Local Labor

Local Labor

A history of the Labor Party in Glebe, 1891-2003

By Michael Hogan


The suburb of Glebe in the city of Sydney is traditional, inner city, rusted-on Labor Party territory. Local Labor tells the story of the branches of the Australian Labor Party in the area over more than a century. It recounts the broad sweep of history at the small local level, the recurrent issues, the personal and political battles. It is an account of political activity at branch level such as has never before been attempted in Australia.

The history begins with the Party’s first election in Glebe in 1891 – it was successful – and ends with the suburb’s incorporation into the City of Sydney municipality in 2003. Along the way, it covers the whole range of local politics:

  • relations with the local community
  • the politics of Council elections
  • fighting State and Federal elections
  • party machine politics and the temptations of corruption
  • factional rivalry and branch stacking – eg, throughout the Lang era of the 1920s and 1930s
  • the local boss – eg, for over 50 years, local medico Dr Foley
  • the wider city politics – eg Glebe’s move into the City of Sydney in 1948 (by a State Labor government), its move to Leichhardt in 1968 (by a State Liberal government) and its move back to the City in 2003 (State Labor)
  • modern local political struggles, eg between Labor and environmentalists, between left and right of the Labor Party, and between major party candidates and politically independent local activists
  • the benefits of membership – the key question in the 21st century: why belong to a party at all?

Senator John Faulkner launched Local Labor on Thursday 10 June 2004. The text of his speech appears below as a Supplement.

Sesquicentenary 1856-2006 Responsible Government in New South Wales   A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.


    Published 17 May 2004
    Publisher The Federation Press
    ISBN 9781862874930
    Australian RRP $49.50
    International Price $45.00