Police storm Brisbane brewery ‘sit-in’ during 1937 strike for 40-hour week

“With a mattress of newspapers, a pillow of “a dozen of beer” and covered by a blanket of bags, this man spent the night with the stay-in strikers at the Milton brewery” – The Brisbane Telegraph Thursday 16 September 1937 
“Idle breweries mean idle bottle depots. Horses that have been. thrown out of work temporarily by the beer drought” – Brisbane Sunday Mail 26 September 19 1937

OVER 80 men conducted a ‘sit-in’ strike at Brisbane’s Castlemaine Perkins brewery in a failed effort for a 40 hour week in early September 1937.

The men received an unpleasant awakening in the early hours of September 24 when over 100 plain clothes and uniformed police stormed the Milton brewery.

The police read-out a notice to the men that they were trespassing and advised them to leave the premises peacefully – the strikers followed the orders.

That wasn’t the end of the strike though. The brewery strike, involving more than 200 men, lasted over a month with picket lines set-up outside Brisbane’s two breweries, eventually leading to beer rationing in Queensland pubs.

The strike collapsed in October 1937 when the Labour Council’s disputes committee instructed employees to return to work.

The first deliveries of draught beer were made from the Castlemaine Perkins and Bulimba breweries on October 13 1937. Beer was delivered to hotels throughout Brisbane and suburbs. However, hotels in the more remote districts had to be satisfied with bottled beer for a few weeks before deliveries were made to thirsty country folk.

reschs beer unloaded 1937
A consignment of Resch’s beer from Sydney being unloaded in Brisbane during the Queensland brewery strike in 1937. Picture: The Brisbane Telegraph September 27 1937 
“Strikers at the Milton Brewery, Brisbane, pass the time by playing cricket, while the hapless citizens are threatened with a beer famine” – The Sydney Sun Friday 17 September 1937

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