On November 15, 1938 the steamship Dalfram berthed at No. 4 jetty Port Kembla to load pig iron for Kobe, Japan. Ted Roach, Branch Secretary, addressed the men at the labour pick up for the Dalfram. He told the men of the destination of the pig iron and the use of the pig iron in the use of weapons – first to be used against the Chinese and he feared that eventually against Australia.
At 11am the men walked off the ship declaring they refused to load pig iron for Japan to turn into weapons. It led to a nine week lock-out, with incredible pressure and being applied by the government of the day.
On the 11th of January 1939, Robert Menzies came to Wollongong to sort out the dispute. He met with an angry crowd where the main picture of this website was taken and a lady screamed out “Pig Iron Bob”, which lasted him an eternity.
“It was known as the Dalfram Dispute, and it was about a time with Menzies was Attorney General, as well as Minister for Trade and we were still trading with Japan,” said Sandra Pires from Why Documentaries, “200 men supported by their families, decided they would not load the pig iron to be used in Japan’s move south, in their invasion of the capital of China, Nanking – they would not load that ship with iron that would be turned into bullets and bombs.”
Why Documentaries are calling on extras to be part of a re-enactment on November 15th at Port Kembla as well as further funding for the completion of the documentary. Find out more at the Why Documentaries website.
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