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National Museum of Australia

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Award of Merit certificate issued by the Amalgamated Engineering Union

2006.0030.0012

Award of Merit certificate issued by the Amalgamated Engineering Union

Object information

Physical description

Blue, gold and red lithograph certificate, titled "AWARD OF MERIT" in red outside the border at the top. "AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING UNION / FIRST / SOCIETY ESTABLISHED 1824 / FIRST AMALGAMATION 1851: SECOND AMALGAMATION 1920. / Presented to Bro. G. J. Miller / of the KALGOORLIE Branch / by Special Resolution of EXECUTIVE COUNCIL / for Faithful Services in the Capacity of BRANCH SECRETARY AND VARIOUS BRANCH OFFICES / SHOP STEWARD / extending over a period of 38 years / Jack Tauner[?] President / Ben[?] Gardner Gen. Sec. / Still achieving still pursuing, / learn to labour and to wait.". There are photographic images in panels around the dedication. Starting in the top proper right corner and proceeding clockwise they are; Stephenson's famous steam locomotive 'Rocket'[?]; a battleship; a steam locomotive and tender; a vignette of a person [possibly Samuel Crompton or Richard Trevithick]; an unidentified type of machine; Tower Bridge, London; a beam engine; and a vignette of James Watt[?]. Above the vignette of Watt is a small medallion that contains a set of outside calipers and a compass, and below is a protractor/triangular square. The medallion above the other vignette contains a hammer and cold chisel, and the one below has an object that resembles the chuck on a lathe. There is a printed mock 'red wax' garter-styled seal of the "AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING UNION / EXECUTIVE COUNCIL" outside the border at the bottom.

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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