Daily Archives: November 17, 2009

Vale Pat Mackie

I have just read in the morning paper that Pat Mackie has died at the age of 95.

Pat Mackie carries a chair down the aisle of a mass meeting of workers during the Mt Isa Mines Dispute. Pat had snuck through a police cordon around the town in order to attend the union meeting. Miners stood and applauded when they saw Pat arrive.

Pat was a great wobbly and to pay tribute to Pat Mackie’s life I have found this story ‘Red Cap’ about Pat written by Lachlan Hurse. It was previously posted on WBT in 2007.

I remember the Mt Isa Mines dispute and the effect it had on Queensland at the time. It must count as a watershed workers struggle In Queensland along with the 1912 General Strike, 1948 Railway Strike, the 1954 Wharfies Strike, the 1957 Palm Island wages strike, the early 1970s Miners Strikes and the 1985 SEQEB dispute — all uniquely Queensland workers struggles.

As a boy I knew of Pat Mackie and heard of the role he played in the dispute. Any school kid who read their Social Studies textbook knew the significance of My Isa to the Australian economy. Copper, lead, zinc mining was exploited by Mt Isa Mines Pty Ltd (MIM). MIM has disclosed large profits and a market value of £230 million (worth billions of $ today) and was more than 50% foreigned owned by the Guggenheim group of the USA. Continue reading


The world’s largest mining company  – BHP Billiton – will be having its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Brisbane on  November 26 (Thurs). Traditional Owners from South Autstralia, Colombia – and people from other affected areas – will be gathering … Continue reading

How a union survives

“There are plenty of examples of socialists who are not Marxists; but to be a Marxist, you have to be a socialist” — H. McQueen


Introduction by Humphrey McQueen

1991 Victorian Branch Report [Builders Labourers Federation] by John Cummins





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