Thursday, November 14, 2013

The real pig iron story from Reminiscences of a Rebel by Stan Moran

I nickname R. G. Menzles... "Pig Iron Bob"
In the pre-war years the Menzies Government supported the export of pig iron to Japan. The Japanese militarists, together with Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy, were busily preparing for war and they badly needed our pig iron for their armaments programme.
Whether the wharfies should continue to load this pig iron was being hotly debated in every branch of the Federation. We held up the Dalfram and a stop work meeting was called to decide the issue. Barney Mullins, the right wing Secretary of the Sydney Branch moved that we load it. I moved an amendment that as we would be sure to get it back on our cities in the form of bombs we refuse to load it. A small majority carried Barney’s resolution  about 100. But the matter didn't rest there. The Communist Party waged a big campaign of education and oiganisation and we finally carried the day. We would not load pig iron for Japan. That we were correct was proved when Japanese planes bombed Darwin killing many innocent men, women and children. R. G. Menzies, then Attorney General and later Prime Minister, claimed that the wharlies were trying to dictate the foreign policy of the country, But we had one important supporter, Sir Isaac Isaacs, Governor General, who said the wharfies were right not to load pig iron; and of course we were.

In 1937Menzieswent to Germany to see Hitler but Hitler was too busy to see minor politicians, and all he saw was Himmler. When he returned he said "If you and I lived in Berlin we would say that Hitler had done a great job for the German people."
When Menzies came to speak in St. John's Hall about his visit to Germany signs went up allover Kings Cross saying "Hitler cannot speak here to-night so Menzies speaks for him," and "Hitler's pal Menzies speaks here to-night." When he saw the crowd of about 1000 people inside and outside the hall he raced down Darlinghurst Road with the crowd after him. He was rescued by the police and taken off to safety in a police car .
In the Domain I publicly called Menzies "Pig Iron Bob" and it stuck. He carried the name with him to his grave. Someone asked him how he got this nickname and he said "That bastard Moran!"

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