30 January 2012 is the centenary of a general strike in Queensland which began with a Tramways Union dispute about the right to wear union badges and escalated quickly until at its peak up to 25,000 demonstrators and 50,000 supporters were involved. This was at a time when the total population of Queensland was little over 636,000.
A General Strike Photograph Album held by the John Oxley Library has compelling images of the strikers and their supporters.
Black Friday Baton Charge
2 February 1912 became known as “Black Friday” or “Baton Friday” after mounted police baton charged a crowd of men, women and children and then chased them along George Street, Turbot Street and North Quay. Many people were seriously injured.
This cartoon by Jim Chase became one of the best known illustrations of “Black Friday”.
“Unprecedented Scene: police act firmly, determined baton charges” as reported by the conservative Brisbane Courier, 3 February 1912
“Black Friday’s Police Riots: what indignant citizens think” A different viewpoint from The Worker, 17 February 1912
The big strikes, Queensland 1889-1965 [PDF ] (St Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 1983) p. 117-131
Joan Bruce, Queensland Literature Coordinator – State Library of Queensland