Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), 217–31;Timothy J. Minchin, “‘Just Like a Death’: The Closing of the International Paper Company Mill in Mobile, Alabama, and the Deindustrialization of the South 2000–2005,” Alabama Review, no. 59(2006):44–77;Tim Strangleman, “Work Identity in Crisis? Rethinking the Problem of Attachment and Loss at Work,” Sociology 46, no. 3(2012):411–25;Steven High, “Introduction,” Urban History Revue/Revue d’Histoire Urbaine 35, no. 2(2007):2–13;James Rhodes, “Youngstown’s ‘Ghost’? Memory, Identity and Deindustrialization,” International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 84(2013):55–77;Sherry Lee Linkon, “Narrating Past and Future: Deindustrialized Landscapes as Resources,” International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 84(2013):38–54. Google Scholar

23.Peter Spearritt, “Money, Taste and Industrial Heritage,”inPackaging the Past? Public Histories, ed.John Rickard andPeter Spearritt(:Melbourne University Press/Australian Historical Studies, 1991), 33–45;Lucy Taksa, “Globalisation and the Memorialising of Railway Heritage,” Historic Environment 21, no. 2(2008):11–19;Bobbie Oliver, “More than Just Locomotives: Rediscovering Working Lives at the Midland Railway Workshops,” Historic Environment 21, no. 2(2008):20–24;Lucy Taksa, “Machines and Ghosts: Politics, Industrial Heritage and the History of Working Life at the Eveleigh Workshops,” Labour History, no. 85(November2003):65–88;Spearritt “Money, Taste and Industrial Heritage.” Google Scholar

24.Henry Reynolds, A History of Tasmania(:Cambridge University Press, 2012), 290. Google Scholar

25.Roslynn Haynes, “Tasmanian Landscapes in Poetry, Painting and Print,”inMemory, Monuments and Museums, ed.Marilyn Lake(:Melbourne University Press, 2006), 209. Google Scholar

26.Kay Daniels, “Cults of Nature, Cults of History,” Island Magazine 16(Spring1983):4. Google Scholar

27. Ibid. Google Scholar

28.Michael Roe, “Commemoration: Tasmanian Slices,”inLake, Memory, Monuments and Museums, 228–42. Google Scholar

29.Alan Jamieson, The Pulp: The Rise and Fall of an Industry(:Forty Degrees South, 2011);Paul Edwards, “Associated Pulp and Paper Mills,” The Companion to Tasmanian History,Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, accessed October2015, Google Scholar

30.Jamieson, The Pulp;Ruth Barton, “The State, Labour Management and Union Marginalisation at Electrolytic Zinc, Tasmania, 1920–48,” Labour History, no. 101(2011):53–70;Erik Eklund, “‘Intelligently Directed Welfare Work’? Labour Management Strategies in Local Context: Port Pirie, 1915–29,” Labour History, no. 76(1999):125–48;Dudley, The End of the Line. Google Scholar

31.Kerry Pink, Campsite to City: A History of Burnie 1827–2000(:Burnie City Council, 2000); CFMEU Official, interview with author, 24 September 2013;Jamieson, The Pulp. Google Scholar

32.Pink, Campsite to City;Jamieson, The Pulp. Google Scholar

33.Robert Tierney, “Class Struggle and the ‘Community of Families’: The 1992 Dispute at Associated Pulp and Paper Mills,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies 4, no. 2(1999):64–80;David Baker, “A Tale of Two Towns: Industrial Pickets, Police Practices and Judicial Review,” Labour History, no. 95(2008):151–67;Herb Thompson, “The APPM Dispute: The Dinosaur and Turtles vs the ACTU,” Economic and Labour Relations Review 3, no. 2(1992):148–64;Pink, Campsite to City. Google Scholar

34.Tierney, “Class Struggle”;Baker, “A Tale of Two Towns”;Terese Henning andRick Snell, “The APPM Strike: An Exercise of Police Discretion: A Poor Example of Judicial Oversight,” Bond Law Review 5, no. 1(1993):96–110;David Baker, “The Fusion of Picketing, Policing and Public Order Theory within the Industrial Relations Context of the 1992 APPM dispute at Burnie,” Australian Bulletin of Labour 27, no. 1(2001):61–77;Pink, Campsite to City;David Baker, “Policing Industrial Conflict in Rural and Regional Settings: Local and ‘Outside’ Approaches,” International Journal of Rural Crime, no. 1(2007):79–92;John Medwin(2009)“The 1992 Dispute that Stopped a City,” Ramblings of an Old Goat(blog), 5 July2009, accessed October 2015,;Gwynneth Singleton, “Political Review: April to June 1992,” The Australian Quarterly 64, no. 3(1992):309–21. Google Scholar

35.Pulp and Paper Industry Strategy Group, Final Report(:Commonwealth of Australia, March2010), accessed October 2015,;Brenda Rosser, “The Pulp and Paper Industry: A Paradigm for Australia’s Annihilation,” The Tasmanian Times, 9 March2009, accessed October 2015,;Minchin, “Just Like a Death,” 44–77. Google Scholar

36.Jo Clydesdale, “Workers Reflect as Pulp Mill Era Comes to End,” The Advocate, 12 August2010, accessed October2015,;Sean Ford, “Final Chapter Closing on Paper Mill History,” The Advocate, 13 April2010, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

37.Ruth Barton andPeter Fairbrother, “What Can Unions Do? Addressing Multinational Relocation in North West Tasmania,” Journal of Industrial Relations 56, no. 5(2014); 697–98; CFMEU Official, interview;Mah, “Memory, Uncertainty and Industrial Ruination.” Google Scholar

38.Clydesdale, “Workers Reflect as Pulp Mill Era Comes to End.” Google Scholar

39.“Paper Mills: Minister’s Impressions: ‘Amazing Building,”’ The Advocate, 27 July1938, 5;“Some Aspects of the Mills and the Operations at Burnie,” The Advocate, 22 February1939, 8;“The Birth of a New Industry: Paper Mill about to Start Production in Burnie,” The Advocate, 29 August1938, 6;“Paper Mill Taking Shape: Works Will Occupy Over Seven Acres,” The Advocate, 30 August1937, 7;“Good Progress Being Made with Pulp Mill,” The Advocate, 26 March1937, 7;“The Birth of a Great New Industry,” The Advocate, 1 September1938, 5;Samuel Bird, “Success of Paper Mills Putting NW Tasmania on the Map,” The Advocate, 22 February1939, 11;“Paper Pulp Industry Will be Launched Next Month,” The Advocate, 30 July1938, 8. Google Scholar

40.“Architectural Beauty and Utility Combined in APPM Services Building,” The Advocate, 22 July1943. Google Scholar

41.“Family Spirit in Industry: Paper Mills’ Lead,” The Advocate, 1 July1946, 2. Google Scholar

42.Cine Service, The Burnie Mill, film, 1956, accessed October 2015,;Eniko Hidas, “Wolfgang Sievers,” Design and Art Australia Online, accessed October2015, Google Scholar

43.Tess Lawrence, A Whitebait and a Bloody Scone: An Anecdotal History of APPM(:Jezabel Press, 1986);Jamieson, The Pulp, 169–72; CFMEU Official, interview. Google Scholar

44. “Burnie Paper Mill Shutdown,”comment by Z1NorthernProgress2110 posted 18 June2010, Railpage, accessed October2015, Google Scholar

45.Peter Hay andTony Thorne, Last Days of the Mill(:Forty Degrees South, 2012). Google Scholar

46. “Documenting the Disappearance of the Burnie Pulp Mill,” Media Release, University of Tasmania, 28 February2012, accessed October2015, Google Scholar

47.“Burnie Bunnings Gets the Final Tick,” The Advocate, 26 March2012, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

48.Tas Paper Pty Ltd v Burnie City Council, Tasmanian Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (TASRMPAT) 192 (2011). Google Scholar

49.Carly Dolan, “Bunnings Decision is Expected this Week,” The Examiner, 10 December2011, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

50.Helen Kempton, “New Life for Mill Site,” The Mercury, 4 September2012. Google Scholar

51.Sean Ford, “Bunnings Set to Launch Burnie Development,” The Advocate, 4 September2012, accessed October 2015,;GHD, Burnie: A Thematic History(:Burnie City Council, 2010). Google Scholar

52.High, “Mapping Memories of Displacement,” 223. Google Scholar

53. “A Pictorial History of Burnie, Tasmania,”Facebook page, accessed October2015,;Catherine Riessman, “Narrative Analysis,”inThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods, ed.Michael Lewis-Beck,Alan Bryman andTim Futing Liao(:Sage, 2004), 706–10;Fentress andWickham, Social Memory;Samuel, Theatres of Memory. Google Scholar

54. “A Pictorial History of Burnie, Tasmania.” Google Scholar

55. Ibid. Google Scholar

56.Ford, “Bunnings Set to Launch”;Sean Ford, “Late Dash for Pool Funds,” The Advocate, 20 August2013, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

57.Kempton, “New Life for Mill.” Google Scholar

58. “A Pictorial History of Burnie, Tasmania.” Google Scholar

59. Ibid. Google Scholar

60.Mah, Industrial Ruination. Google Scholar

61.Aryelle Sargent, “Foreshore Walk to Keep Pulp Memory Alive,” The Advocate, 11 December2012, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

62.Carol Haberle, “The Pulp Paper Trail: Burnie Tasmania,”4 January2013,, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

64.“Pulp Paper Trail,” SpicerInc, March2013, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

65.Kirk Savage, “Monuments of a Lost Cause: The Postindustrial Campaign to Commemorate Steel,”inBeyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization, ed.Jefferson Cowie andJoseph Heathcott(:ILR Press, 2003), 238. Google Scholar

66.Byrne andDoyle, “The Visual and the Verbal,” 167. Google Scholar

67.Taksa, “Globalisation and the Memorialising of Railway Heritage,” 12:Lucy Taksa, “Labor History and Public History in Australia: Allies or Uneasy Bedfellows?” International Labor and Working Class History 76(2009):96;Mah, Industrial Ruination, 15;Dolan, “Bunnings Decision.” Google Scholar

68.Jefferson Cowie andJoseph Heathcott, “Introduction: The Meanings of Deindustrialisation,”inCowie andHeathcott, Beyond the Ruins, 1–18. Google Scholar

69.Lucy Taksa, “‘Hauling an Infinite Freight of Mental Imagery’: Finding Labour’s Heritage at the Swindon Railway Workshops’ STEAM Museum,” Labour History Review 68, no. 3(2003):391–410. Google Scholar

70.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland. Google Scholar

71. Ibid., 9. Google Scholar

72.De Silvey andEdensor, “Reckoning with Ruins”;High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland;Dudley, The End of the Line. Google Scholar

73.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland, 39. Google Scholar

74.Doreen Massey, “Landscape/Space/Politics: An Essay,” The Future of Landscape and the Moving Image(blog), accessed October2015, Google Scholar

75.Mah, Industrial Ruination, 48. Google Scholar

76.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland;Paul Shackel andMatthew Palus, “Remembering an Industrial Landscape,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 10, no. 1(2006):49–71;Charles Fahey,John Lack andLiza Dale-Hallett, “Resurrecting the Sunshine Harvester Works: Representing and Reinterpreting the Experience of Industrial Work in Twentieth-Century Australia,” Labour History, no. 85(November2003):9–23;Minchin, “Just Like a Death,” 72. Google Scholar

77.Mah, “Memory, Uncertainty and Industrial Ruination,” 405. Google Scholar

78.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland. Google Scholar

79.Strangleman,Rhodes andLinkon “Introduction to Crumbling Cultures.” Google Scholar

80.Byrne andDoyle, “The Visual and the Verbal.” Google Scholar

81.Dudley, The End of the Line. Google Scholar

82.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland, 30. Google Scholar

83.Sean Ford, “Open Beach View: Kons,” The Advocate, 8 January2013, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

84.James Overton, “‘A Future in the Past?’ Tourism Development, Outport Archaeology and the Politics of Deindustrialisation in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1990’s,” Urban History Review 35, no. 2(2007):68. Google Scholar

85.Daniels, “Cults of Nature.” Google Scholar

86.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland, 34. Google Scholar

87.William Wyckoff, “Postindustrial Butte,” The Geographical Review 85, no. 4(1996):490. Google Scholar

88.High andLewis, Corporate Wasteland. Google Scholar

89.Mah, “Memory, Uncertainty and Industrial Ruination.” Google Scholar

90.Dudley, The End of the Line, 55. Google Scholar

91.Massey, “Landscape/Space/Politics”;Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 185;Peter Hay, “Subversive History: A Plea for the Primacy of ‘Home,”’ Vandemonian Essays(:Walleah Press, 2002);Daniels, “Cults of Nature.” Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Barton, Ruth