People Power

I think it was the 1980’s (or perhaps 90’s) that the unions had a protest and sit in about something, in the ugly little park behind parliament house. I can’t remember what is was about, but it went on for some weeks. When it was over the unions declared triumphant victory, and to demonstrate their power, ta-da! We have the people’s wall. Yes that’s it, a couple of blocks of limestone and a driveway light. This perhaps explains why we all have AWA’s.


This is directly behind Parliament House. You can just see it in the background.

About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
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21 Responses to People Power

  1. The roundishness of the light sets off the squarishness of its support. Well thought out.
    Actually it was the 90’s under the third wave of IR reform by that bizarre politician Kieran.You youngsters have forgotten the sacrifices we made. (Including architecture).


  2. Cimbali says:

    I am always intrigued by the naming of walls for people. There is a wall outside the Supreme Court named after Sir Francis Burt. A friend of mine gave it a bit of a nudge one day while parking the Legal Aid van and was surprised to hear it fall bodily to the ground with a soft whoomph, thereby suggesting that Sir F was a little shaky on his pins.
    Is the design of the peoples wall suggesting that “the people” are all short and square with big white heads? I am sure that this does cover a great many of the people involved with the Unions but surely not all. Is there a bit of a crack showing round the back, coz that would be the clincher.


  3. elwrongo says:

    I believe the round part used to have the smiling likeness of Kevin Reynolds painted on it in low sheen acrylic but unfortunately it must have faded off in the sun. One for historical forensics.


  4. lazyaussie says:

    More like a wailing wall if so.


  5. elwrongo says:

    And there’s so much wailing to be done.


  6. Me aculpa : Keirath not Keiran under the interminable rain of Richard Court ( the dullard from Dullsville).


  7. lazyaussie says:

    Yes, yes, now I remember “The Third Wave” of industrial reform.


  8. bestie says:

    I understand that this site has been “heritage” listed!


  9. Learn some damn history before you start defaming such important historical sites. It was built by the hands of men and women of Western Australia fighting for the protection of their and your rights at work. Those people were protesting against laws that were so bad they don’t exist any more, which makes the memorial all the more important.


  10. lazyaussie says:

    Yes but look at the thing Matthew. It is more of an insult to those people than a memorial. At least they didn’t do something like this though.


  11. My Ning says:

    To Matt Keogh – the wrong memorial was left in place. If you recall those heady days of the late 1990s, the rally organisers had established a sand pit for the protesters’ kiddies to play in while their parents heaped abuse on Kierath, Court et al.

    In my view a childrens’ play pen would no doubt have been a far better tribute to the endeavours of those men and women than a structure which resembles nothing more than a minature brick shithouse.


  12. lisa says:

    Among many war-stories about the 3rd wave actions, the one that really that sticks in my mind is about a rockin’ caravan.

    There are plenty of exquisite memorials to the most ignominious defeats (think Gallipoli) so why not have a crummy pillar with a white blob on it to commemorate a nice victory, as Matt points out it was.


  13. lazyaussie says:

    Thanks L. I suppose a great memorial to a great victory is too much to hope for, you are right.


  14. Bento says:

    I covered the 3rd wave as a student journalist, and remember visiting Tony ‘Pottymouth’ Cooke out there a couple of times.

    I thought they’d built (and left behind) a brick BBQ – is the People’s Wall perhaps all that remains? Perhaps Keirath took away the other two (smaller) People’s Walls, the People’s Grillplate, and the People’s Woodpile.


    • shazza says:

      I recall attending a rally at Parliament House while the workers embassy was in full swing. Wasn’t the catalyst for the embassy the death of a union rep or Worksafe staffer on a building site? I am ashamed to say that I don’t recall the gentlemans name.

      I think leaving the bbq would have been a far more fitting tribute.


  15. The people’s grill is (I think) still there. I know there is a hansard reporter in the commenters group. Perhaps he can go out the back and have a look.


  16. Jesse Chilcott says:

    That brings back memories. The year was either 96 or 97, and after a planned union march to parliament house, a workers embassy was formed in the bush land across the road. There was a BBQ and caravans to sleep in. I was 16 and recently homeless and it served as a home. It was a wonderful experience, in the sense that when I could afford to attend uni, I got to laugh at all the Che t-shirt rich kids.

    My uncle now works across the road as a hansard, I bet anything he is the commenter you refer to.


  17. Pingback: En Pole, En Route « The Worst of Perth

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