Dawn to Dusk — Reminiscences of a Rebel

The wiles of Labour politicians – the futility of fearful and reactionary Labour leaders have been revealed in this record, and the lessons I and others so bitterly learned should preclude any further waste of time and enthusiasm in vainly endeavouring to make figs blossom and fruit on barren trees.
Ernie Lane in Dawn to Dusk

This book was listed by the Bulletin magazine in the 1990s as one of the 100 best books ever written in Australia.


Ernie Lane’s book traces the origins of the Australian labour movement. He played a significant role in industrial conflicts and the establishment of the Labour Party, but became increasingly disillusioned as it sacrificed principle for power.

The breadth of his experience, such as his time in the New Australia community in Paraguay established by his brother William Lane, his role in the 1912 General Strike in Brisbane, and years of struggle in the Australian Workers Union, makes it a book of epic proportions. His strong commitment to the ideals of socialism led him to a head-on conflict with the Labour Party machinery as it developed during the first half of this century.

It was reprinted by SHAPE (Social History of Australia Publishing Enterprise) – a joint venture between Leftpress and other interested individuals

A PDF of the SHAPE Version is available by click on the image at left or on the hyperlink below: http://bushtelegraph.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/dawn-to-dusk-e28094-version-by-shape.pdf

The original Dawn to Dusk by E. H. Lane (“Jack Cade”) was published in 1939.


In the early 1990s Ian Curr from LeftPress bought an original copy of the book shown below from Bob Gould in Sydney. Bob Gould sold it to Ian for $42.

LeftPress decided to reprint the book and asked permission of Ernie lane’s family. SHAPE was given permission and the book was typeset and printed by LeftPress. Edgar Ross [A History of the miners Federation 1970-1984 and editor of Common Cause) wrote an Introduction for the reprint.

It was launched by Hughie Williams (Transport Workers Union) and Clarrie Beckingham (Ernie lane’s son-in-law) at the Trades and Labour Council building in Peel Street in South Brisbane in 1992.

Comments above are written by Ian Curr

Dawn to Dusk is available from LeftPress Printing Society by sending $10 (the cost of postage) to 29 Fryar Street Camp Hill 4152. Please provide a return address.

Only recently Ian Curr came across an electronic version of Dawn to Dusk (see below). This was transcribed: by Andy Blunden for Marxists.org 2007 and proofread and corrected by Nicole McKenzie.

Source: Dawn To Dusk. Reminiscences of a Rebel, E.H. Lane (1868-1954) Brisbane 1939;

Registered at the General Post Office, Brisbane, for transmission through the Post as a Book. Wholly Set Up and Printed in Australia by William Brooks & Co. (Q) Pty. Ltd., Wickham Street. Valley, Brisbane. 1939.

I wish to make it clear that my criticism of Labour men in these pages is not to be taken as a reflection upon their private. lives and conduct. I have discussed solely their public and political actions.

E. H. Lane


Dedicated to all those Comrades who, despite all costs, disillusionments, and betrayals – “in storm or stress or calm” – have never faltered in the fight, but have ever held aloft the red flag of Working Class Emancipation and pressed forward towards Freedom’s goal.




Childhood and Youth.

I. Early Influences
II. Revolutionary Period
III. Sydney Activities

Conflict and Propaganda.

IV. A Bitter Fight
V. Formation of Socialist League
VI. Social Democratic Vanguard Work
VII. Cosme Experiences
VIII. In the Firing Line Again
IX. Brisbane General Strike
X. A.W.A. Literature Distribution

A.W.U. Amalgamation and Degeneration.

XI. Swing to the Right
XII. Dearth of Socialist Books
XIII. Militancy Sabotaged
XIV. A.W.U. Ballots

War and Labour.

XV. Labour Confused
XVI. I.W.W. Activities
XVII. Russian Revolution
XVIII. 1917 Industrial Upheaval
XIX. Q.C.E. Morality

Opposition to Militant Unions.

XX. O.B.U. Derided
XXI. Socialisation Plank Sabotaged
XXII. Inauguration of the O.B.U.

Reaction in the Saddle.

XXIII. Russian Workers’ Triumph
XXIV. Revolt Against the Labour Government
XXV. Twilight Hours

Catalogue of Educational Propaganda Books

Details and image of whole book at “Reason in Revolt”
Social Democracy | Australian History

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