“In Errol O’Neill the events [of the 1891 Shearer’s strike] find a true Queensland voice” -- Aubrey Mellor, Program Notes, 1991
When landowner Frederick Fairbairn asks the shearer’s – including old hand Mick Keegan and the more youthful Frank Connolly - to pay for their own equipment and take a pay cut, the ripples begin to spread â€¦
On the Whipping Side chronicles the drama and politics of the 1891 Queensland Shearer’s Strike and challenges audiences to consider issues of worker’s rights, fair representation, and the employee-employer relationship. Squatters, shearers, unionists, journalists, business owners, politicians, their families – all are represented in Errol O’Neill’s sweeping epic.
On the Whipping Side offers audiences insight into the impacts and a legacy of Australia’s early labour movement and, in so doing, gives context to Australia’s contemporary industrial landscape.
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Starts on page 114
EXTRACT: These gatherings put me in mind me of the very roots of democracy - ordinary people, out of necessity and with deep resentment for injustice, forcing society to bring about the changes for which humanity itself cries out. And the cries of humanity will not be silenced until all men and women are free, equal participants in the great onward march of the human race itself