Wendy Lowenstein (Katherin Wendy Robertson Lowenstein) 1927—2006 was an Australian historian, author and teacher, well known for social activism and for work as an oral historian. She recorded a vast archive of oral history, beginning with collecting folk-lore and oral histories of early Australian working life in the 1960s, and publishing Weevils in the Flour: an oral record of the 1930s depression in Australia in 1978.
Presented here are recordings from The Lowenstein Family Oral History Archive. The recordings are of interviews conducted by Wendy Loewenstein with workers involved in the bitter Robe River Pekoe-Wallsend Industrial Dispute of 1986, at Robe River iron ore mine located in the Pilbara. The significance of the dispute is that it was a “test of strength with the New Right” and the “new-found economic rationality” of the period. The dispute ultimately led to a process of industrial relations reforms beginning in 1987, which sought labour market flexibility, “productivity trade-offs” and “managed decentralism”.
The recordings are provided courtesy of Wendy’s daughter, Martie Loewenstein Nash, on behalf of the The Lowenstein Family Oral History Archive. The vast archive of recordings span a wide range of topics including migrant histories, 1930s Depression in Australia, Australian Outback Interviews 1969, Wonthaggi Coal Mining Interviews, and Changes to Working Life in Australia 1990s.
The images included are screenshots from the film Strikebound, provided courtesy of director Richard Lowenstein, son of Wendy Lowenstein.