In her important and warm-hearted novel, Ride on Stranger, Kylie Tennant describes labour movement battles in Sydney in the 1930s:
The strange turbulence of the city, its careless ferocity, was perhaps due to the large strain of Scots and Irish in the population, but it seemed that if anyone wanted to start a fight, there were always plenty of strangers ready and willing to join in. If the thing had a political flavour, the unions would take up the case, the Labour Leagues [the old name for Labor Party branches] would take it up. Part of the duty of the UCDL was to be out addressing meetings of Labour supporters night after night in little drafty and dusty halls all over the suburbs, putting the case for this or that protest. It was as though Sydney was encompassed with a network of separate spider webs, the spiders might be suspicious and ready to eat each other; they might be connected by a single thread, yet if you touched a strand of that network, 100 spiders leapt and danced indignantly in their webs … The Sydney of the UCDL was a network of lawyer’s offices, of bare wooden meeting halls, of committee meetings, annual conventions.