Badge, Australia : NSW. Shipwrights' Provident Union of NSW, Jubilee 1862-1912, silver.
The Growth of Labour and Union Movements in New South Wales
These medals illustrate the growth of labour and union movements, both on a national and local scale in New South Wales, in the second half of the 19th Century. The ┬?Clasped Hands of Brotherhood┬? forms a recurring theme in many medals issued by organised labour movements in this period, which has its origins with the first British unionists, the ┬?Tolpuddle Martyrs┬? of Dorset; farm labourers who were transported to Australia some years earlier for being members of a ┬?secret society┬?.
The Years of Expansion: Social and Cultural Aspects of Life in Colonial New South Wales
During the first decade of settlement, opportunities for cultural and social development and exchange were generally limited to Government officials, prosperous merchants, and the major landholders of the Colony.
The harsh living which otherwise prevailed on the inhabitants (both bond and free) and the social distinction which they brought with them from the British Isles, generally precluded either the opportunity or the inclination for the development of significant cultural or social interests.
For these people, social life generally revolved around the taverns of Sydney Town and Parramatta, and the ┬?grog┬? shanties of the bush and the minor settlements.
The more settled conditions which began to prevail in the Colony from the first years of the 19th Century, coupled with an increasing flow of free settlers, provided greater opportunities for both cultural and social exchange. By the 1820s, this had produced a strong, locally orientated culture which, whilst it still showed much of its European origins, had evident colonial overtones.
This cultural and social thread was not confined to the major town, and by the middle of the 19th Century was well established in the settled areas of the Colony.
The medals displayed represent a small cross-section of the development of cultural and social activities in the Colony, throughout the 19th Century.
- From Sydney Mint Museum label written by curator, Major HP (Pat) Boland, c1982