Shearers' strikes

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(1891; 1894)

Major strikes in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Sheep shearers were fighting for the principles of unionism and the “closed shop” (an establishment in which only trade-union members are employed), while sheep farmers were fighting for “freedom of contract” (the right to employ anyone). The strikes were marked by violence and bitterness on both sides. Non-union labour was used. Union leaders, including some from the Barcaldine shearers' camp of 1891, were arrested on charges such as conspiracy, seditious language, and riot. Some were gaoled. The unions were defeated.

Subjects: World History — Australasian and Pacific History.

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