John Wood

9 Martyrs

The 9 Martyrs

Located in Walter Day Park, this piece was commissioned by the Spirit of the Land Lockhart Festival, Lockhart Shire Council and funded by Festivals Australia.

‘The 9 Martyrs’ was installed in October 2008, commemorating the 1888 Brookong Station Shearers’ Strike and the confrontation between shearers and pastoralists, known as the “Wool Kings”.

The discs represent the nine shearers imprisoned with hard labour for being “riot” organisers. Alexander Armstrong, William Blair, James Casey, Alfred Collins, William Jackson, Bryan Lee, John Parker, William Tyson and John James Woodcock were known as martyrs to the union cause.

Vertical bars joined to the discs represent "time behind bars". Hot punched holes, handmade bolts and tenor joins depict the construction techniques of the era.

Three vertical poles symbolise the Pastoralists, known as the "Wool Kings". The tallest represents William Halliday, owner of Brookong Station at the time. Two rings encircling the martyrs and supporting the "Wool Kings” represent money and wages the issues of the strike. 
Incomplete rings symbolise unresolved outcomes.

The effect of the Brookong riot spread throughout the country
culminating in the 1891 strike in Barcaldine, Queensland and the formation of the Labor Electoral League, now the NSW Labor Party.