Remembering the Dalfram dispute

Dalfram Dispute Memorial, Heritage Park, Port Kembla

Members of the Port Kembla maritime community, along with the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China, paid their respects to the wharf labourers who protested the export of pig iron from Australia to Japan in 1938 at Heritage Park Port Kembla.

The 85th anniversary of the Dalfram Dispute was on 15 November. The dispute saw 180 workers refuse to load pig iron on to the steamship SS Dalfram after learning the materials would be used to produce military materials against China.

South Coast Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris said the action was one of the union movement’s iconic acts of bravery.

“To have the foresight, to have the understanding, to do something that would be remembered so many years later is one of the most brave and iconic things in our history,” Rorris said.