Our Sources


Anne Polis, Victorian TUTA trainer, videoing a role play session This photograph was taken during a TUTA course in the 1980s. Photographer unknown. Source: Ann Polis papers.

In 2020-21 we have recorded semi-structured interviews with former trainers, administrators, and course participants, aiming for representation from all states, roles, and periods of TUTA’s existence. We also spoke with trainers who were based in their own unions but had involvement with TUTA, and with contemporary union educators. Due to CoVID travel restrictions, nearly all interviews were conducted and recorded online.


  • ACTU Archives, in particular the papers of Peter Matthews
  • National Archives of Australia, including records of the Department of Labour / Industrial Relations
  • Noel Butlin Archives Centre (ANU), including ACTU education committee, TUTA records and individual union archives on training and education
  • The University of Melbourne labour history collection*
  • National Library of Australia, including oral histories with union leaders
  • State libraries* including TUTA publications, personal papers of union officials and leaders – special shout-out to the State Library of South Australia for its rich collection of trade union education material
  • Flinders University* – Bannon Collection
  • Personal papers of former TUTA staff and administrators

*Our access to these archival repositories has been limited and in some cases been made impossible by Coronavirus restrictions. The collections remain on this list to indicate our intentions at the start of the project! It remains to be seen whether we can consult these archives before the project ends (e.g. Manuscripts in the State Library of Victoria, union records held in the Labour history collection at the Baillieu Library archives). The donations by former TUTA trainers and administrators have been crucial in giving us insight into the inner workings of TUTA during this period of archival lockout!

Support from the trade union training community

Former TUTA trainers, administrators and participants as well as contemporary union trainers have been willing contributors to this research, not only by agreeing to be interviewed, but also by lending us (and in some cases donating) personal and organisational archives and helping to connect us to a broader network of people and organisations in the field.

Our intention is to organise the donation of collected TUTA materials to an archival repository at the end of the project so that material will continue to be available to future researchers in the field.

Of particular note is a blog called ‘Remembering TUTA’ created by former Clyde Cameron College director and trainer, Phil Drew, which contains many personal anecdotes about TUTA. Contributors include trainers, administrators and course participants. The blog can be read here: https://medium.com/@rememberingtuta

Some reading on TUTA

Below is a list of publications by trade union educators and promoters of trade union education in politics and academia, from across the decades, exploring union training in Australia and more specifically, the origins, development and impact of TUTA. This list is not exhaustive but gives an indication of important work that has already been done. In our own research project, we have benefited from insights in these publications.

We see our project as an opportunity to draw out threads from TUTA’s history and legacy that are useful for current-day and future union educators, for students and scholars in industrial relations, as well as for practitioners of adult education more generally. We encourage people to explore the existing literature and to let us know at [email protected] if you think there’s an important work that discusses TUTA specifically (as opposed to trade union education in general) that we have not listed below.

A special issue in 2019 of The Hummer, bulletin of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (Sydney branch), explored the history of TUTA in 6 articles. Individual entries are listed below by author. You can purchase the special issue here. The articles can also be read online here: https://www.labourhistory.org.au/hummer/hummer-vol-13-no-2-2019/ but we do encourage you to purchase a hard copy to support the work of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History.

Cameron, C. R. (1981). Unions in Crisis. Melbourne: Hill of Content Publishing.

Cameron, C. R. (1990). The Cameron Diaries. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Cameron, C. R., & Connell, D. (1990). The Confessions of Clyde Cameron 1913-1990. Crows Nest: ABC Enterprises.

Crosby, M. (2005). Power at Work: Rebuilding the Australian union movement. Annandale: Federation Press.

Cupper, L. (1980). Recent Developments in Australian Trade Union Training. Labor Studies Journal, 5(1). 

Davies, A., & Horton, C. (1986). Training of Trade Union Trainers in Australia. Convergence, 19(1), 9-12.

Devos, A. (1998). Part of the Union: Debates and discourses in trade union education. Studies in the Education of Adults, 30(1), 80-89.

Drew, P. (2019). The Trade Union Training Authority Act 1975: Background, Debate and Implications. The Hummer, 13(2), 25-44.

Hanlon, D. and McDonald, W. TUTA: Early History, Learning Methodology and Trigger Films. The Hummer, 13(2), 12-20.

Hanlon, D. and McDonald, W. TUTA: Making the Training Films and the Legacy of Keith Gow. The Hummer, 13(2), 49-60.

George, J. (1992). Trade Union Training and Education: Its Importance for the Future of the Union Movement. In M. Crosby & M. Easson (Eds.), What Should Unions Do? (pp. 232-238). Leichardt: Pluto Press.

Johnston, M. (2019). TUTA: The Rise and Fall of a Jewel in the Union Movement’s Crown. The Hummer, 13(2), 9-11.

Luck, J., Raghwan, R., Nathan, C., & Varghese, S. (2015). Educating for Union Strength: ILO ACTRAV Handbook on Educating Trade Union Educators. Turin: International Labour Organization.

Matthews, P. W. D., & Ford, G. W. (1966). Trade Union Education and Training in Australia. Journal of Industrial Relations, 8(2), 158-174.

Morris, R. (1991). Trade Union Education in Australia. In Tennant, M. (ed.). Adult and continuing education in Australia. London & New York: Routledge.

Murphy, D. J. (1972). A National Trade Union College. The Australian Quarterly, 44(4), 94-100.

Newman, M. (1986). TUTA Courses for Asian and Pacific Trade Unionists. Australian Journal of Adult Education, 26(2), 33-36. 

Newman, M. (1993). The Third Contract: theory and practice in trade union training. Sydney: Centre for Popular Education.

Newman, M. (1994). Defining the Enemy: adult education in social action. Sydney: Stewart Victor Publishing.

Newman, M. (2006). Teaching Defiance: stories and strategies for activist educators: a book written in wartime (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Newman, M. (2019). In a TUTA Training Room. The Hummer, 13(2), 21-24.

Ogden, M. (2020). A Long View from the Left: From the CPA to the ALP, a lifetime of fighting for Australian workers’ rights. Sydney & Perth: Bad Apple Press.

Strachan, G. (2019). Changing the Unions’ Agenda: Women’s activism in Australian trade unions in the 1970s and 1980s. Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (117), 181-202. 

Voll, G. R. (1995). An Evaluation of the Australian Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA). (M.Comm.). University of New South Wales, 

Voll, G. R. (1997). Time’s Up for TUTA—a Corporatist Casualty. Labour & Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work, 8(2), 85-99.