Australian Left Review

Article Title

Exploitation of Black Workers


Warwick Neilly


The following article has been adapted from a paper given by Warwick Neilly, former organiser of the North Australian Workers’ Union, in the Trade Unions and Co-operatives Course at the NSW Trade Union Training Centre.

The first major industry to start up in the Northern Territory was, o f course, the beef industry. It was only in later years that the other major industry - mining - began to take its place. The beef industry began in earnest a few years before the First World War and the key company was Vestey’s, who became the major operators in the NT at a time when there was big competition in the world over beef markets. The British companies, of which Vestey’s was one, were in competition with the American companies and they wanted big areas of land for producing beef. The NT was a natural for this and they moved in heavily with big properties and abattoirs.