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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Port Talks: Ep3 – Putting a roof over your head

Port Talks distills highlights from the Society’s audio-archive into three 10 minute podcasts.

The theme is the Depression – a time of great hardship in Port.

Episode 3: Putting a roof over your head

Tom Hills ran away from his Sydney home when he was thirteen. He was taken in by a Port Melbourne family. During the 1920s he pulled the ferry across the river at the swinging basin where the Webb Bridge in Docklands is now.

Unemployed during the Depression, he became president of the local Unemployed Workers’ Organisation, led sustenance workers in many struggles for survival and dignity at Fishermans Bend, and resisted many evictions.

He became Vice President of the Waterside Worker’s Federation (Melbourne) and later was president of Melbourne’s Retired Waterside Workers until his death. Always an active militant, he stood for many years as a Communist candidate for Port Melbourne Council.

How did Tom and others in Port resist evictions?

Find out here.


Port Talks was written and produced by May Jasper with sound engineering by Andrew Callaghan.

The project has been supported by the City of Port Phillip through the Cultural Development Fund.

Tom Hills is pictured with his dog Wops, about 1932. Tom, and his wife Dot, were later evicted from this house in Albert Street, Port Melbourne, for non-payment of rent.

PMHPS acknowledges the generous support of the City of Port Phillip.


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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.