Song of The Strike of 1917

Tramp, tramp, tramp! Can't you hear the marching feet,
As the sturdy sons of labor come swinging down the street?
With manly step and bearing, and faces shining bright,
They have taken up the gauntlet in the battle for the right.

In the van are labor's heroes who've fought and shed their blood
To save our daunted freedom being trampled in the mud.
They can hear their comrades calling, from far across the sea,
As we fight in France for freedom, fight to keep our homeland free.

We have fought the German Tyrant, and have written Austral's name
In imperishable letters, high upon the scroll of fame;
But our blood was spilt for nothing and our sacrifice were in vain
If our own dear Australia is bound by Serfdom's chain.

So Courage comrades Courage, stand together, one and all,
For united we shall conquer, but divided we shall fail.
And with grim determination see that freedom's flag still waves
For the true sons of Australia, never never, shall be slaves.


The 1917 Railway Strike

The largest industrial strike in Australia’s history was underway in 1917. The strike was to leave much bitterness generally, and a bit of a cloud over the railway industry for over fifty years. After its defeat it was to alter the careers of many of its participants, sometimes in unforeseen ways.

"I should not be a Member of this Parliament today if some tolerance had been extended to the men who took part in the strike of 1917. All that harsh and oppressive treatment did as far as I was concerned was to transform me, with the assistance of my colleagues, from an ordinary engine driver into the Prime Minister of this country". - Ben Chifley, son of a blacksmith, railway engine driver, elected to Federal Parliament in 1928, Prime Minister of Australia from 1946 to 1949

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