Monday, October 28, 2013

Allan Whittaker Memorial Commemoration

Update 3 November 2013
At sunset people gathered at Princes Pier to commemorate the life of Allan Whittaker, shot by police in the waterfront dispute in 1928. Kevin Bracken emphasised the importance of getting together to tell the stories of the place and the people that have shaped Port Melbourne. 
Former Supreme Court Judge Frank Vincent, who was born into a waterfront family in Port Melbourne in the thirties gave an impressive address - all without notes. Here is a brief excerpt from his speech (for more, click here)

 Frank Vincent, born in Port Melbourne
"But the remarkable thing about what occurred at that time, and which is not simply the story of one man, is that there was a bonding, a linkage between those people who remained with the Waterside Workers Federation in the very, very difficult period of almost twelve years that followed that particularly shooting.  Because quite a few defected. Quite a few left the industry entirely.
Those that remained, those that lived in this area of Port Melbourne, formed a very very powerful community and a community that had its effect right across our industrial scene for the many years that followed.
I don’t think anyone should underestimate the significance of the struggles which occurred at that time. The courage that it took for men and women to hold together when they could easily have joined a scab union and defected and given away their principles and given away their community.But they didn’t do that. And it took a very special kind of courage and it ought to be memorialised, it ought to be understood, we ought to be inordinately proud of it.
There are lots of things in our Australian history of which we should be massively ashamed - some of them are occurring at the present time - but this is certainly not one of them."

The Allan Whittaker Memorial Commemoration will be held at Princes Pier on Friday 1st November at 6.15 p m.
The commemoration will mark the 85th anniversary of the 1928 Dock Strike and fatal shooting by police of Allan Whittaker, a waterside worker and Gallipoli veteran.
The commemoration will feature talks as well as the sunset presentation of memorial items to commemorate Allan Whittaker, his fellow waterside workers and rich maritime industrial history.
(PMHPS warrants that this is a photograph taken of a notice about the Whittaker commemoration and is not contrived)


  1. There are some things that are uncanny. I am currently working on time coded summaries for the National Library of Australia. Among the recordings is an interview with Jack Marotte who was there when Allan Whittaker was shot. This recording will be available for listening online soon. I did a search on the name of Whittaker to check the spelling and found that only three days earlier there had been a commemoration to mark the 85th anniversary of his death. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Hi Joannie
    That is incredible! That is why local history is so interesting. Please let us know when that recording becomes available so we can let interested people know. If you leave an email address, I can send the full text of former Supreme Court Judge Frank Vincent's speech at the commemoration. Janet


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