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image icon Andrew Fisher laying the foundation stone for Perth Trades Hall, 1911

Andrew Fisher laying the foundation stone for Perth Trades Hall, 1911
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is a black-and-white photograph of a large crowd watching Australian Prime Minister Andrew Fisher laying the foundation stone for the Perth Trades Hall on 8 August 1911. A caption on the photograph reads 'THE LAYING OF FOUNDATION STONE TRADES HALL BY ANDREW FISHER AUG. 8: 1911'.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset suggests the importance attached to the erection of public buildings at the time, and the type of ceremonies and objects used to mark their construction - Andrew Fisher (Labor Prime Minister 1908-09, 1910-13 and 1914-15) travelled to Perth from the eastern states to lay the foundation stone for the Perth Trades Hall at this large public gathering; such foundation stones generally included engravings or carried a plaque that commemorated the commencement of work on the building.
  • This asset suggests that the building of the Perth Trades Hall was a major achievement for the labour movement in Western Australia - previously, the Perth Trades and Labor Council lacked a proper meeting place or the funds to build one (unionists met in various places, including a number of pubs until the proprietors tired of their presence); when Alex McCallum became General Secretary in 1911, he worked tirelessly to ensure that the building of a Perth trades hall was a priority.
  • This asset shows examples of the clothing worn by people to a public event in the second decade of the 20th century - the men are in suits and ties, and both men and women are wearing hats.
  • This asset provides a glimpse of a public celebration in the second decade of the 20th century - a number of flags, including the Australian flag and the Union Jack, are partially visible above the dignitaries, and the crowd appears to be relaxed and attentive.
  • This asset depicts Andrew Fisher, Prime Minister of Australia for three separate terms, periods during which he also served as federal treasurer - Fisher was instrumental in the creation of the Labor Party in Queensland and, subsequently, the federal parliamentary Labor Party; he entered federal politics in 1901 as the Labor Member for Wide Bay, Queensland, and became leader of the ALP in 1907; the Labor governments he led were highly reformist, establishing the Commonwealth Bank, introducing maternity allowances and workers' compensation for Australian Government employees, liberalising invalid and old age pensions and proposing stricter regulations for wages, working hours and employment conditions.
  • This asset reveals some of the types of transport used at the time - two horse-and-carts and part of a bicycle are visible in the background on the right-hand side.