Workers' Memorial, Port Adelaide

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Workers' Memorial, Port Adelaide
Workers'Memorial, early morning.JPG
Workers' Memorial, Port Adelaide is located in Portadelaide-inner
Workers' Memorial, Port Adelaide
Location in Port Adelaide
Coordinates 34°50′39.20″S 138°30′18.21″E / 34.8442222°S 138.5050583°E / -34.8442222; 138.5050583
Location NW corner of St Vincent Street & Commercial Road intersection, Port Adelaide
Designer J.Tillett, monumental mason
Material Granite
Beginning date 1 October 1918
Opening date 6 December 1918
Dedicated to Commemoration of departed Labor leaders
The statue, representing Justice, was unveiled on 16 September 1921.
The Workers Memorial, after the wreath-laying ceremony on 6 May 2018.
For a more comprehensive list, see List of names on the Workers' Memorial, Port Adelaide.

History of the Memorial

The Council Meeting

At a Port Adelaide Council meeting on 23 January 1917 a deputation from the Port Adelaide Electoral Committee of the United Labor Party requested council give permission for them to erect a memorial drinking fountain in the City, and to allot a site for its erection, the site desired being the corner of Commercial Road and St Vincent Street, near the police station. The request was granted on 30 January 1917, with the site to be fixed and plans and designs of the memorial to be approved by council.

The Mayor, Mr. R.H. Smith said it had first been suggested to erect the drinking fountain to honour the memory of the late Mr. Hugh Garland, a noted battler for Labor’s cause and a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, but it was decided the memorial fountain should perpetuate the ceremony of the departed Labor leaders who had contributed significantly to the area, some of whom had given their lives on the field of battle, and that their names should be inscribed on the monument.

Workers' Memorial Committee formed

A Workers' Memorial Committee was formed with the Mayor, Mr. R H Smith as President and Mr. F. Condon as Secretary. Other members included J.S. Verran MP, the Honourable John Carr MLC, J.L. Cavanagh, G. Hurn, J. Newcombe, A. Robinson, F. Woods, F.F. Ward, J.H. Clouston, C. Hayter, I. MacGillivray, C. Gilchrist, T. Davey, T. Arthur, J.L. Stephens, J. Lockhart, M. Gabb, J.J. Marten, W. McAuley, E. Joyner and J.L. Price. The Port Adelaide Trades and Labor Council were also asked for cooperation,


The Committee's aim was to raise £200 for the erection of a drinking fountain by the end of 1918, with the fund to be called “The Workers Memorial Fund”. By May 1918 £58 had been raised, with special thanks to The Horses in Action Committee for donating £36, over half the net proceeds of their annual carnival day, which was held each year in September at Alberton Oval.

The Labor Regulation League was asked to set aside a Sunday for a collection, the ladies forum of the ALP held a social, picture proprietors were asked to run a show and donations were sought at various pay offices. Money was also contributed by unionists, business men, lodges, and other organisations.

Designs sought

The President, Secretary, and the Honourable J. Carr were appointed to make enquiries regarding designs, with several monumental masons interviewed when calls for tender were made. Designs by the firm of John Tillett were accepted by the Committee, and the City of Port Adelaide was asked to confirm the exact location of the area to be allocated.

The approximate cost of the monument and drinking fountain was ₤600, with an initial outlay of ₤300. The committee worked hard to secure the initial amount and have the first portion of the work completed and handed over to Council by December 1918.

The foundation stone laid

When completed, the monument with the statue stood approximately 18ft. high. The concrete bed, about 4 ft 6 in. square, was laid down by the City of Port Adelaide on Tuesday 1 October 1918 after a pine tree overhanging the site had been removed. The foundation-stone was laid Friday 8 November at 8 pm with the Mayor, Mr. R H Smith, officiating. The crowd who witnessed this ceremony formed the largest open-air meeting ever held in the district.

Mr. Frank Condon, the secretary of the memorial committee who presided in introducing the Mayor, stated the memorial, when completed, was to be handed over to the City.

Twenty four unions were asked to select names to appear on the monument. The committee accepted all names tendered, eight of whom were those of deceased soldiers. From time to time more names would be added.

Mr. Smith presented a container, made from copper taken from the old clipper the Stag, which was breaking up after lying in the Port River for many years. Various documents were enclosed within the container, including signatures of councillors, members of the State and Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Trades and Labor Council and Trades Unions, Port Adelaide Labor Party Electorate Committee, the Hon. J. Carr, and Mr. J S Verran, M.P. as well as copies of newspapers of the day, and coins of the realm.

The Mayor was presented by contractor Mr. J Tillet with a silver trowel, and he had the honour of laying the foundation-stone, which weighed 2 tons, 5 cwt.

Mr. Mellowship's Orchestra, provided musical selections with songs contributed by Mesdames Mellowship and Roberts and Miss Alice Edwards.

The original names

There were 47 names originally inscribed on the stone pedestal in gold lettering, including those of eight unionists who had made the supreme sacrifice in France during World War I: Patrick Dowd, Frederick Hisgrove, George Hurn, Edward Lowndes, Hector McAulay, William Mann, Spurgeon Watson and Alfred Winckel.

Nominated by Nominees
Amalgamated Society of Engineers J.B. Clayton, H.A. Garland, S. Webster
Amalgamated Timber Workers and Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners H. Hains
Australian Clerical Association E.W. Lowndes
Australian Meat Industry Employees R. Higgie
Builders Laborers Society F. Hisgrove
Federated Carters and Drivers of Australia
Port Adelaide sub-branch
S.G. Brodie, J.G. Brooks, P.J. Dowd, M.J. Slaven
Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen Association R. Johnson, W. Mann, B. Sage, G. Wilks, A. Winckel
Federated Masters, Mates and Engineers R. Groves, B. Sage
Federated Millers and Mill Employees Association T. Cooper
Federated Seamen’s Union A. Campbell, S.C. Coe, J H Hayter Snr, H.J. Pudney
Government General Workers Association E.R. Phillips
Port Adelaide Trades and Labour Council F.J. Hisgrove
United Labor Party W.F. Boon, Mrs. C. Fox, J. Hickey, The Hon. D. Jelley, M.L.C., J.J. Kelly, H. McAulay
Working Men's Association (now Waterside Workers) J. Appelby, T. Carr, Sen., G.J. Connell, W. Curtis, J.F. Donnell, G. Duffield, W. Hack, G. Hobbs, C. Hains, J. Hains, J.R. Linton, H. McPherson, J. Wilkins
G. Dean, D. Fletcher, G.S. Hurn, M. Tracey, S. M. Watson

The Pedestal

The pedestal has four bands, the three lower of dark grey Victorian granite, axe finished on all faces and the top base block together with the die and cap, of granite. The height of the pedestal is between 11 and 12ft. Two drinking fountains of the latest type were also included.

The pedestal of the Workers' Memorial was unveiled on Friday 6 December 1918 with the Mayoress (Mrs. R H. Smith) performing the ceremony. Speakers included Mr. J. Gunn, M.P. (leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party), the Hon. J. Jelley (deputy leader), members for the district, and members of the committee.

In unveiling the monument the Mayoress said: "It's with feelings of sincerest pleasure that I accede to your request to perform the unveiling ceremony of this beautiful memorial, erected as a tribute of respect to the memory of those who devoted so much of their lives to the cause of Labor and the uplifting of humanity, who have joined the majority. I heartily congratulate all those responsible for having had placed in position in our City such a decided ornament, and the drinking fountains attached to it".

The completed Workers' Memorial

In September 1921 a great gathering of Port Adelaide citizens witnessed the unveiling of the completed Workers' Memorial. Mr. and Mrs. B. Winter provided the funds necessary to complete the white marble statue of Justice, bringing the monument up to a height of 18ft.

Members of the State and Federal Parliaments, the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Port Adelaide occupied a large platform erected on the police-station corner. With thoughtful kindness, the Mayor Mr. J Anderson called at Mr. Scholz's Hospital, for the ex-Mayor Mr. R H Smith, one of the primary instigators of the memorial, who had been confined to bed for nearly 18 months, and motored him down so that be might have the pleasure of seeing the memorial completed.

At the request of the committee, Mr. Frank Condon, the secretary, presided and the Largs Orphanage Girls' Brass Band played selections to the delight of all who heard them.

"This memorial is unique, as it honoured people who had worked unceasingly in an everyday way, sacrificing much that their fellows might enjoy a little more of the better things of life".
"The statue should inspire the younger generation to go on and try to make the conditions of life better, as those pioneers whose names were inscribed on the monument had done for them".
"These workers has blazed the track by achieving the eight hours working day and many of the other conditions of labor which workers today enjoy, they should read the history of what these pioneers went through. Characteristic of their work was the fact that they always relied on an appeal to reason feeling sure that the case and their cause was just and right". (Mr B Winter 1921)

Mr. Winter asked the Mayor, Mr. J Anderson, to accept the monument on behalf of the citizens and Mr. Anderson, cordially did so stating

"The statue typified and symbolized all that was good and indelible in human life and that the aims and objects of the memorial was to enable those who come after to life richer and fuller lives".

Further names added

N.B. Some dates are very uncertain, and are estimated from their position on the memorial (August 2015).

Date Nominated by Nominees
1918-21 A. Easter, C.E. Gilchrist, Mrs. M. Moroney
1921 F.A. Bernaud, L.C. Carson, H. Tompkins
1923 R H Smith, J. Lynch, (W. Smith?)
1923-1939? T. Dixon
February 1929 Working Men’s Association William Thomas
February 1929 Government General Workers Harry Mills
July 1929 Port Adelaide Trade and Labour Council The Hon. John Carr, C.G. Hurn, M.B. Overgaard
1930-65 D. Lloyd, H. Cartwright
1932? E.J. Harrison
August 1934 Mrs. M.A. Gilchrist
August 1936 J. Leedham, P.J. Ryan
1936-43? T.C. Duffield
October 1938 United Trades and Labor Council J.D. Jonas, J.G. Johnston, and E. Jeffery
February 1939 Port Adelaide Trades and Labor Council I. MacGillivray, J. Thompson (J. Testi Snr?)
1940? G.M. Hunt
1940-50 J. Bennett
1941? F.A. Carr, T.W.F.J. Davies
1941-43? T. Arthur (d. 1936?)
1944/5 H.J. Cartwright, Mrs. A.L. Ivett
1950-75? Mrs M. Carr (d. 1938?), J. Derrick, T.R. Griffin
1951? T.H. Carmody, Hon. E.A. Oates MLC, (Mrs. E. Morrison?)
1952? J.S. Verran, (Mrs B. Todd?)
1954? F.F. Ward
1956? W.H. Gilbert
1957-60? J.E. Stephens
1961? Hon F.J. Condon CMG MLC
1964? H.L. Tapping MP (K.E.J. Bardolph MLC?)
1966? A.V. Thompson MHR
1971? L.W. Tulloch
1971-80? M.J. Kamprod
1975? L.H. Gilbert
1980 C.E. Munyard, (R.E. Hurst?)
1981-84 E.F.J. Callahan, A.A. Hoare (d. 1962?)
1985 Tramway Employees Association W. Randall Snr
1985 Seamens Union of Australia Mick Rooney
1987 Norman Makin MHR, Thomas Sheehy MHR, Anna Rennie
1992 Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Steve Pappas
1988 Bob Brewer, Mick Young MHR
1988 CFMEU Michele St Clair
1999 Ms Ruby Hammond
1999-2004? Jack Morton
2001 Don O'Dea, Jimmy Tuncks
2003 United Trades and Labor Council Jim Cavanagh, Jim Douglas
2004 United Trades and Labour Council Jim Mitchell
2005 Port Adelaide Federal Electorate Committee Paddy Lonergan
2006 SA Unions (formerly UTLC of SA) Ron Connolly, Ron Giffard
2006 Port Adelaide Federal Electoral Committee Jack Tapping
2007 Port Adelaide Federal Electoral Committee Bob Collins, Keith Le-Lieu, George Whitten
2010 SA Unions (formerly UTLC of SA) Eulalie Tapp
2011-12? Arthur Mortimer
2013 Rex Munn
2014 Dr. Alan Finger
2015 Sue Balde
2016 Josie Agius
2017 Ron Barklay
2018 Stana Jovanovic

Ceremony at Port Adelaide

At Port Adelaide a wreath was placed on the Workers' Memorial outside the police station by Mr. F. F. Ward, a former secretary of the State ALP for many years Mr. Ward said that he understood that the memorial was the only one of its kind In the world. Since last year the names of the late Mr. H J. Cartwright and the late Mrs. A L Ivett had been added to the memorial. Tuesday 9 October 1945

A central meeting place

The Workers' Memorial became a place to meet. In March 1924 the Royal Marine Band, drawn from the ships Delhi and Repulse, and under the baton of Bandmaster F. Rose, gave a concert at Port Adelaide at the Workers' Memorial corner. The band were welcomed by Alderman Tapp who wished their stay in South Australia to be a happy one,

Labour Day Processions

From October 1932 Port Adelaide recommenced celebrating Labor Day, the annual commemoration of the "Eight Hours” movement, with a Procession, the first in more than 20 years. After a wreath-laying service at the memorial, the procession of unionists watched by thousands who lined the route, left the Workers' Memorial at 10 a.m. for Alberton Oval where an extensive sports program for men, women, and children was held and trotting events conducted. In October 1933 the procession consisted of more than 3,000 unionists, 75 decorated vehicles and bicycles, and many trade and business displays. .

leaving workers' memorial, 10 a. m.
admission 6d: children, free
L. GEORGE. President.

"Justice and Her Scales on the Workers Memorial which stands outside the police station at Port Adelaide's busiest corner is a statue of Justice with her scales. But unfortunately for the tradition of impartially balanced justice represented by the symbol, half of the scales are missing. One of the trays and the chain by which it hung has disappeared. Perhaps some disgruntled party in a case in the Port Adelaide Court nearby thought that justice had lost its even balance, and decided to make a corresponding alteration to the figure." The Mail, Saturday 15 July 1933

In 1938 the procession included working exhibits by members of the Australian Government Workers' Association, who staged a waterworks scene, and the Harbors Board, who had a diver and pumps on a lorry. Mr. J. C. Manning's exhibit, which was awarded second prize in the advertising section, showed masons at work. A shack, built by the unemployed at Port Adelaide, was at the rear of the procession. Mr. Paul Rogers, 85, an old railway man, was in the middle of the procession in a self-propelling chair. The Labor Day committee laid a wreath on the Port Adelaide Workers' Memorial before the start of the procession.

On October 7 1940, the day included many of the State's best horses competing in Horses-In-Action events and trotting races. The funds raised were to support the Labor Day Patriotic Celebrations Committee's effort for the Port Cheer Up Hut, Comforts Fund and Red Cross Society. A dance and bridge party was held in the Port Adelaide Town Hall on Saturday night, and the combined funds will benefit by £25.

In 1968 the Memorial was moved 10 feet north, due to traffic conditions, and the contents of the sealed box were checked before being resealed.

As part of South Australia’s 150th Jubilee, Port Adelaide celebrated the 65th Anniversary of the Memorial on 21 September 1986. The LeFevre Peninsula Concert Party entertained at the memorial from 1.30 pm onwards.

The program included a procession which commenced at the Commercial Road Railway Station at 2.00 pm for the memorial site. The Procession included the Port City Band, the Clan Gordon Pipe Band, the Seafarers Marching Girls, a 1918 Vintage Dodge Tourer, and Tassones Pony and Cart.

Upon arriving at the memorial reenactments of the laying of the foundation stone on 8 November 1918 and the unveiling of the completed memorial on 16 September 1921 were conducted by Mr. Condon. Guests included His Worship the Mayor, Roy Marten, Alderman and Councilors of the Port Adelaide Corporation, Mick Young MHR, and descendants of the original 47 people whose names are inscribed on the Memorial, as well as those involved with the original unveiling ceremonies.

Since 1992

The wreath-laying ceremony, 6 May 2018.

Before 1992 names were added to the memorial as they were nominated and accepted at any time of the year. In the late 1980s there were grave concerns the memorial might be moved as the silent cop was, to provide more room for the ever increasing traffic. Mayor Robert Allen, members of the May Day Committee and Labor Day Committee (Luke Heffernan) sought to raise the profile of the memorial and ensure its existence in its current location into the future. From May Day 1992 when Steve Pappas’s name was added to the memorial, an annual celebration is conducted at the memorial to remember and commemorate the achievements of those whose names appear on the memorial. The celebration consists of a service at the memorial or in the Visitor Information Centre if the weather is not suitable followed by a morning tea provided by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield. This annual event has ensured the memorial is maintained and commemorated on a regular basis.

The present trustees of the memorial are the Port Adelaide Federal Electoral Committee, the UTLC of South Australia (SA Unions) and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

As of May 2018 there are 135 names inscribed on the Memorial.

Workers' Memorial
Names on the south face
The Memorial, from the south 
Names on the east face
Names on the east face 
Names on the north face
Names on the north face 
Names on  the west face
Names on the west face 


  • Ritter, Ronald C. (2005): Ch 15. The Workers' Memorial. In: Triumph, Tragedy and Port Adelaide. Published by the Author. ISBN 0 646 44644 4
  • TROVE: Port Adelaide memorial. Foundation Stone laid. The Register, Saturday 9 November 1918, page 8. (N.B. The Register article has several errors - there were 47 names originally inscribed, not just the 41 names given on the lists of union nominees; several names are also incorrect: S.G. Brodie should be S.J. Brodie; C. Dean should be G. Dean; T. Cooper should be T.H. Cooper; G. O'Connell should be G.J. Connell; G. Phillips should be E.R. Phillips.)

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