generations of the same families were employed at the Sunshine Harvester Works.
Some individuals started as apprentices and left at retirement.
Annual picnics, staff newsletters, benevolent
funds, and social functions were ways to help
ensure "the maintenance of harmonious relationships"
between workers and the company.
Union strikes and lockouts were part of the company's
history. The work was often repetitive, boring,
dirty, noisy, and dangerous. Workers were paid
by piece rates, and could be stood down during
In 1907 the wages and conditions of the McKay
workers were used as a test case to determine
the "basic wage" for all male workers in Australia.