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History of the AMIEU


1. First fleet ... first cattle
2. An industry grows
3. A union's rise and fall
4. Rebirth
5. Battles ... at home and abroad
6. War years
7. Ottawa Conference

8. Depressing Times
9. Wages at the latter end of the year 
10. Women ... a growing force
11. Offcuts
12. Faces and places
13. Work hard, play hard
14. The battle continues
15. Birth of our union

Contact AMIEU

Qld. Branch Office

Level 1 - 39 Lytton Rd.
East Brisbane Qld. 4169
Ph: 07 3217 3766
Fax: 07 3217 4462

Central Region
110 Campbell St.
Rockhampton Qld. 4700
Ph: 07 4922 4336
Fax: 07 4922 5984

Northern Region

260 Ross River Rd.
Aitkenvale 4814
Ph: 07 4725 5644
Fax: 07 4725 5694


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Introduction - 113 years of Struggle
1889 - 2002 and beyond...

Long hours and low wages for a six-day week compelled shop butchers to form the Brisbane Butchers Employees Union in late 1888 and early 1889. It quickly found support from butchers in country areas in south Queensland and changed its name to Brisbane District Butchers' Union. It disappeared in the big anti-union onslaught after the defeat of the early nineties.

After several attempts, it was finally revived in 1906. It based itself on the workers in the export industry which had grown and expanded in the preceeding decade. A primitive form of unionism already existed in individual meatworks, where workers elected committees to negotiate with the employer for the wages and conditions for the season. By 1910, a statewide union, covering all sections of the industry, had been built on solid foundations.

This centenary booklet outlines some of the highlights in the growth of the industry and the union. It tells of the struggle against the harsh and gut-wrenching work in primitive conditions and how the workers by solidarity and unity won better conditions. Our union has a proud history.

From the hardships, the defeats and victories, meatworkers-men and women-have developed a unique form of comradeship and mateship. The democratic form of organisation, which of necessity emerged in the sheds before the union existed, has been jealously preserved.

The pioneers of our union were staunch and true unionists, often beaten, but never conquered. This centenary (1989) year, we honor them and express our deep gratitude for their efforts and sacrifice. Today we enjoy conditions which were won after long and bitter struggles.

I dedicate this small contribution to our pioneers and to record our union's proud past for future generations.


Dinosaurs are not dead
- the success of the A.M.I.E.U(Qld) in defeating AWAs1

By Marjorie Jerrard

With the move towards Australian Workplace Agreements promoted by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 gaining momentum, comes the issue of how do unions adapt to this changing environment, particularly those unions regarded as 'traditional' and therefore as 'dinosaurs'.  In the shrinking Queensland meat processing and export industry, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union is such a union and in 1997 it was confronted with the introduction of AWAs by two companies.  The union had to develop a strategy to counteract a possible threat to its membership base and the established wages and conditions which the union had won for its members.  The union had chosen to rely on its traditional strengths to meet the challenges posed by the changing industrial relations climate of the 1990s and saw no reason not to utilise those same strengths in overcoming this most recent threat.



 AMIEU Qld. Secretaries


Herbert Hardacre

Jack Gilday

Jack Crampton

Ernest Jones

Pierce Carney

Jim Neumann

H (Bert) Fields
acting secretary
Branch Secretary

W (Bill) Hodson

Col Maxwell

Dick Anear

Les Day

Ross Richardson

Russell Carr

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