Labour History

Forging an Australian Working-Class Identity through Myth, Story-Telling and Maritime Mateship: Becoming Harry Bridges

Labour History (2019), 116, (1), 113–143.

Abstract

Applying a mix of autobiographical theory and research about the importance of the individual, families, and community to class formation, this article locates Harry Bridges, the future American labour leader, in Melbourne from 1901 to 1919. It examines the process by which he forged an Australian working-class identity through experience as a seaman, autobiographical story-telling, and selective narration about the achievements of the Australian labour movement and Labor governments. Creating a sense of assurance about workers’ right to power enabled Bridges to assume a leadership position in the USA, avoid deportation, and evolve into a labour statesman.

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Author details

Janiewski, Dolores E.