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Amalgamated House & Ship Painters, Paperhangers & Decorators Employees Association (NSW)


Amalgamated House & Ship Painters, Paperhangers & Decorators Employees Association (NSW)

Object information

Physical description

Pale green and brown lithograph certificate of life membership. Printed on a panel in the middle that is designed to look like a piece of parchment is; "THE AMALGAMATED HOUSE & SHIP PAINTERS / PAPERHANGERS & DECORATORS EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION / OF NEW SOUTH WALES / FOUNDED AT SYDNEY APRIL 21, 1874. / Certificate of Life Membership / THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT J. Buckley / IS A LIFE MEMBER OF THIS UNION HAVING / FIRST JOINED A PAINTERS UNION / VIZ Sydney Union IN 1885 / AND HAS THEREFORE BY STAUNCH AND / CONTINUED UNIONISM RICHLY EARNED / THIS CERTIFICATE". Two medallions embellished with Waratah blossoms are supported on stems from the top corners of the parchment. The one on the proper right side is titled "UNITY" and it contains an illustration of a bound bundle of sticks beside a single broken stick. This is an allegory of an Aesopian fable, with the implicit message being 'Union is Strength'. The medallion on the proper left is titled "BROTHERHOOD" and it depicts a handshake. Between the medallions, and heading the parchment, is a coat-of-arms flanked on both sides by a leopard[?] that is wearing a crown and a chained collar. The arms bear the motto "AMOR ET / OBEDIENTIA". There is a kangaroo on the proper right side. A standing female figure with a six-pointed star on her head who is holding out Laurel wreaths, with an emu in the background, is on the proper left side. At the bottom there are two decorative panels. One contains a tableau composed of a pair of downward facing scissors, an assortment of paint brushes, a spatula, and a broom, and the opposite one contains a conventional artist's palette with a spray of fine brushes.

Statement of significance

The Andrew Reeves collection consists of twenty-three trade union certificates used in Australia from 1860-1970. They are generally in good condition considering their age, use and material (paper based). They cover a range of Australian worker's unions, including a number which either were amalgamated into larger unions or ceased to exist.

The period between the 1850s and the 1970s spans a key time in the development, working condition gains and various ebbs and flow of Australian trade unions. Certificates in this collection document achievements including the eight hour work day but also allow reflection on the dwindling support for unions during the 20th century. In addition, as the designs of Australian certificates follow the centuries old British tradition of union emblems they provide examples of links between worker's organisations in Australia and England.

Object information

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