HistoryAtWork has spent over twenty years working with communities, places and collections. Please explore our projects below to read about this work, and feel free to contact us if you would like to know more.
Turning a 'friendly society' into a union - the VTU
Do you recognise the place or the era from the photograph below? This was the massive teachers Stop Work meeting at Olympic Park in 1979 to oppose Limited Tenure Employment. It was also one of the early defining events of an era in which the Victorian Teachers’ Union was remade, and which HistoryAtWork’s latest publication is all about.
The Victorian Teachers’ Union era of reform tells the history of the former Victorian Teachers Union from 1970 to 1995. These were exhilarating years when a conservative, heavily sectionalized organization was transformed into an efficient, politically astute union. In 1995, after two mergers, it became part of the Australian Education Union Vic Branch and a new era of teacher unionism began.
With roots in the mid-1880s, the VTU was formed in 1926 for all teachers in Victoria but by the mid-1970s was the sole representative for Victorian primary school teachers. Swept up in the spirit of social changes that characterised that decade, the VTU’s activism brought with it many significant and lasting impacts. Successful campaigning, advocacy and community building resulted in improved staffing and working conditions, the integration of special needs students into public schools, the implementation of a four-term teaching year, and much more besides.