It was WA’s ‘Eureka’

• Maritime Union of Australia WA branch secretary Chris Cain and organiser George Gakis at the memorial to wharfie Tom Edwards in Kings Square. Photo by Steve Grant.

TOMORROW’S annual May Day march through Fremantle (Sunday May 5) will have special significance for local unionists, as this weekend marks 100 years since the death of wharfie Tom Edwards in the infamous Bloody Sunday riot.

Edwards died three days after having his skull cracked by a policeman’s truncheon on Victoria Quay. His death is remembered with a fountain that still stands in Kings Square.

The Lumpers Union that represented Edwards and his comrades has over the years morphed into the Maritime Union of Australia, which itself was recently absorbed into the super-union FCMEU but still exists as a distinct identity.


MUA WA branch secretary Chris Cain said his members would deviate from the usual May Day route this year in order to lay a wreath at Edwards’ memorial and have also released a commemorative booklet for the 100th anniversary of the riot, which they’ve described as WA’s “Eureka battle”.

The march will kick off from the Esplanade reserve on Sunday at 10am, and on its return there’ll be a May Day festival with stalls and union merchandise.


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