Activity Held to Commemorate the Dalfram Dispute
    2014-02-13 23:16:24       Web Editor: Luo Dan


It has been 75 years since the men at Port Kembla in Wollongong Australia were forced to load the Dalfram or face starvation. These men and their families were out of work for 10 weeks to protest the loading of war materials for Japan, which was invading China during that period.

The local labor union has just held activities to commemorate the Dalfram Dispute. Our Australia correspondent Wang Xiao has more.

The South Coast Labor Union held a ceremony for the launch of a booklet titled "Against Fascism and War ĘC Pig Iron Bob and the Dalfram Dispute at Port Kembla" to commemorate the event.

Michael Donaldson, one of the authors of the booklet, explained that he and his partner assembled many historical documents to finish this booklet. He said the booklet tells the story of how the Australian people cared about the Chinese who were suffering from Japanese Fascism thousands of miles away.

"The horrible things Chinese people were suffering at that period are unspeakable. That's why the waterside workers took action and support the Chinese people."

93-year-old Arthur Chang is one of the last people living who witnessed the event.

"The man that supported this movement in Port Kembla was Fred Wang. He was my friend and my teacher. And he came down truckload of fruit and vegetables from the city market that the Chinese donated to him and ask him to load everyday he would come down to port kembla. What a great man he was!"

Arthur was 17 years old when the dispute occurred. He was an apprentice at a Chinese store in Sydney.

In January 1939, Robert Menzies, an Attorney-General of Australia and Prime Minister afterwards, came to Wollongong to sort out the dispute. He met with an angry crowd of over 1-thousand demanding "No pig iron for Japan". A woman in the crowd first called Menzies "Pig Iron Bob", a name that stuck even after he had ceased to be Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister.

The nickname of the former Prime Minister is also the name of the documentary made by Sandra Pires.

"There were a couple of people that said to us to look at the story and to try to tell it. We started to research it. We just found that it was an amazing story. The courage of that community to stay out of work for 10 weeks over something they believed in was an amazing story. That's something we know that we can do again if we believe that something is not right."

At last, the local labor union made an agreement with Robert Menzies for the wharfies to load 10 thousand tons of pig iron on Dalfram, which was less than one-thirtieth of the original contract. In return, the Australian government assured that no more pig iron would be shipped to Japan.

The Wharfies' victory not only supported the Chinese against Japan, but also made the Australian government make a stand against the anti-fascism war.

"We need to remember the history of Japanese imperialist aggression. 35 million Chinese people were killed by Japanese Army during that 8-year war. We also need to remember the affection and support of Australian people of the day. Today we need to cooperate with Australian people to stop the reviving of militarism and prevent the war which will devastate the people's lives."

He called for the people of Australia and China to join hands and maintain regional peace and stability, which has not come easily.

For CRI, I'm Wang Xiao in Australia.


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