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2 April 1874 Strike at Moonta Mines

 2 April 1874   Strike at Moonta Mines

On 2 April 1874 Captain Henry Hancock at the Moonta Mines posted a notice which read, in part: 'The Directors resolve that all wages at Moonta Mines shall be reduced'. This drastic action was brought about through the downturn in the price of copper on world markets.

The notice led to the first serious industrial unrest since the strike of 1864. The miners decided to strike; meetings were held nearly every day and fully reported in the local press. The miners in Wallaroo also decided to strike and on 9 April a joint meeting was held at Bald Hill, about halfway between the two towns, complete with bands and suitable sustenance. A delegation was sent to Adelaide to confront the directors. As a result the directors relented and on 15 April advised the Mines office that they would continue to pay at the old rate for two months, after which, unless the market improved, a reduction would take place. The men returned to work on 21 April.

This action on the part of the miners led to the formation of the United Tradesmen's Society which later became the Labor League of South Australia.

Jim Faull, Cornish Heritage A Miner's Story,  1980, pp. 70-71.
Yorke Peninsula Advertiser, 10, 14, 17, 21 April 1874.

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