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Greg Patmore: an appreciation.


At the end of last year, Greg Patmore relinquished the editorship of Labour History after 12 years of sterling service in the role, and after an active involvement in the work of the ASSLH dating back to the late 1970s, when he began his teaching career at The University of Sydney. All of us owe Greg an enormous debt of gratitude for his superb efforts, over the past three decades, in transforming the ASSLH, its journal and its numerous branches Australia-wide into such influential and cutting-edge institutions. His leadership has been tenacious and uncompromising, inclusive and inspirational, open-minded and global in its reach. It is difficult to think of anyone else who could have sustained leadership of this quality and consistency over so many years.

He has acquitted himself famously in every position that he has held: president of the Sydney Branch, Federal president, Labour History associate editor, then editor, founder of the Business and Labour History Group at Sydney University and, most recently, co-founder of the Association of Academic Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools. There have been myriad branch talks, seminars, biennial conferences, workshops, edited collections, special issues, PhD theses, international engagements and much more that would never have seen the light of day without his drive and dedication. There have been 24 issues of the journal under his editorship. There has been a world-class teaching text in the labour history genre.

Greg has also fought the good fight: to maintain funding for the journal; to save the Noel Butlin Archives; to fend off the monopolistic aspirations of publishing houses; to keep open the links between the academy and the wider labour and social movements; to keep labour history scholarship in Australia abreast of new conceptual impulses in the social sciences but without allowing it to be appropriated by these new currents; to keep historical scholarship and teaching alive and influential in the business school context.

What he has done over the last 30 years, I would suggest, is to transform a solid but essentially inward looking, a-theoretical and timorous Society into an enterprising and innovative research powerhouse that is globally recognised and respected; into a body with an A-ranked journal status and a reputation for being Bolshie when a bit of biff is required.

Greg, I am sure that I speak for everyone on the ASSLH Federal Executive, the Editorial Board and the Editorial Working Party in confessing to a degree of trepidation about your decision to step down from the editor's position after such a long and illustrious innings. You have set the bar dauntingly high for those who follow, but you have also left the Society in far better shape than you found it all those years ago, and you have set the journal up for ongoing success in the digital age.

For this remarkable legacy, we will be forever in your debt.

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Author:Shields, John
Publication:Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:May 1, 2011
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