What does the birth of the Labor Party look like when framed by its theory of democracy? It was a contentious and prolonged process, in which the trade unions were reluctant players, not the progressive forces of party myth. Labour intellectual, William Astley, wrote stories of the convict era for The Bulletin under the name of Price Warung. This paper discovers his contribution to the idea that Labor should be a movement-based democracy. It was published in Bradley Bowden and John Kellett (eds), Transforming Labour, Brisbane Labour History Association, 2003, pp 177-83


Labor: a party of a new type

The Labor Party has been famously described as the product of the trade unions transferring their industrial power into the political arena.1 While true as a way of specifying the institutional base of the party and hence an important element in its electorate, this formula obscures the contentious birth of the new party, its subversive idea of representation, and the part played by labour intellectuals in articulating and organising support for what Gordon Childe described as Labor’s ‘new theory of democracy’.2

The labour theory of democracy was overlooked until recently. In the scholarship on the emergence of the party system, the emphasis was on the parallel development of the forms of party organisation by both non-Labor and Labor parties.3 In accounts of Labor as a party representing a legitimate interest in a liberal democratic polity the novelty of Labor’s approach to democracy was necessarily suppressed.4 In general, studies of ‘the making of the Labor party’, a foundational theme in Australian labour history, told us much about the role of liberalism, socialism, populism and labourism, as derivatives or correlates of social situations, but they did not see that the production of knowledge, and hence of a theory of labour democracy, could be part of Labor’s situation.5 This theoretical insight emerged from the study of labour intellectuals in recent years.6 In particular, there was a re-evaluation of Gordon Childe’s contribution to labour history, and of his argument that Labor had its own understanding of democracy.7

In the 1890s conservatives refused to equate the parties, understanding that Labor’s connection with a movement and the solidarity it required of Labor politicians, was, as the Sydney Morning Herald put it, ‘opposed to the principles of sound Parliamentary government’.8 In other words, Labor was not behaving like a legitimate interest should. For their part, the founders of the Labor party also understood that they were breaking the mould. One of the few trade union leaders to make the transition from the old to the new understanding of politics in the movement, J.C. Watson, who was chairman of the party, made a typical statement in 1894: ‘The [party] insists that members of the labour party shall be elected primarily as labour representatives and secondly as representatives of a particular district.’9

The story of the conflict in the movement that gave rise to this idea of representation has been told before10, but it is worth emphasising that it was a struggle. The trade unions in New South Wales had to be dragged against their will into forming the Party, and the story was different in Queensland only because of the dominance of the labour intellectual, William Lane, and other socialists.11 Then followed the rearguard struggle in New South Wales by the parliamentarians against party authority. It took three splits in the parliamentary party and four conferences over three years (1891-94) to establish the principle that the movement, through the pledge, caucus solidarity, and the decisions of annual conference, should control the politicians. Those who fought to assert the power of the outside organisation over the caucus were less aligned with trade unionism than with the intellectual field – men like W.A. Holman, W.M. Hughes, and William Astley.

Price Warung’

William Astley is remembered today as the author Price Warung, who published fictionalised accounts of convict life in Australia, in the 1890s. Two of the books that made his name were Tales of the Convict System and Tales of the Isle of Death (Norfolk Island).12 With their sensational climaxes and vivid descriptions, Price Warung’s stories have always been popular with readers who thought of convicts as victims of social injustice, brutalised and exploited by ‘the system’. So scathing of ruling, especially British, circles were Warung’s stories that a British publisher at the time rejected them and as late as the Second World War the Commonwealth Literary Fund refused to subsidise a selection of the stories lest the enemy use them as propaganda against us.13 Among radical nationalists, on the other hand, Warung has a more positive reputation. Nettie Palmer wrote sympathetically about him from the 1920s, while Vance Palmer, using Nettie’s research, enshrined him as one of the legends of the nineties.14 In 1960, labour historian Ian Turner edited a selection of Warung’s stories for a left-wing publisher in Sydney.15

There was a time, however, when Price Warung was remembered as the labour intellectual William Astley. He was born in Liverpool, England, in 1855, the son of a watchmaker who took his family to the gold fields when William was four years old. He grew up in Richmond, the suburb of Melbourne, and began his career as a journalist in 1875. For the next sixteen years he was rarely in one town more than two years, working in Richmond, Echuca, Casterton, Nhill, Warrnambool, Bathurst, Tumut as well as Melbourne and Sydney, where he arrived for the second time in March 1891, just as the Maritime Strike expired.16

As an experienced journalist already known for his republicanism, he was naturally drawn to The Bulletin, where he was to publish about 80 of his tales over the next 2 years. At the same time he found a congenial setting for his democratic ideas in the radical intelligentsia that was being shaped in the process of transferring its intellectual resources to the unions as they took the final steps to form a political movement after the strike. He was one of the first members of the West Sydney Labor Electoral League, and helped to organise the campaign for labour candidates in several constituencies in the elections of 1891, where Labor made such a startling debut. He lectured to the Australian Socialist League and the Australasian Secular Association, and in 1893 became the editor of the weekly Australian Workman. In that year he began a vigorous campaign in working-class suburbs to raise funds for Australia’s first labour daily – the short-lived Daily Post. George Beeby first heard Astley speak at one of these meetings:

That fellow fascinated me when I was a youth, just come to Sydney. I didn’t know anything about him as a writer – probably he had not written any of his convict stories then – but he used to appear at political meetings as if he’d stepped down from some other world and was ready to give us the benefit of his wisdom. Well-dressed. Good looking, and in some queer way “distinguished”. Yet no suggestion of the charlatan about him. I used to follow him about: I’d never met a man who filled me with such admiration and positive awe. I suppose it was a matter of personality. There were those eyes of his, at once fierce and saturnine. Fred Broomfield said he looked like the confidential agent of a mysterious and hidden power. That was right. He used to urge us to organize, organize…17

That ‘mysterious and hidden power’ was in fact the force that social movement scholars have recently begun to analyse, the force that Sidney Tarrow has called ‘power in movement’.18 Tarrow’s phrase also defines the idea that Astley and other labour intellectuals would work with when proposing that Labor should be a movement-based democracy.

William Astley’s use of the past

Beeby said something else of significance about Astley: he wanted to give the young democrats ‘the benefit of his wisdom’. But, what could the writer of convict tales have to say that was so important that it seemed as if it came ‘from another world’? To answer this question we need to understand what Astley intended by his fictionalised versions of Australia’s past.

It has long been recognised that for almost 20 years before his first convict tale appeared Astley sought out people who had personal or family experience of the penal system – on both sides of the lash, and that he undertook extensive research before he wrote these tales.19 What has not been recognised is that his project was wider than the convict days. In a letter to Henry Parkes, who complained that he got no enjoyment out of reading about convicts, Astley defended himself. He aimed ‘to cover with successive series of stories the whole field of Australasian life – political, mining, pastoral, etc. How could I then eliminate from my scheme the nature of [the convict] system…?’20 Moreover, this was not just a commercial project. When Astley applied in 1892 for the position of editor of the Historical Records of New South Wales it was clear that he had constructed his identity around the role of historian. He claimed that his aim in life had been ‘to qualify himself for the position of Historiographer of the Australian Colonies.’ He produced an impressive application, attaching examples of his indexes to the thousands of books, pamphlets and newspapers that he had collected or consulted. Moreover he made the claim that his stories were a form of historical writing – ‘historical narratives’ he called them.21

In fact, Astley had a very sophisticated understanding of how the past could be used by both the ruling class and its democratic opponents. In his application to become official historian of the colony he avoided the term ‘convict system’, referring instead to the importance of accuracy in historical work, given ‘the delicate questions’ raised by Australia’s early history.22 But in his reply to Parkes, Astley, now on his democratic high-horse, asserted that it was his duty not simply to deal with the penal system but to preserve its ‘spirit’ in his fiction. His stories of injustice, arbitrary power, and secret resistance in the convict period made plain what he meant by this ‘spirit’. Moreover, its influence was still present:

The Transportation System has knitted itself into the fibres of our national being…No man can put his finger on the date when it ended, for the reason that it glided imperceptibly into the vigorous and splendid, if still imperfect, present.23

The idea that historical episodes could be defined by their spirit was one that he returned to. Australia, he said, was a country ‘governed by the instincts of democracy’. Not yet fully democratic; only governed by the instincts of democracy. But even before the triumph of the people, between Australia and the mother-country, governed by caste and class, there could be no equality.

‘Faulty though our democratic institutions may be, they still own the one great virtue that the people rule themselves, and are not ruled by class or classes.’24

In a manuscript fragment headed ‘Australian History’ Astley clarified this. Australian history, he said, was not simply about ‘incidents of romance and adventure, but also of vitally enduring issues of political development.’

Posing a question that Donald Horne would make the basis of his 1964 book The Lucky Country, Astley asked why problems that in old-world countries had produced revolution were being peacefully solved in Australia, despite the fact that Australia’s rulers were so mediocre, compared to the old world whose countries ‘are ruled by statesmen of wider knowledge and more consummate skill than we own’? The answer could only be found in the study of Australia’s unique history – ‘our peculiar types of industrial and social organisations’. He had in mind, of course, the rapid growth of trade unionism and the dramatic break through of the Labor party.25

The ‘spirit’ of the convict system, the ‘instinct’ of democracy, the ‘peculiar’ social and industrial institutions that allowed Australia to avoid revolution: it is clear that Astley was constructing a particular view of Australian history. He did this not because he was a professional historian (his application to edit the Historical Records of New South Wales was unsuccessful) but because he was a member of a movement. Astley was no empiricist historian. He was trying to make the past serve his cause, the transformation of trade union struggles into a movement-controlled Labor party. Every movement seeks a usable past. For the emerging labour movement in Australia Astley developed a narrative of injustice and democratic resistance, a counter narrative of the past that would inspire current struggles and point the movement towards the future.

Astley on ‘power in movement’

While he was constructing his narrative of Australia’s past, Astley continued to write about the political present. Besides a regular output of articles for the labour press and other periodicals including the Bulletin, the Bathurst Free Press, and John Norton’s Truth, he wrote three works that were important interventions in the struggle to make the Labor party a movement-based democracy between 1891 and 1894. The first, the pamphlet, ‘Distrust the Politicians – A Letter to the Wage-Earners of New South Wales’ has not been found in a printed form, but in his papers there are three drafts: a hand-written copy, a typed copy, and a final typed copy marked up for printing.26 So, we can be sure that Astley thought carefully about its contents. Internal evidence suggests it was written after June 1892. The second intervention was an incomplete novel, The Strike of ’95, which appeared in early 1893 while he was editing The Australian Workman, which made it the first novel about the Australian labour movement published in the labour press. There were 10 episodes of this novel, but such is the state of the Australian Workman collection that only four remain. We can, however, get an idea of the plot from the synopses Astley provided before two of the episodes and a projection in the last episode of how he intended to finish the novel. Third, there was the pamphlet, Labor in Politics: The Conference of November 1893 – A Criticism and an Appeal, based on his articles in The Australian Workman in November and December 1893. It was published, the text suggests, to assist Labor in the elections of July 1894.27

‘Distrust the Politicians’, written after a year of Labor party representation in the New South Wales Parliament, is a scathing attack on parliamentarism and the first Labor politicians, three of whom (George Black, John Fitzgerald, and Francis Cotton) came in for extended and blistering denunciation. But it was not just the flawed character of Labor’s representatives that was the problem. Parliament, Astley said, only seems the best avenue to redress social wrongs. In practice, ‘no parliamentary vote will break the economic power of capitalists.’ But Astley’s main concern was that ‘the wage-earners of new South Wales’ had lost their way:

At the time of the Strike you had dimly discerned that reforms must spring from yourselves, not from outside and above. At the time of the General Election you forgot that much – you pinned your faith once more to Parliamentary representatives – and you were once more deceived.

This message was reinforced by Astley’s account of his own politics. He was ‘a socialist of the William Morris school because I am a democrat and an economist’. Socialism, he went on, ‘promises the realisation of the true democratic and economic ideal, which is not “Government of the people, for the people, and by the people” … but the absence of all government.’ Hence, another ground for scorning the Labor parliamentarians, who ‘work for the substitution of State slavery for wage slavery’.

Astley proposed an alternative, and it is this rather than his second- hand (and changeable) ideas about anti-state socialism that makes the pamphlet part of the process of inventing the Labor Party. Just as he had castigated the wage-earners for forgetting that during the strike they had taken the process of reform into their own hands, he concluded by exhorting them to reclaim that process:

Who, then are you to trust? The answer is simple: YOURSELVES. Look to yourselves, to your own manhood … Define to yourselves what is involved in the term manhood, what is meant by manliness, what is intended by Justice, what is implied by Democracy.

But, he told them also, do not be vengeful. Society relies on co-operation, so your class enemies must be treated fairly during the long period before socialism was attained. An earlier passing reference to ‘the reconstruction of society through bloody means’ was just for show. And fairness apparently did not extend to women in his masculinist utopia. His headline message was that the transition to socialism would be a gradual process of moral regeneration over ‘many generations’, in which the movement would enable individual (male) empowerment (he called it 'flowering’) as well as the abolition of government.

Although Astley in this pamphlet provided a moral dimension to the idea of movement action, his alternative was clearly unsatisfactory as a guide to ‘what is to be done’. The subtitle, A Story of The Passing Time, to his novel, The Strike of ’95, certainly confirms that Astley was thinking about the transition to socialism. In the novel he took up the problem of understanding ‘power in movement’ by focusing on the question of leadership. Its main characters are a leading capitalist, a leading democrat, and the capitalist’s clerk, who is also a democrat.28 All of them are described, incidentally, as intellectuals. The capitalist, Dutton, is ‘the head of the intellectual plutocracy (as distinguished from the plutes who are merely vomiters of money)'; Hughes, the leading democrat, is a worker who ‘has recognised the demands of the intellect and the soul’; and the hero of the story, the clerk Warner, like Astley himself, writes in his spare time for the press, including The Bulletin (called The Blisterer in the novel).

The plot is based around the capitalist’s plan to preserve his landed property in the face of an expected revelation that in the convict period the lands of the colony were illegally appropriated by a small clique who were thereby enriched at the expense of their fellow colonists. (Here Astley was able to draw on his historical research.) Dutton, the intellectual capitalist, realises he will have to defend the system of ownership in order to protect his own property, for the democratic movement is organising against the monopoly of land and wealth. He plans to subvert Warner, his democratic clerk, with money and the attentions of his attractive daughter, but he wants Warner to retain his democratic leanings. A dishonest democrat, Dutton believes, will cause dissension in the ranks of the democracy. Using Warner to argue for a compromise with the landowners will simply elicit more extreme demands, for example repudiation of a debt that might be claimed by the former landowners if the democracy triumphs and takes back the land. With the democracy divided, the present rulers will be safe.

What Dutton has not allowed for is that the democracy is organised and wisely led. The vehicle of this leadership is a secret society, with sections covering both manual and brain workers, called The League of the Emancipation. The clerk Warner is a member, and secretly conveys his employer’s strategy to the League. Two of the surviving episodes are devoted to describing the meeting at which this happens. The meeting room, disguised as the office of a business, is furnished with republican simplicity. The League’s chief, Hughes, is given heroic status by being likened to a Hercules or an Agamemnon. He lectures the delegates on the historic wrong of the iniquitous land-grab, but wisely counsels them to eschew the idea of repudiation, for

‘when the new generation of Australia had awoke to the fact that it was burdened by an enormous debt by which the nation had benefited little, whilst the first impulse would be towards repudiation the nobler determination would be to accept the financial obligation which it had inherited.’

Astley indicated that he intended to have ‘the two bodies of foes’ meet ‘in the electoral arena, and possibly in a bloodier field’. Warner, who had done the right thing by revealing Dutton’s plans to the League, would nonetheless become ‘confused in the tangled issues of life’ as he wrestled with the conflict between duty to his comrades and desire for Dutton’s daughter: ‘He became a pawn in Dutton’s game after all, and in so doing destroyed himself.’ Was there a warning here for those Labor politicians seduced by the comforts and privileges of parliamentary life? Dutton too ultimately ‘lost his game’. We are not told how, and that in itself is interesting. There is enough ambiguity and vagueness in Astley’s projected conclusion for the story to suggest that he had not decided. Perhaps he shied away from the obvious. Given the history of the nineteenth century Europe, what other outcome could there be in the struggle between a secret society of democrats and the plutocrats than revolution? Yet Astley shrank from violence, from vengefulness, from expropriation and repudiation. Meanwhile, as editor of The Australian Workman, he knew that the struggle to bring the politicians under the movement’s control was gaining momentum. If ‘power in movement’ could not be faced up to as the product of secret leadership, perhaps it could be understood as an organisational process, so that ‘the new Australia’ could be born in the polling booth rather than at the barricades?

Astley attended the crucial ‘unity conference’ of November 1893, where it was made clear by the labour intellectuals who ran the conference that the purpose of the pledge (which all Labor parliamentarians were required to sign) was to break the link between the Labor politician and his constituents.29 His pamphlet, Labor in Politics, is a defence of this position against those Labor members of parliament outside of caucus who rejected it, and a counter attack against the journalists of the capitalist press who, dismissing labour’s preoccupation with itself as a movement, concentrated on the vanity and selfishness of individual participants. Two of the themes of the earlier pamphlet and novel re-appear in this pamphlet. First, continuing his retreat from revolution Astley insisted that while ‘the rectification of abuses’ is labour’s aim it can only be achieved ‘by the self-restraint of the mass’.30 Second, he repeated his belief in the moral capacity of the labour movement. The conference ‘clearly expressed a moral craving’, as if its participants were saying, ‘We are in this movement for Right and not for Wrong’.31

In fact, scattered through the pamphlet are indications of the centrality of the idea of movement to Astley’s argument. As he concluded on the last page, the conference ‘has exalted the conception of the movement in many minds’. Foremost among its features was its ‘great educative potential’, so that Labor could train its own intellectuals without having to rely on ‘buying brains and culture and experience’, as Capitalism did. Moreover, the movement’s moral capacity, based in ‘the earnestness of the mass’, was guaranteed because the mass was ‘ever unbribable, and therefore it will ever remain whole-hearted and single-eyed.’ The idea of common needs justified this faith in the mass. As Astley explained it, ‘the expanding and progressive force in the movement originates in needs which throb in every pulse, and aspirations which stir the molecules of every brain.’ And the support of the mass, given spontaneously, to the labour movement, was the secret of movement power. Reaching for grandiloquence, Astley summed his faith in ‘the power of movement’:

‘Combine the fire of the earnest spirit, and an eager zest for instruction, with the indomitable resolution which will never rest content with less than Justice, and you equip an irresistible army.’

If the movement was an army then it was also an organised force, with appropriate procedures and principles. Astley was determined to make this point because it was an advance on his previous understanding of movement power as purely moral or conspiratorial.

He began by declaring that ‘the originating impulse of the movement’ was political. But if the movement was, as it were, genetically political then it was ‘inexact’ to speak of ‘Labor-in-politics’. Now his thinking was certainly moving into new territory. When the issue was how to represent labour as a movement in parliament it was apparent that what he called ‘the old system of representation’ had to be abandoned. He was proposing in fact a break with the English parliamentary tradition, that is, with the responsibility of the member to his constituents, and with the individualist right of the member to vote according to his conscience. Under that system of representation, ‘the people had disintegrated representation’. For proof one had only to consider the behaviour of labour’s representatives in the New South Wales parliament over the past few years. The incoherence and chaos among the workers’ representatives existed because they did not represent ‘the workers in the mass’.

‘The workers’ therefore needed a new system of representation, one that would satisfy “the democratic mind” by keeping ‘a tight hand upon [Labor’s] delegates in Parliament’: ‘The democratic tendency is to bring the elected and the electors into closer relation, and the “representative” must give place to the “delegate’ upon all vital issues.’

Hence the significance of the pledge that the conference had spent so much time debating. Astley knew that its opponents in the caucus called it coercive, but he firmly declared that they were out of step:

‘If, then, the men who have hitherto represented the workers of New South Wales in Parliament are not prepared to abandon the ancient representative theory in favor of an approximation to delegateship, which is the thing now possible, then their place, wherever it may be will certainly not be in the ranks of the labor movement.’

Relieved of the burden of such individualists, the movement could devote itself to improving its ‘machinery’. Astley warned of the dangers of ‘neglect of rational and well-considered procedure.’ He advocated a more powerful secretariat, equal representation of all sections of the movement in all committees, and revised rules of debate in the movement. Together with the supreme policy making role of annual conference, the pledge, and caucus discipline, these procedures would make a new generation of Labor parliamentarians the delegates of a movement.


Astley in these years worked through a number of ways to understand and harness the force of movement action, as moral regeneration, secret conspiracy, and organisational procedures. In fact, to widen our horizon, democracy as movement representation was just the most important of three doctrines that Astley and his fellow labour intellectuals were responsible for attaching to the Labor party in the 1890s. The others were support in return for concessions, and state socialism. Astley was well aware that it was people in his circle, journalists and politicians in the movement, Labor Electoral League activists rather than union leaders, who formulated and had to practice these doctrines. The new theory of democracy promoted the skills of representing and mediating between interests in the movement. Support in return for concessions relied on negotiating skills to deal with government and opposition in parliament. The framing of socialism as a project consonant with the feelings of individualistic Australians depended on a well-developed sense of ‘the public’ and the skill of publicity. These were skills that very few of the old trade union leaders were able to develop. In the process some leaders who spoke for labour in the past were sidelined, but a labour intelligentsia was created.32

In the only published article on Astley’s political writings, Barry Andrews concludes that his attachments to republican nationalism and the labour movement were ‘emotional rather than intellectual, utopian rather than practical’.33 There is some truth in this; emotional commitment is part of the experience of movement membership. Andrews argues that Astley’s emotionally clouded, sentimental idealism explains his contradictory attitudes.

His democratic and anti-imperial stance on federation in the 1880s changed to support for the federal compromise of 1898; ‘the permutations’ of his dealings with politicians in the 1890s were so complicated that Andrews calls them ‘hypocritical’.34 Astley was not, Andrews insists, a deep thinker.35

Yet despite its truth, Andrews’ argument misses two important points. First, inconsistency of ideas was less important than the counter narrative of the past that Astley brought to Labor. Second, that it was precisely the emotional charge in the work of Astley and others on behalf of a movement of workers that made the Labor party a new kind of party. Astley and other labour intellectuals between 1891 and 1894 invented the Labor party as a party of movement democracy. Certainly this required knowledge of political history, and political philosophy, but the critical addition was their insistence on the value of the experience of being swept up in a democratic movement. In the debates about the organisation of the Labor party in the early 1890s, Astley and others looked for ways to express ‘the power of movement’, a symbolic force that would unify the democracy and guarantee the success of the party.


1 D.W. Rawson, ‘The Life Span of Labour Parties’, Political Studies, vol. 17, 1969, p. 316

2 Vere Gordon Childe, How Labour Governs A Study of Workers Representation in Australia, London, Labour Publishing Company, 1923, p. 5

3 P. Loveday, A.W. Martin and P. Weller, ‘New South Wales’, in P. Loveday, A.W. Martin and R.S. Parker (eds) The Emergence of the Australian Party System, Sydney, Hale and Iremonger, 1977, pp178-202

4 Bede Nairn, Civilising Capitalism The Labor Movement in New South Wales 1870-1900, Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1973, p. 96, where the model is said to be based on trade union customs; G. Maddox, ‘The Australian Labor Party’ in G. Starr, K. Richmond and G. Maddox, Political Parties in Australia, Richmond, Vic., Heinemann, 1978, recognises the disciplining aspects of labour democracy, but in stressing Labor’s continuity with earlier colonial radicalism he diminishes its novelty.; see pp 190-215; Frank Bongiorno, The People’s Party Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition 1875-1914, Carlton, Vic., 1996, does not stress the novelty in his brief discussion pp. 96-7.

5 The classic study is Robin Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics A Study of Eastern Australia, Parkville, Vic., Melbourne University Press, 1960; also, Nairn, Civilising Capitalism, op.cit.; D.J. Murphy (ed.), Labor in Politics The State Labor Parties in Australia, 1880-1920, St Lucia, Qld, University of Queensland Press, 1975; J. Hagan and K. Turner, A History of the Labor Party in New South Wales, 1891-199, Melbourne, Longman Cheshire, 1991; Ray Markey, The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales, 1880-1900, Sydney, New South Wales University Press, 1988;

6 See Terry Irving and Sean Scalmer, ‘Australian Labour Intellectuals: an Introduction’ Labour History, 77, November 1999, pp. 1-10, and the four following articles. Also, Terry Irving and Sean Scalmer, ‘Labour Intellectuals in Australia: Modes, Traditions, Generations, Transformations’, paper delivered at the U.K. – Australian Labour History Conference, Manchester, U.K., 16-18 July 2003.

7 P. Gathercole, T.H. Irving and Gregory Melleuish (eds), Childe and Australia Archaeology, Politics and Ideas, St Lucia, Qld, University of Queensland Press, 1995; F. Bongiorno, ‘The origins of Caucus: 1856-1901’, in John Faulkner and Stuart macintyre (eds), True Believers The Story of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 2001, pp. 3-16.

8 Sydney Morning Herald, 13 November 1893

9 Sydney Morning Herald, 23 April 1894

10 Nairn, op.cit chs 6-8.; Markey, op.cit., chs 7-10; Loveday, Martin and Weller, op.cit.

11 As Don Rawson pointed out in ‘For Whom Were Labor Parties Founded?’, M. Easson (ed.) The Foundations of Labor, Sydney, Lloyd Ross Forum and Pluto Press, 1990, pp. 24-26

12 Astley’s fiction is placed in the context of his times in Barry Andrews, Price Warung (William Astley), Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1976. I have drawn on this book for details of Astley’s life. There are relatively small collections of Astley’s correspondence and manuscripts in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, at MSS 250, MSS 72, and Add. 669

13 Frederick T. Macartney, Proof Against Failure, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1967, p. 147

14 Vance Palmer, The Legend of the Nineties, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1954

15 Price Warung, Convict Days, with an introduction by Ian Turner, Sydney, Australasian Book Society, 1960

16 Andrews, Price Warung, op.cit., ch. 1

17 Nettie Palmer. Her private journal Fourteen Years’, poems, reviews and literary essays, edited by Vivian Smith, St Lucia, 1988, p. 98

18 Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998 (2nd edn)

19 Andrews, Price Warung, summarises the evidence pp 23-25

20 Astley to Parkes, 2 November 1892, Astley Papers, ML MSS 250

21 Astley to Colonial Treasurer, 31 October 1892, ibid.

22 ibid.

23 from the Preface to Tales of the Convict System, Sydney, The Bulletin Publishing Company, 1892, quoted in Barry Andrews, ‘ “Dynamite, Barricades, Brimstone”: Price Warung’s Political Themes’, Labour History, 22, May 1972, p. 2

24 Bathurst Times, 14 January 1888, quoted in Andrews, Price Warung, p.38

25 ‘Australian History’, a three page, hand-written manuscript, Astley Papers, ML MSS 250; Donald Horne, The Lucky Country Australia in the Sixties, Melbourne, Penguin Books, 1964

26 The copies of this pamphlet are in Astley Papers, ML MSS 250

27 There is a copy in the Mitchell Library, Sydney

28 The episodes that survive in The Australian Workman were printed in issues dated 4 March, 18 March, 15 April, and 29 April 1893.

29 L.F. Fitzhardinge, William Morris Hughes A Political Biography, vol 1., Sydney, Angus and Robertson, p. 42

30 Labor in Politics, p. 8

31 ibid., pp.1-2

32 Lloyd Ross called them the ‘Poets and Revolutionaries’, the title of the first chapter of his William Lane and the Australian Labor Movement, Sydney, 1935, ch 1; see also H.V. Evatt, Australian Labour Leader The Story of W.A..Holman and the Labour Movement, Sydney, 1945 (3rd edition), ch VII, ‘The Intellectuals’

33 Barry Andrews, “Dynamite, Barricades and Brimstone”, op.cit., p. 12

34 Andrews, op.cit., p. 10

35 Andrews, Price Warung, op.cit., p. 47