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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vale, Clyde Cameron. Your like shall not pass this way again.

Undoubtedly, older AWU officials and members around Australia will have noted the passing of one Clyde Robert Cameron.

Clyde was one of the AWU's more widely known identities - and a unique one. Another great AWU identity, the beloved Mick Young, used to tell of how, when he was an AWU organiser in South Australia, there used to be two union meetings: the one which he, as organiser, held with his members and the one, held by Clyde Cameron with the same group of members, immediately afterwards.

Clyde Cameron was not always the best-beloved of the right of the AWU: and certainly not of the Queensland Branch, the most powerful section of the AWU.

Miss Eagle recalls attending her first Queensland Delegates Meeting of the AWU. Delegates meeting is an interesting concept in recent times because, during Miss Eagle's period at the AWU, there was only one occasion when a rank and file delegate was at Delegates Meeting of the AWU. Delegates Meeting - as far as Miss Eagle could tell - was usually an historic and time honoured summer holiday for AWU officials from the bush to get an all expenses paid trip to Brisbane.

When Errol Hodder was State Secretary he was a modernising influence on the AWU. Miss Eagle's first Delegates Meeting was held at Kooralbyn. Besides the innovations of the venue, and the attendance of female officials for the first time, Errol had arranged for training to be done by trainers from the Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA). As well, as conducting training within individual trade unions and travelling to various locations for training sessions involving a wide cross-section of trade unionists, TUTA had established , in Albury-Wodonga, the Clyde Cameron College.

Errol explained to the unsuspecting TUTA trainer at Kooralbyn that the reason the AWU had taken so long to avail itself of TUTA's service was the unfortunate naming of their training college in Albury-Wodonga! Memories in the AWU run long and deep and both ways!

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.