Saturday, September 29, 2012

Up The Workers!

Bob Hawke & John Singleton

To harbour side Balmain and the launch of The Workers Bar in Darling Street. The Workers is part owned by media mogul John Singleton who also hosted the launch party and it's part of Unity Hall, the pub Singleton owns and the location for a legendary meeting of unionists in 1891 that coincided with the famous Shearer's Strike in Queensland.

Out of that strike and the Balmain meeting came the formation of the Australian Labor Party, the first 'worker's party' in the world and now the longest surviving political party that is still in government under the  leadership of PM Julia Gillard.

Ned Kelly (?), Benny Elias & Sally Singleto
So who better to invite to launch the Worker's Bar than the great legend himself, former trade union boss and the 23rd prime Minister Bob Hawke.
 Bob is 83 and as sprightly as a 40 year old. He's also a great pal of Singleton's and told a fairly racy joke about his friend which we won't relate here. Suffice to say it's not hard to see that Hawkie is still one of Australia's most beloved political figures who during his tenure at the top received approval ratings of around 80%.

As for Balmain it's hardly a worker's paradise anymore and the fine convict built sandstone houses and terraces are more likely to be inhabited by bankers, stockbrokers and celebrity figures like playwright David Williamson and actors Judy Davis and Colin Freils who have a large waterside mansion. Still there are plenty of young professionals living locally and The Worker's bar is bound to become a favoured watering hole.