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WALKING THROUGH GAWLER’S LABOUR HISTORY

Tags: Tony Piccolo MP / Gawler / Light Electorate / Building Communities / Volunteers

Categories: Public Events

  • By Light Electoral Office
  • May 10, 2021
WALKING THROUGH GAWLER’S LABOUR HISTORY

 

Tony Piccolo and Helen Hennessy outside the former James Martin Foundry the site of many industrial disputes

Local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo has joined forces with award winning local historian, Helen Hennessy to host a walking tour of Murray Street Gawler to showcase the labour history of the town.

The tour will delve into both the industrial and political history of the town with a focus on how many existing buildings played an important role in the social and commercial development of the town.

Mr Piccolo said Gawler was an important industrial town in the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries.

“Farm and other industrial machinery were manufactured in Gawler for sale across Australia so many people were employed in foundry businesses which created an active union movement,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Some of the working conditions were pretty poor and so industrial action was taken from time to protect worker rights.”

“It would be fair to say some employers were more enlightened than others.”

A range of unions existed in Gawler during those times reflecting the strong working-class character of the general population.

Ms Hennessy has undertaken a great deal of research and prepared a manuscript of the life of E H Coombe, the first Labor Member of Parliament in the Gawler area.

“E H Coombe lived an interesting life, holding a range of key positions in the town and his life journey can be associated with a number of buildings along Murray Street,” said Ms Hennessy.

“The important role played by women will also be highlighted in the tour.”

Mr Piccolo said the idea for a tour of Murray Street came from a couple of walking tours he did through the streets of the City of Melbourne a few years ago.

“Walking tours help bring both the buildings and town’s history to life,” said Mr Piccolo.

“You can almost experience the history firsthand through the walks.”

“The tour will be of particular interest to people who had family members who worked in the foundries shops and other businesses at the turn of the previous centenary.”

The walking tour will commence at 2 pm on Sunday 23rd May and commence from the Civic Centre.

The event is part of the official history month program of activities for the Town of Gawler and people interested in attending should register their interest by either telephoning Tony Piccolo’s office on 85 222878 or sending an email at light@parliament.sa.gov.au

 

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