Daily Archives: July 1, 2010

Underground Talk, great new books and more…

NIBS Tuesday bulletin, 29 June 2010


Apologies for the not-soTuesday bulletin this week – the author was in Adelaide visiting his family and speaking about himself in the third person.

But now, keep reading for some great Underground Talk events, a special Book launch and some great new remainders from Castlebooks…


“Mars Meets Mammon”:
Militarism Australian Style
Bill Williams @ Underground Talk

6:30pm Wednesday 30 June
New International Bookshop, Trades Hall

Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) President Bill Williams will spark a lively discussion on the issues raised in Vision 2030: An alternative approach to Australian security, MAPW’s new 48-page publication.

Bill’s chapter explains where our defence dollars go; how spending on health would promote peace more effectively; and documents the deep social impacts of war. He’ll speak on the lack of sense in Australia’s security strategy and spending. Another Melbourne based contributor, Tilman Ruff, will also discuss Australia’s broken promises on nuclear disarmament.

Entry: $5/$2 concession
More info: (ph) 9662 3744, (email) nibs@nibs.org.au


Earthworker Social Enterprise’s first factory:
Workers leading the way to a green economy

Dave Kerin @ Underground Talk
6:30pm Wednesday 7 July
New International Bookshop, Trades Hall

The response to climate change of big business and government looks like being too little, too late. But what if organised labour itself could create green jobs and push Australia towards a sustainable future?

It’s a not a hypothetical, this is actually happening.

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council (GTLC) oversees a region already hit hard by the privatisation of the power industry. Now, when some hear climate change sounding the death knell for the local economy, the GTLC is going on the front foot by backing the Earthworker Social Enterprise.

With their first factory producing solar hot water units almost ready to go, Earthworker founder and CFMEU organiser Dave Kerin will discuss how worker co-operatives can create new green-collar, manufacturing jobs alongside current coal and related jobs and what you can do to help this important new movement grow.

Entry: $5/ $2 concession
More info: (ph) 9662 3744, (email) nibs@nibs.org.au


The Byron Journals, Daniel Ducrou, Text, $19.95.

Andrew and his mate Benny have finished school and are heading for the holiday of their lives in Byron Bay. They are not sure what they’re looking forward to most: the surf, the girls, the music, the partying or just being away from Adelaide.

Things don’t go to plan, and Andrew loses his mates. But he finds Heidi. Heidi is not like anyone he’s ever met before, and she takes him into her world, which feels a million miles away from his past. But is Andrew really prepared for the ride he’s about to take?

The Byron Journals is an exciting debut novel by a fresh new voice in Australian literature. Fun, and sometimes frightening, it takes a clear-eyed look at the desire to escape your past and the dangers of running headlong into your future.

Launch by Michael Williams (programming director, The Wheeler Centre)
6:30pm Thursday 8 July
Bella Union bar, Trades Hall


Abolition! The struggle to abolish slavery in the British colonies, Richard S. Reddie, $9.95.
The World of the Wtiches, Julio Caro Baroja, $9.95.
Black Dog of Fate: An American son uncovers his Armenian past
, Peter Balakian, $7.95.
The Victorian Internet: The remarkable story of the telegraph and the nineteenth century’s on-line pioneers
, Tom Standage, $9.95.
Rebel Queen: How the trial of Caroline brought England to the brink of revolution, Jane Robins, $9.95.
The Stuart Case, K. S. Inglis, $9.95.

New fiction remainders listed in next week’s bulletin – but if you can’ wait just pop into the shop for a look.


Smile or Die: How positive thinking fooled America and the world, Barbara Ehrenreich, Granta, $29.99.

Letters to My Grandchildren: Thoughts on the future, Tony Benn, Arrow, $27.95.


See you soon at Underground Talk or for a browse in the shop.

In unity,
Seb Prowse

Reply to sender | <a href="mailto:nib-announce | Reply via web post | Start a New Topic
Messages in this topic (1)

Meeting of 17 Group postponed to July 14th

The July 7th Meeting of the 17 Group on Microcredit will be postponed for a week so as not to offend religious sensibilities. It would otherwise clash with this year’s final holy day of obligation for all practising Originists. A late communication from accredited representatives of Leon gives it to be known that he approves of the committee’s decision, controversially and somewhat provocatively (as is his wont) urging support for the Blues.
Full notices for the meeting, to be addressed by Dr Ingrid Burkett on the 14th of July, will now go out one week before, on the very day of the sacred ritual. In the meantime here is a short description of the content and the speaker:

Microfinance: Just Debt?
The Nobel winning Professor Mohammed Yunus is the most famous proponent of microfinance delivered through the bank that he founded – the Grameen Bank. It is a bank that is owned by women and that primarily lends to women in Bangladesh. The finance is ‘micro’ as the name implies – small loans that help women to establish small enterprises which in turn help them to earn enough money to create a pathway out of poverty for their families. There are now millions of dollars being invested into microfinance around the world. It is a new ‘anti-poverty revolution’ and it seems to have had some spectacular results. Microfinance has also appeared in Australia as a response to help the growing number of people who cannot access mainstream loans from banks and other financial institutions, and are often forced to use ‘fringe’ lenders. What is this phenomena of microfinance all about? Does it really work? Will it mean the end of poverty? This talk outlines the global and the local realities of microfinance and explores why it is so necessary to understand ‘finance’ in order to address poverty.

Dr. Ingrid Burkett is the Social Innovations Manager for Foresters Community Finance, a community development finance institution based in Brisbane. She has practiced, taught, researched and written about community economic development for over 15 years, both locally and internationally. She has worked across government, community and corporate sectors. Ingrid is also the Acting President of the International Association for Community Development and is recognised as one of Australia’s experts in the fields of community and micro finance. She is also a practicing artist and president of Upatree Arts Co-operative Ltd, a community enterprise based in Mt Nebo, Queensland.

WA Aboriginal Pastoral Workers Strike of 1946

[Download for free the song CLANCEY & DOOLEY & DON McLEOD in MP3 format, and the SHANE HOWARD TOUR POSTER – see below]

The Western Australian Aboriginal Pastoral Workers Strike of 1946
by Shane Howard

In 1942, on the western side of the Pilbara, Western Australia, a great meeting of the Aboriginal desert law men was organised by Dooley Bin Bin and Clancey McKenna. Over 200 people attended, some travelling thousands of kilometres, from as far away as Halls Creek, Darwin and Alice Springs. There, at Skull Springs, they sat in council to discuss the shameful conditions that their people were living under, all through that central and western desert country. The meeting lasted for six weeks. There were 23 languages spoken and 16 interpreters.

One whitefella, the prospector Don Mcleod, was invited to that meeting. McLeod was one of the first whitefella’s to be born in Marble Bar *(see correction from Pat below in comments section), one of the most remote towns in Australia. He’d been invited because of the help he’d once given an Aboriginal elder who needed to be taken to hospital. None of the whitefellas at the time would help to transport him, but McLeod took him as a matter of course and thought nothing more of it. His empathy was noted and as a result he was summoned to attend the great desert council.

The people discussed what they could do to improve the future for their children. Work and living conditions were appalling for all Aboriginal people at the time but in the Pilbara, being so remote, it was particularly harsh and ‘out of sight and out of mind’. Aboriginal people were under the Native Administration Act and they were slaves in their own country. No wages, no housing, no freedom of movement and meagre rations. McLeod was appointed executor and the group became known as The Mob.

The people waited until the World War II ended, but on 1 May 1946, 800 Aboriginal workers went on strike and walked off sheep stations in the north-west of Western Australia. Under the guidance of McLeod, Bin Bin and McKenna, the strike was well organised and initially stunned the authorities. All three were arrested and jailed and persecuted. Although the strike effectively lasted for at least three years, it never officially ended.

But the strike was about much more than 30/- a week wages and better conditions. They began agitating for rights, dignity and proper entitlements in their own country.

In order to survive away from the stations, The Mob established their own camps and traded kangaroo and goat skins. Initially under Don McLeod’s direction, they began alluvial mining with yandys until they could afford equipment. Ironically, their successful mining operations drew attention to the mineral wealth of the Pilbara. They supported themselves this way for over 20 years, acquired three stations, established schools and began developing a way of life based on Aboriginal communal organisation.

The Mob had solid supporters like the Communist Party, some of the churches, women’s groups and a small group of artists. The Fremantle branch of the Seamen’s Union refused to load the squatters wool on boats while the strike was on and eventually the Australian Workers Union supported the Mobs claims for wages and better conditions.

When Western Australia was first established as a State by the settlers, the constitution made provision for a small percentage of State revenue to be allocated for Aboriginal people. McLeod turned bush lawyer and went on to argue that this had been illegally changed and continued to agitate for restitution for the West’s Aboriginal population.

He also went on to support other actions for justice for Aboriginal people, including the fight against oil drilling on Aboriginal land at Noonkanbah in the Kimberley region of WA in the late 1970s.

At one level the strike collapsed, but like the Eureka Stockade, it was a victory won from a battle lost. Many gains were made. There are so many characters in this heroic story that this song is not enough to give a full picture of the remarkable efforts by a small group of disempowered people. There was Peter Coppin, the songman Donald Norman, Daisy Bindi, Ernie Mitchell and so many more heroes of this struggle and they can take credit for giving birth to the Aboriginal Land Rights movement and inspiring the Gurindji walk off at Wave Hill in the 1960’s.

In the foreword to Max Brown’s book, Black Eureka, the writer Dorothy Hewett wrote, “A little mob of Nor’-West Aborigines without status, funds, or human rights, challenged the feudal strongholds of squatters, missions, courts, newspaper barons and governments, all the way up to the United Nations. It is a classic story of the underdog and his uncountable resources. It records the birth of the militant Aboriginal movement and it is part of Australian history now.”

This is one of the remarkable stories of Australian history that should be taught to our school children, as a chapter we should never forget.

Shane Howard

SUPPORT Shane Howard’s new album ‘Goanna Dreaming’ and his National Tour.

‘Goanna Dreaming’ features the song ‘Clancey and Dooley and Don McLeod’ , a song that tells the story of the Western Australian Aboriginal Pastoral Workers Strike of 1946 – an important and little known story in Australian History.

Download for free the song CLANCEY & DOOLEY & DON McLEOD in MP3 format, and the TOUR POSTER

How The West Was Lost – Don McLeod – Book
How The West Was Lost – Ronin Films – Director/Producer: David Noakes – DVD
Black Eureka – Max Brown – Book
Yandy – Donald Stuart – Book
Clancey & Dooley & Don McLeod – Dorothy Hewett – Poem
Taruru – C. G. von Brandenstein & A. P. Thomas – Pilbara Song Poetry – Book