Sparks bulletin

A partial archive of the Sparks bulletin of the Public Transport Workers Association, published by the Melbourne group of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation between 1986 and 1991. At its peak its circulation reached 5000 copies.

If anyone has any spare copies of Sparks they would like to donate to us to add to the archive we would really appreciate it! Please contact us or let us know in the comments below

Sparks #01

The first issue of 'Sparks', a rank-and-file public transport workers' paper, published by the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation Melbourne in May 1986.

This first issue was published by ASF Melbourne in May 1986. At the time there were two railways workers and one tramways worker member. The first issue was eight pages long. The aim of this activity by ASF Melbourne was to increase the awareness of anarcho-syndicalism and anarchism in the public transport industry in Victoria as a first step towards creating an ASF-affiliated public transport workers union. The focus of the paper was to be mainly on issues current in the industry but also other contemporary issue relevant to workers in Australia.

Sparks no 1 May 86.pdf4.09 MB

Sparks #02

Sparks #2 published and distributed by ASF Melbourne in July 1986

This was the second issue of 'Sparks' to be published. The number of pages were increased to 12. It was significant for the fact that an article about the tramways in Barcelona during the Spanish Revolution piqued the interest of a clerk working for Victorian Railways in the internal mailroom enough to attend the event 'Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution' organised by ASF Melbourne held at the Foresters Hall in Johnston St., Fitzroy on Saturday afternoon, 19 July 1986.

At this very well-attended event were no less than 15 veterans of the Spanish Revolution from both the CNT and the FAI, two of whom gave talks on their experiences. Soon after, the mailroom clerk got in contact with one of the ASF Melbourne members working at Electric Running Depot and arranged to have 'Sparks' distributed to every station, depot, workshop, storage facility and office of Victorian Railways through their own internal postal system.

This effectively meant that the entire railways system in Victoria was covered and we could concentrate on distribution in the tram and bus depots. For issue #3 the print run was increased from 500 to 800.

Sparks #2 pages 2-3

Sparks #2 pages 4-5

Sparks #2 pages 6-7

Sparks #2 pages 8-9

Sparks #2 pages 10-11

Sparks #2 back page

Sparks #03

Issue 3 of Sparks from August 1986.

Sparks no 3.pdf5.26 MB

Sparks #05

Issue 5 of Sparks from December 1986, covering the 50-day Victorian nurses' strike, as well as action by tram workers against victimisation.

Sparks no 5.pdf8.77 MB

Sparks #07

Issue 7 of Sparks from June-July 1987, with info on union amalgamations, strikes by train staff against the repression of anti-light rail protests, and the undermining of several campaigns by union officials.

Sparks no 7 Jun-Jul 87.pdf15.17 MB

Sparks #08

Issue 8 of Sparks from August-September 1987.

Sparks-8.pdf1.88 MB

Sparks #10

Issue 10 of Sparks, bulletin of the Melbourne anarcho-syndicalist Public Transport Workers Association from October-November 1987.

Sparks-10.pdf2.03 MB

Sparks #11

Issue 11 of Sparks from December 1987, with material on train guards' strikes and shopfloor action at South Dynon locomotive workshops.

Sparks no 11 Dec 87.pdf6.69 MB

Sparks #12

Issue 12 of Sparks from January-February 1988.

Sparks-12.pdf1.66 MB

Sparks #13

Issue 13 of Sparks, the paper of the anarcho-syndicalist Public Transport Workers Association in Melbourne, from March-April 1988. Containing interesting articles on disputes over health and safety, and the sacking of train guards.

Sparks 13 A5 PDF1.42 MB

Sparks #14

Issue 14 of Sparks from May-June 1988, with articles covering successful stop-works and work bans at Brunswick and Preston tram depots, public transport news from Sydney, union elections, and the ongoing campaign against light rail.

Sparks no 14 May-Jun 88.pdf5.18 MB

Sparks #15

Sparks no 15 from July-August 1988, with coverage of industrial action by train guards over staff cuts and safety issues, union elections, and the mid-1988 statewide strike in Victoria.

Sparks no 15 Jul-Aug 88.pdf18.67 MB

Sparks #16

Issue 16 of Sparks from September-October 1988, with coverage of the South Melbourne depot taking on the Metshop, a discrimination case taken up by a disabled passenger and more.

Sparks-16.pdf3.85 MB

Sparks #17

Issue of the Sparks bulletin from November-December 1988 with news about graffiti, train drivers getting $4000 pay cuts, cuts to station staff at Flinders and more.

Sparks-17.pdf1.7 MB

Sparks #18

Issue 18 of Sparks from winter 1989, covering the ongoing campaign against the closure of the Upfield railway line, and successful snap industrial action by train guards.

Sparks no 18 Winter 89.pdf17.02 MB

Sparks #19

Issue 19 of the Sparks bulletin from Spring 1989, with news on the Upfield line campaign, struggles by train guards, the 1989 Victorian state budget, and moves to disaffiliate ATMOEA (the tram and bus workers' union) from the Labor Party.

Sparks no 19 Spring 89.pdf15.98 MB

Sparks #21

Issue of anarcho-syndicalist public transport workers' bulletin Sparks from January 1990. Importantly this was a special issue produced during the Melbourne tram lockout, where anarcho-syndicalist-influenced workers took over the tram system before bosses cut the power.

Sparks-21.pdf994.23 KB

Sparks #22

Issue 22 of the Sparks bulletin from 24 January 1990, while the Melbourne tram dispute was still ongoing when workers who took over the trams fighting the abolition of conductors were locked out.

Sparks-22.pdf3.7 MB

Sparks #25

Issue of Sparks from November 1990 with news about Tramway union elections, stress index wage rises, a pull-out poster slagging off the transport Minister by the Brunswick Passenger Support Group and more.

Sparks-25.pdf1.82 MB
Sparks-25-poster.pdf287.47 KB

Sparks #26

Sparks issue 26 from April 1991, with coverage of the Gulf War, successful direct action over tram safety issues, and campaigning against cuts to tram routes.

Sparks no 26 Apr 91.pdf14.7 MB

Sparks #27

Issue 27 of Sparks, featuring coverage of union amalgamations, direct action by bus drivers, and taxi industry news.

Sparks no 27 Oct 91.pdf14.94 MB