February 5, 2008
Blackball to celebrate strike that changed history
The historic West Coast town of Blackball will mark the centenary of the landmark Blackball Miners’ Strike next month
with a three-day celebration that is expected to draw crowds from across the country.
The eleven-week strike was a formative event in New Zealand’s history and laid the foundations of the modern union
movement and the Labour Party.
Event co-coordinator Jane Wells says the commemorations will centre on the strike’s role in changing New Zealand’s
“The Blackball strike was the birth of the modern labour movement and its three main leaders went on to recreate
unionism and in the case of Paddy Webb and Bob Semple went on to found the Labour Party itself.
“Many of the work rights we take for granted now have their origins in the Blackball strike and the later work of its
leaders and we think this needs to be celebrated and remembered.”
The commemorations will begin with a dinner on Friday the 21st of March and a series of events including book launches,
a parade, a seminar and a theatre presentation will take place over the following days. The event will close with a
dance at the community hall.