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.
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