Remembering and incorporating migrant workers in Australian industrial heritage

Lucy Taksa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite Australia's long history of immigration, its cultural diversity, and its commitment to multiculturalism since 1973, migrant workers, their work, and their struggles for rights and improved conditions have been marginalized and in some cases entirely overlooked as part of migration heritage and industrial heritage. This article examines how such neglect contributes to a collective forgetting that has implications for understandings of class politics in the past and also for class politics in the present. Through snapshots of industrially and politically active migrants who worked at one of Australia's most significant industrial heritage sites, the article challenges myths about non–English-speaking migrant workers and distinctions between them and both Australian-born workers and English-speaking migrants. The paper suggests that the failure to incorporate the intangible cultural heritage associated with migrant labor as part of industrial heritage severs links between past and present struggles and contributes to anti-immigration and anti-immigrant politics in Australia today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-105
Number of pages25
JournalLabor: Studies in Working-Class History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Migrant workers
  • Industrial heritage
  • Immigration and multiculturalism policies, Europe
  • Labour history


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