Public History seminar - Peter Clayworth on The Great Strike of 1913

Public History seminar – Peter Clayworth on The Great Strike of 1913




Please join us to hear Peter Clayworth

The Great Strike of 1913:

‘Industrial War’ in ‘the Workers’ Paradise’

The Great Strike of 1913 was one of the largest and most disruptive in New Zealand’s history. From October 1913 to January 1914 a strike wave swept across the country, involving about 14,000 workers, hundreds of police and thousands of special constables. Mounted specials from rural areas confronted militant urban workers and their supporters. Wellington saw street fighting between ‘Massey’s Cossacks’ and the “Red Feds’, with ‘cavalry’ charges, revolver fire in the streets and machine guns deployed at the wharves and on Buckle Street. Auckland endured a week long general strike, while on the West Coast striking miners and watersiders had control of Greymouth and Westport throughout November. The strike exposed the fault-lines between worker and boss, ‘militant’ and ‘moderate’ unionist, socialist and Empire patriot, and between rural and urban New Zealand. In this talk Peter Clayworth will give an overview of the strike, with a closer look at events in Wellington. He will examine some of the questions the events of 1913 raise concerning the nature of New Zealand society on the eve of the Great War. Peter will also briefly discuss events being organised to commemorate the strike centennial.

Peter Clayworth works as a writer for Te Ara the encyclopedia of New Zealand. He has a PhD in history from the University of Otago. Peter is a committee member of the Labour History Project and is currently involved in organising a series of commemorative events for the centennial of the 1913 strike. He is also working on a biography of Red Fed leader Pat Hickey. Peter hails from a family of mechanics in Stoke, Nelson, and is descended from a long line of West Coasters.

Venue:  L4, ASB House, 101 The Terrace, Wellington.

Everyone is welcome – seminars last for approximately one hour.

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