Runanga Miners Hall – an icon of the union movement – Great photo moment of original union slogans.
Runanga is a town famous as one of the birthplaces of the modern Labour political party. Names such as Bob Semple, Paddy Webb and James O’Brien frequented the Runanga Miners Hall. The Hall was built to house a co-operative store during the hardship of the bitter 1908 miners’ strike for better working conditions and wages.
INTERESTING FACT: Runanga Payroll Heist 1917
Look for memorial signage and information plaque 32 Fraser Street, Runanga 7803, New Zealand. The Christchurch High Court sentenced William Eggers McMahon in 1918, “The prisoner will be taken to the place of execution and there hanged by the neck until he is dead.” 1918 death sentece for William Eggers McMahon was the result of a payroll robbery and murder of two local Runanga men. A monument now marks the site of the hold-up. ‘Erected By The Residents Of The District To The Memory Of William Hall And John Coulthard, Who Met A Tragic End At This Spot, November 9 1917’. Runanga at this time had no electricity, roads were rutted rough tracks and the worst crime had been a fight at the Dunollie Hotel, an offence for which the participants were fined £1 each. The worst was miners were not paid the lost weekly wages. The newly created town (1903) entered the history books as the scene of armed heist with two fatalities.
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