Women of Steel – the fight for the right to work at BHP
On Friday 6 November, Women of Steel, directed by Nelligan film maker Robynne Murphy, was awarded the History Council of NSW’s 2020 Macquarie PHA Applied History Award and was praised by the History Council judges for its informative, gritty, evocative and powerful presentation of history.
Women of Steel is a rousing story about the 1980-1994 campaign by Wollongong women for jobs in the BHP-AIS steel works. Robynne was a 30-year career steelworker whose jobs at the Port Kembla plant included welder, crane driver, and hot strip mill operator. Women of Steel, is the personal story of the campaign sustained by Robynne Murphy and hundreds of other local women for the right to work at BHP is exciting, moving and often humourous. Robynne's jobs at the Port Kembla plant included welder, crane driver, and hot strip mill operator.
The film will make its Union Premiere at the ACTU Activist Conference on Wednesday 18th November before travelling around the country.
It is an important and now sometimes forgotten episode in Australia’s history and Robynne left a promising career as a young filmmaker (she was selected for AFTRS’s very first intake) when she became caught up in the Jobs for Women Campaign.
Women of Steel has been awarded the History Council of NSW’s 2020 Macquarie PHA Applied History Award and was praised by the History Council judges for its informative, gritty, evocative and powerful presentation of history.
Women of Steel was recently a finalist in the prestigious $10,000 Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival. This is Robynne’s second film to be featured in the Sydney Film Festival; her first was in 1974.
Women of Steel is also a finalist in Best Documentary – History and Best Documentary – Social & Political Issues categories of the 2020 ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) Awards.
That Robynne could return to filmmaking so successfully after so many years is a testimony not only to her talents but also to the exciting nature of the events that took place in Wollongong during the 1980s.
Today, Robynne continues to work in a non-traditional job, albeit now as a volunteer. She drives the truck for her RFS brigade and was on the ground all through the 2019-2020 fires on the far south coast of NSW.
This fascinating account of the largely forgotten history of Australia’s Steel City was crafted over decades with support from local community volunteers and over 500 donors.
The Women of Steel trailer can be viewed below:
From November 19, you can catch Women of Steel in the cinema as the film premieres around Australia or watch the virtual screening:
Thursday 19 November at 7pm – includes Q&A after the film
Gala Twin Cinema
204 Cowper St, Warrawong, Port Kembla NSW
Virtual screening - Thursday 26 November at 7pm
Everyone is welcome to watch the online screening if they can’t make it to a cinema:
Wednesday 25 November at 7pm
Village Cinemas Hobart
181 Collins Street, Hobart
Thursday 26 November at 7pm
Palace Cinemas Raine Square
Raine Square, 300 Murray Street, Perth
Friday 27 November at 7pm
Palace Cinemas Barracks
The Barracks Shopping Centre, 61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
Wednesday 2 December at 6pm
ARC CINEMA - NATIONAL FILM & SOUND ARCHIVE
20 McCoy Circuit, Acton, ACT
Monday 7 December at 7pm
Event Cinemas George Street
505 George Street, Sydney