Saturday 4 May 2019 marks the centenary of ‘Bloody Sunday’, an industrial action that took place on Fremantle Wharf in 1919. Desperate wharfies (or lumpers, as they were then called) who had been locked out of their workplace, marched onto the wharf to prevent scab labour unloading the Dimboola, a ship that had arrived from the eastern states with influenza victims among its passengers.
In a confrontation that involved police, the premier, wharfies and their wives and children, 26 people were injured and one wharfie, Tom Edwards, afterwards died of a fractured skull. His funeral a few days later brought the state to a standstill. The unionists won their struggle to rid the wharf of scab labour and they regained preference to load and unload ships.
Tom Edwards is commemorated with a memorial fountain, now located in King Square. The fountain is undergoing refurbishment for the 100th anniversary, which will be acknowledged in this year’s May Day events at Fremantle on 5 May.