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Protest and Politics

1923 Police Strike
On the eve of Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival in November 1923, half the police force went on strike. Riots, looting and mayhem followed as race crowds piled into a lawless city. Thousands of volunteer 'special constables' were sworn in to restore order. They were identified by badges and armbands.

Unemployed poster
magnifyUnemployed poster, 1931

Unemployed protest
In the winter of 1933, unemployed workers assembled outside Trades Hall. They planned to march through the city to protest at the meagre pay offered on government work schemes. As the march began, police swooped on the crowd.


Special constables' armbands
magnifySpecial constables' armbands


Unemployed workers' baton

Unemployed workers' baton
magnifyUnemployed workers' batons
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