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Abstract

Of Human Right & Human Gain traces the development from 1869 to 2000 in the Hunter Valley of the oldest continuous peak union organisation in Australia. This is a story well worth telling and decades of meticulous research by Rod Noble mean that it is told very well. Since its inception and currently, the principal role of the Newcastle Trades Hall Council (NTHC) is “to act as a collective industrial, political and community authority for its affiliated unions and the broader labour movement”. Early industrial issues of concern for the NTHC in 1885 and proximately usually involved pay and conditions, industrial legislation, union demarcation, health and safety particularly in the mining industry, shorter working hours and a rejection of dependence on organisations in metropolitan Sydney. And by the 1930s, the NTHC had established a pattern of support for equal pay for women, Aboriginal rights, public education, jobs, control of planning and development, housing, price control, public ownership, peace and disarmament.

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