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Federated Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Association of Australasia, South Australian Branch certificate of merit


Federated Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Association of Australasia, South Australian Branch certificate of merit

Object information

Physical description

Unissued, cream and blue lithoprint, trade union certificate of merit. "FEDERATED / ENGINE DRIVERS' AND FIREMEN'S / ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALASIA / SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BRANCH" is on a pediment supported by classical columns. Below that, an engine driver is shaking hands with a fireman, superimposed on the outline of Australia. "Certificate of Merit. / Presented to... / of... Branch / For Services rendered / to this Association / from... / to.." is on the dedication panel. A vignette near the bottom of the proper right side depicts a man using a windlass to raise a bucket from a mine shaft or well, and it is titled "PRIMITIVE". It is juxtaposed with a vignette of a ship's[?] large steam engine, which is titled "PROGRESSIVE". A shield on the proper right side column bears the slogan "UNITY / IS / STRENGTH" and the one on the left "EACH FOR / ALL / & / ALL FOR / EACH". A handshake is depicted on the base of both columns. A small panel in the middle of the certificate between the base of the columns is decorated with a small pile of the trade's tools, including; a coal shovel, a fire poker, an adjustable 'monkey' wrench, and an open-ended spanner.

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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