Michael Wilding, 8 May 1986
After the brief boom of the 1880s Australia experienced the slump of the 1890s. The attempts by the unions to secure better conditions and a closed shop were crushingly defeated in the maritime and shearers’ strikes of the early 1890s. A combination of blackleg labour, protected by police and armed troops, and of successful prosecutions for conspiracy against the unions, broke the newly-emergent labour organisations. There was large-scale unemployment; wages dropped. The Workingman’s Paradise, as Henry Kingsley had called Australia, turned into an exploitative hell. This was the time that William Lane formed the New Australia movement which settled some four hundred men, women and children in Paraguay in an attempt to establish a socialist commune. It was into this depression that A.B. Facey was born in Victoria in 1894.