Image Troopers at Dagworth Station, c1894

TLF ID R8002

This is a black-and-white photograph of a group of nine men, some uniformed, standing in front of a large corrugated iron shed on Dagworth Station north-west of Winton, possibly during the 1894 Shearers' Strike. Three are uniformed troopers, while the other six men could be station workers, shearers or even owners. The photograph appears to be a posed shot, with the troopers resting their rifles casually on the ground and some men leaning against a fence. Although a handwritten caption dates the photograph as 1893, it was probably taken in 1894.



Educational details

Educational value
  • Dagworth Station in Queensland was the scene of violent shearers' action during the second Shearers' Strike in 1894, with the people and shed seen in the photograph its likely targets. Armed troopers (the commonly used term for mounted police at the time) were sent by the Qld Government to protect property and non-union workers at the Station, and the shearing shed could well have been the one later attacked by unionists and burnt down.
  • The owners of Dagworth, possibly pictured here, were among the organised pastoralists who, with wool prices falling in 1894, proposed cutting the shearers' pay rate and, just as they had done during the previous strike in 1891, refused to employ active unionists or use non-union labour. The Strike that ensued spread further and became more violent than the 1891 strike, involving not only Qld but also New South Wales and parts of Victoria and South Australia.
  • In response to fears of civil disorder during the 1894 Strike, the Qld Government first sent troopers such as those shown to the properties of prominent pastoralists. It also introduced controversial legislation, the 'Peace Preservation Act', with drastic provisions depriving arrested unionists of fundamental civil rights. The legislation was intended to be a cheaper and more efficient form of deterrence and control.
  • The shed in the photograph may well have been the site of the last violent incident of the 1894 Strike. On the night of 2 September 1894, union shearers raided the Dagworth shearing shed, resulting in a fierce gun battle. The shed was burnt to the ground along with 140 penned lambs. The following morning a party of police pursued the arsonists. At a waterhole they found the body of a raider who had apparently committed suicide.
  • The iconic national song 'Waltzing Matilda' appears to be connected to the violent incident at Dagworth during the Strike. The words were composed by A B 'Banjo' Paterson (1864-1941) when he visited Dagworth several weeks after the raid. Christina Macpherson, sister of the Station's owner, supplied the tune from an old Scottish song.
Year level

3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

Contributors
  • Contributor
  • Name: State Library of Queensland
  • Organization: State Library of Queensland
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: QLD, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: State Library of Queensland
  • Organization: State Library of Queensland
  • Address: QLD, AUSTRALIA
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and State Library of Queensland, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements