The Journey

Updated time

Last updated

21 March 2017


On 1 July 2009 Fair Work Australia came into operation assuming the role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Fair Work Australia is the fifth emanation of the workplace relations institution the Australian Parliament created more than 100 years ago.

The tribunal's history is marked by significant social and legislative changes as well as enduring principles of equity, good conscience, independence and procedural fairness.

This online exhibition, produced by the Sir Richard Kirby Archives, provides an insight into the journey from the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration at Federation to the 21st Century institution it is today.


We acknowledge the use of images from the following organisations:

  • Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)
  • National Archives of Australia
  • State Library of NSW
  • State Library of QLD
  • State Library of Victoria
  • University of Melbourne Trade Union Archives