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Editorial January 1998


During the second half of 1997 the Illawarra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History met twice. The first meeting, on Sunday 17 August, was addressed by Dr Bob James, former president of the Hunter Branch of the Labour History Society, with about twenty members present. The title of this forum was THE TRAGEDY OF LABOUR HISTORY. RESURRECTING THE ROLE OF FREEMASONS AND FRIENDLY SOCIETIES. Bob argued that the decline of the organised labour movement was inevitable, since it was built on a falsified history which gave primacy to unions and political parties, even though many more workers belonged to the masons and friendly societies. His paper, which was enthusiastically received, has been reproduced in this issue.