Wharfies' role in Port dispute remembered

China's Consul-General Li Huaxin visited Port Kembla on Wednesday morning to learn more about the Dalfram dispute 75 years ago.

While visiting a commemorative plaque in Port Kembla, he praised Australian wharfies and seamen for taking a stand against the government by refusing to load pig iron headed on the Dalfram ship for Japan during their war against China.

"Although this plaque is very small, its significance is very large," he said.

"Standing here I can imagine the scenario of thousands of Australian workers standing to show their sympathy for the Chinese when Japan invaded in 1937."

He applauded the courage of workers, who protested for nine weeks, going without pay over the Christmas period in 1938.

"I was even more moved by the act by many other community members to support them and give them food," he said. "We shall never forget this history."

The filming of Pig Iron Bob, which documents the history of the 1930s wharfies’ strike.

The attorney-general at the time, Robert Menzies, visited Port Kembla to try to end the stand-off, but was stamped with a name he could never shake - Pig Iron Bob.

After visiting the plaque, the Consul-General watched a preview trailer for Pig Iron Bob - a documentary on the dispute - and launched a booklet on its history at Port Kembla Leagues Club.

He said the booklet and documentary should be placed in Chinese libraries and tertiary institutes.

Pig Iron Bob documentary maker Sandra Pires hoped her team would receive enough funding to interview historians in China and survivors of the war, known as the Rape of Nanking.

"There's a letter of thanks to the Port Kembla workers somewhere in a Chinese museum," she said.

"We want to get over there and do some interviews, but we need the funds."

Ms Pires aims to complete the documentary by November this year.

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