Armagh Conversations: Jim Beggs

Armagh Conversations: Jim Beggs

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Jim and Tui Beggs at Armagh - 2014
If you have spent any time with the IofC community in Melbourne, you’ll have heard Jim Beggs’ powerful story.

You'll have heard about the job he took as a waterside worker as a young man in 1951, when the Melbourne docks were a hotbed of industrial strife. The job he kept quiet about, because it was embarrassing to be associated with roughnecks and Communists. And the next-door neighbour who said to him one day, “Do you want to see the waterfront different?”

Yes, he did.

You’ll have heard how he began to make personal reparations by returning a clock he had pilfered, thus earning the moniker Daylight Saving Jim, the bloke who put the clock back. His apology to a key union leader at the docks and a pledge to work together from then on. And his election as President of the Waterside Workers Federation’s Melbourne branch, a post he held uninterrupted for 21 years before serving as national President for another seven.

Jim Beggs presided over a period of wide-ranging reform on the docks, boosting productivity while building ties of solidary and friendship with fellow dock workers around the world.

This video interview, conducted by Christian Hoekstra, is the uncut version, story after story, of a life well-lived and an industry changed by the exercise of the simple virtues of honesty, purity, unselfishness and—yes, we can even say, love.