Waterside Workers' band at Newtown Park during 1913 strike

Parade up Mansfield Street

The Wellington Waterside Workers’ Brass Band at a mass meeting of strikers and their supporters, 1913, Newtown Park, Wellington. 

Brass bands were an important part of popular culture in the early 20th century, with strong working-class involvement. Many workplaces had their own brass bands. The Wellington Waterside Workers’ Union Brass Band, set up in 1912, was funded by a levy on union members. The band provided musical accompaniment for protest marches and entertainment at mass meetings. Sympathetic bands around the country provided similar support to striking workers. In Wellington, the Highland Pipe Band joined the Watersiders’ Band in leading a number of marches.

The Watersiders’ Band also regularly performed at the annual Labour Day picnic held at Days Bay. In 1913 Labour Day was on 27 October, during the strike. Labour Day events were as popular as ever, with the Watersiders’ Band entertaining more than 2500 people at Days Bay.

See more images of Wellington during the 1913 strike here (Flickr)

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