FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON, 29 AUGUST 1894.
There is a young man here named Jim Purcel who had his name down to shear at Warrah, and he asked me to write to you saying he is willing
to go on shearing whenever you are ready to start, why he did not go on he says was the union shearers took him prisoner, and have kept him in the camp ever since till yesterday, would not let him have his horses, or let him go, he says they let him come home
yesterday, without his swag, told him he would have to be back today, but if you write me when you want to start, I will get a policeman to go out with him and demand his swag, and deliver him at Warrah. I hope you do not intend to give in as if once do that
the shearers at Willow Tree would like to go to work but are afraid of the others, I believe they threaten to do all sorts of things to anyone who goes on, and the first man who signs will be shot, this is what I hear, it is not a nice state of things,
when men who want to work are not allowed by a lot of Ruffians, who threaten to kill them, and shoot their horses if they dare to go to work, a nice thing in a free country. I only hope you will be able to get enough shearers to fill your shed, it would be
the best lesson these men could get, and you would never have any trouble afterwards.
FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON,
31 AUGUST 1894
Your letter of 30th has duly reached me. We must not feel too sanguine over filling the board, the men are already very jubilant over their successes and keep so vigilant a watch
that not even an Old Swagman has been permitted to come on to the run. If we are to get the wool off at all it must be by availing ourselves of every possible assistance. An old fellow turned up this morning who says he can shear but will not start
today because it is Friday and tomorrow we can have no shearing on account of wet. A Wool Roller who can shear a little, but is detained at the Camp, states that he will come over provided he can manage to kidnap his luggage which he intends to do if he gets
FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON, 3 SEPTEMBER 1894
The strikers Camp has assumed no fresh developments, the Union
Secretary visited them on Saturday and delivered a speech informing them that the funds were sufficiently satisfactory to find them in tucker and baccy for another three months and Councilling them to remain firm and they would be sure to win etc. Young Purcell
has turned up and is now shearing thus raising our number to 8 men all told. If you can manage to get us 12 men - with the three we shall have from Windy shortly, we shall defeat these fellows beyond a doubt, because 23 men on the board - with a promise of
more later on - would act as the best advertisement we could have. Lots of the men at Willow Tree are anxious to shear for us but are frightened of being placed under the ban of their fellows. Very little success on our part would however, I feel convinced,
cause the waverers to come over. I hope and trust now that matters have gone to the extent they have that you will not think of giving in to these characters. At the worst the only expense we can suffer will be in delay in getting the wool off.
FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON, 3 SEPTEMBER 1894
In accordance with the time fixed by advertisement we called the shearing roll on the 20th of August, when an enormous number of men put in an appearance with the Shearers Union Secretary at their head. Upon the announcement
being made that it was the intention of the Company to carry on the work under the Pastoralists Union Agreement of 1894, the whole of them marched off in a body, and have since formed themselves into camps along the Northern road at the principal points of
access to the Station, where every traveller seeking work is promptly run in.
Any man refusing to remain or attempting to get away from them is subjected to the most scurrilous abuse by the crowd, and horses are
kept in at night for the purpose of pursuing any mounted traveller attempting to avoid them. This they designate "moral suasion". They do not however appear to interfere with anything belonging to the Company and judging them from the standpoint taken up by
bands of strikers in other districts, their conduct may be described as most orderly.
They in fact assured me that they entertained the greatest goodwill towards the Station and their whole object in picking us
out for attack was because Warrah was regarded as the most representative shed in the District, and if they carried Warrah victory - so far as this district was co-earned, was as good as won.
I have however taken
the precaution of keeping a strong watch on the Woolshed both night and day, and have a night watchman at the hay sheds in the vicinity of the Camp at Willow Tree.
We made a start last week with 6 men consisting
of 4 station hands and two outsiders, and the number has since increased to 8, by the succession of two strikers. We have several more men on the place who can shear but unfortunately they are laid up with the flu, a complaint which I regret is very prevalent
in the district at present.
W. C. ABBOTT TO G. FAIRBAIRN,
3 SEPTEMBER 1894
I am glad to see that you are standing out and I think from what I hear there will be a collapse in the camp soon. What I want to say now is
that if you had men direct you to give in which I hope you won't you ought if you don't want trouble another year to leave out all those who put their names down and did not go on. Such a lesson would teach them for the rest of their lives that it does not
pay to break contracts. I am getting on all right but have to guard the shed where I sleep myself every night. I have made all arrangements if they camped here as they threatened to do to swear in special constables and if they broke any law to issue warrants
and arrest them myself with the specials. There would not I think have been any trouble here but for Belltrees.
FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON, 5 SEPTEMBER 1894
An old shearer, named James Duckworth, has sent me word that he intends to come over to shear on Monday and will bring two or three
shearers with him. we are still working with nine men and will have the ram lambs shorn by tomorrow night after which the grown rams will be negotiated.
FAIRBAIRN TO GREGSON, 7 SEPTEMBER 1894
I wired you this morning that the strike had collapsed and shearers were signing freely. Up to the present some 12 men have signed and I
hear that the balance are likely to be here by Monday. I am now instructing Mr Humble to not put on four of the ring leaders and have sent the following advertisement to the Mercury.
"Shearers are now reminded that the strike at Warrah has Collapsed,
and the Board is rapidly filling up. Stands will however be
reserved for old hands making prompt application".
I think now our troubles
are near an end and that we shall be able to shear all the sheep.