The University of Melbourne has launched a unique online resource to provide labour and trade union history scholars with a one-stop-shop to source material.

The site was offically launched by The Hon Justice Geoffrey M Giudice, President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 11 April, at a function attended by labour historians, trade union officials, archivists and academics at Melbourne University’s Jim Potter conference centre.

The Australian Trade Union Archives (ATUA) is an online gateway that links historical detail, archival resources, published material and current information about Australian industrial organisations, including trade unions, employer associations and their respective peak bodies. ATUA also includes selected events in the history of the Australian labour movement such as major strikes, lockouts and interstate congresses.

Funded by an ARC RIEF (Research Infrastructure: Equipment and Facilities) grant, ATUA was developed by the University of Melbourne Archives, the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, the Australian National University’s Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Monash University’s School of Information Management and Systems, and the University of Wollongong Archives.

“ATUA plugs a significant gap in the scholarly infrastructure relating to trade unions and similar studies such as economic and social history, workplace relations, industrial conflict and resolution and conciliation and arbitration,” says Project manager, Bruce Smith.

“Before ATUA there was no single access point from which researchers could discover which trade unions existed in Australia since the beginning of organised labour in the nineteenth century, nor one single resource that brings together all published and archival material about federally-registered trade unions and industrial bodies,” he says.

Swinburne University labour historian, Dr Peter Love, says “ATUA will deliver major productivity gains to labour historians. Researchers can now identify archival collections in Australian repositories and check related publications on their chosen topic. A whole research strategy can be planned at the desk.”

ATUA can be found at:

For more information:

Michael Piggott, University of Melbourne Archivist ph: 03 8344 6849 email: