South Australian Branch

Horse drawn wagon and men with  banner taking part in eight hour day procession

The South Australian Branch of the Labour History Society was formed in 1987 and continues to prosper and grow. Membership is open to all those interested in the history of working life, labour movements and traditions, and social history.

Members meet bi-monthly. Gatherings focus on guest speakers and the exploration of a wide range of topics, rather than administration. The Annual General Meeting elects an Executive for the day-to-day running of the Branch. Other special events can include dinners and activities in South Australia’s annual History Festival.

We participate in the biennial national Labour History conference, with members attending and some presenting papers. Each year we produce several newsletters and welcome contributions and ideas from members.

The South Australian Branch is registered under the Associations Incorporations Act (SA). A copy of the Constitution can be found at the bottom of this page.

Doug Melvin, President

Doug's involvement in the Labour movement started as an 18 year old union delegate with the London Central Branch of the GPO telecommunications union. After emigrating to Australia in late 1969 he very soon got involved with the Victorian labour movement and moving to SA in 1976 continued his engagement with the labour movement and in 1980 became secretary of the SE Trades and Labour Council based in Mt Gambier. In 1983 Doug was invited to join the staff of SA Minister of Labor Jack Wright, he continued in this role serving with Frank Belvins and Bob Gregory. In 1995 he took up the position of Director of International Industrial Relations with the former Federal Department of Industrial Relations. Doug returned to SA in 2016 after working for AusAid for 15 years in Canberra and soon again involved with the SA Labour movement join the Labour History Society later that year.

Handsome Gent Looks Perplexed


Dr David Faber, Vice President


Dr David Faber is a Marxist labour historian interested in the local, national and international dimensions of the political culture and traditions of the labour movement. David was led to Italy and a love of the Italian language, through his research on Italian Australian migrant worker, Francesco Fantin, noted for his political activism and assassination at Loveday Internment Camp in South Australia in 1942.  David is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Education of the Flinders University of South Australia.





Sue Marks, Secretary



Sue has a long union history working as an organiser for the ASU, Actors Equity and the Australian Nursing Federation.

She was the first woman President of the ASU. Sue has an on-going passion for labour history and its importance and values.






Kevin Kaeding, Treasurer


Kevin is the President of the South Australian Federation of Residents and Ratepayers Associations. He works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Kevin has been a long term Treasurer of the Adelaide Branch of the Labour History Society.





Ken Bridge

               Ken has been a labor activist and labour educationist for many years. During the 1980s he taught part-time in the new Labour Studies Diploma study program around work, unions and the economy at     Adelaide CAE and  taught union history, covering the classic dramas of the Australian labour movement such as the Eight Hour day, the Great Strikes of the 1890s, the Basic Wage Case, and the 1949 Coal Strike. Ken will bring this passion for Labour History into his role as a new member of the Executive Committee.

Ralph Clarke


Ralph was the Secretary of the Federated Clerks Union before moving into politics where he represented the seat of Ross Smith for the ALP in South Australia.  He was elected to the position of Deputy Leader.  He was elected to the Adelaide City Council and now runs his own industrial relations consultancy business.





Allison Murchie


Allison was a career public servant with a life-long commitment to trade unions and to the women’s movement. She is a passionate oral historian who records the life stories of the working class and activists.





South Australian Branch Constitution

Constitution 20 August 2017

Constitution 9 March 1998




Minutes of Executive Meetings & AGMs


A selection of President’s Reports, submissions, talks by guest speakers and papers presented at conferences