Jack Hutton

Interviewed by
Rodney Sullivan and Robin Sullivan
Jun 19 2013
Jack Hutton, 2013
Time Summary Keywords

Jack Hutton describes his early childhood growing up on Rita Island in North Queensland. He recalls the tough living conditions he faced growing up in the economic depression of the 1930s.


Jack Hutton talks about receiving an apprenticeship with the railways in Townsville, Queensland, at the age of 15.

apprenticeships, Queensland Rail, Townsville, World War II

Jack Hutton explains how he first became interested in unions while working as a railway apprentice. He talks about his membership with the Boilermakers Union, and his role as a delegate for the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union to the Trades and Labour Council of Townsville. 

Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, apprenticeships, Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union, Townsville, Trades and Labor Council

Jack Hutton discusses some of the issues he dealt with as a member of the Townsville Trades and Labor Council. He describes the relationship between the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Trades and Labor Council, particularly in relation to the annual Labour Day March and Picnic.

AMIEU, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Railway Union, Seamen's Union, Trades and Labor Council, Waterside Workers Federation

Jack Hutton discusses his work for apprentice rights during the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era, his election to the Apprenticeship Board, and his application for the role of Welfare Officer.

apprenticeships, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, union positions

Jack Hutton talks about attending the World Congress of People for Peace in Vienna, Austria, in 1952. He explains the consequences this trip had on his career.

Alec Dowling, Alex Macdonald, Communism, George Kellaway, Glen Fingleton, Joe Chandler

Jack Hutton talks about his work on the Burdekin Bridge, which spans the towns of Ayr and Home Hill in North Queensland, and his efforts to ensure safe working conditions on the site.

Burdekin Bridge, workplace safety

Jack Hutton discusses his relationship with unionist Jack Egerton and his conflict with Vince Gair (Queensland Premier 1952-57).

Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union, Burdekin Bridge, Communism, Jack Egerton, Vincent Gair

Jack Hutton recalls the union officials who impressed him most in his career. He comments on the place of communism in Queensland in the 1950s.

Alex Macdonald, Burdekin Bridge, Communism, Gerry Dawson

Jack Hutton speaks about his return to the railways following the opening of the Burdekin Bridge, and the reputation of the Trades and Labor Council.

Queensland Rail, Trades and Labor Council, Waterside Workers Federation

Jack Hutton describes his role as an unpaid official in the Trades and Labor Council, and comments on the way in which some trade unionists would use their position to further their own political aspirations.

Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union, Communism, Tom Barton, Trades and Labor Council

Jack Hutton reflects on his relationship with unionist Fred Thompson and Thompson's reputation in the union movement more widely. he discusses the laws and authority of the railways. 

Fred Thompson, Queensland Rail

Jack Hutton describes some of the campaigns and strikes that took place amongst the railway workers.

Fred Thompson, Queensland Rail, union campaigns

Jack Hutton discusses some of the most stressful incidents he dealt with during his time in trade unions. These included strikes, funeral attendance, and dealing with security.

Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union, union positions

Jack Hutton discusses the regular demarcation disputes between the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) and the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union.

AEU, Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union, demarcation disputes, Fred Thompson

Jack Hutton comments on his contact with Indigenous workers during his career, and makes particular reference to his memories of Eddie Mabo.

AMIEU, Bill Irvine, Communism, Eddie Mabo, Frank Bishop, Indigenous issues

Jack Hutton discusses his attempts to employ more Indigenous apprentices at the railways.

apprenticeships, Indigenous issues

Jack Hutton describes the campaign for the 38 hour week and the 9 day fortnight. He talks about his dealings with Wayne Goss (Queensland Premier 1989-96) and the negotiations that were undertaken to achieve the new working hours.

Goss Government 1989-96, union campaigns, Wayne Goss

Jack Hutton comments on what he sees as the differences between North Queensland unionism and the rest of Queensland. He discusses the achievements of unions that are now taken for granted.

demarcation disputes, North Queensland, unions

Interview ends