Charles Seymour Papers 1880-1924: Treasure collection of the John Oxley Library

Dated 9 September 1892, the Manifesto of the Queensland Labour Party was written during a time of political and social upheaval in Queensland when the early Labor movement was looking for alternatives to industrial action to progress their aims. The Manifesto was written by Charles Seymour and signed by the party’s president, Thomas Glassey, who was also the first person to be popularly elected on a Labor platform in Queensland.

The document detailed the party’s grievances and was aimed at the ruling class who the party saw as opposing their aspirations and working benefits. Land reform, electoral issues and social equity were also themes referred to in the Manifesto.

Charles Seymour and wife Katherine (nee Halloran). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Negative number: 160362.

According to Labor folklore, the Manifesto was read to the people at the site of the iconic Tree of Knowledge in the main street of Barcaldine.

Manifesto of the Queensland Labour Party, 9 Sep 1892. OM69-18/16 - Papers of Charles Seymour. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Horsedrawn cart crossing the railway line in Barcaldine, 1916. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Negative number: 79324.

Barcaldine was at the centre of strikes and industrial strife in the early 1890s. Whether or not the event did occur, the Manifesto proved to be a foundation document upon which the Labor movement attained its political power and parliamentary representation, culminating in the formation of the first Labor government in the world. The short-lived Anderson Dawson Labor Government came to power in 1899 for one week. Subsequently, Barcaldine became known as the birthplace of the Labor Party in Queensland.

You can access a facsimile of The Manifesto in the Charles Seymour Papers held by State Library of Queensland. In addition to the Manifesto, Seymour's Papers include correspondence, cuttings, pamphlets, leaflets, photographs, and documents relating to his activities in the Labor movement as well as his work as editor of The Worker from 1911 to 1915.

An article published in The Worker (Brisbane, Qld: 1890 – 1955) on the 27 February 1940 reveals how the newspaper came by its name, involving Charles Seymour and his wife at their home in Spring Hill, Brisbane prior to the first issue being printed in 1890.

The Worker (Brisbane, Qld.: 1890 – 1955) 27 Feb 1940 Pg 6

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