Norm Gallagher:  Character Assessment

Barry York interviews Peter Norden for the Australian National Archives, held at the National Library Canberra, about his memories of infamous union leader, Norm Gallagher, the State Secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation during the 1970s and 1980s.

Norm Gallagher, at the official opening of The Brosnan Centre in Sydney Road, Brunswick, IN 1986 sitting between saintly Good Shepherd Sisters, Barbara Davis and Bernadette Fox.

Barry York was a student activist at La Trobe University and was himself imprisoned for several weeks at Pentridge Prison in 1972 for Contempt of Court. York was employed as a Historian with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House Canberra until his retirement in 2016.

Norm Gallagher joined the BLF in 1951 and by 1970 was elected Victorian State Secretary.

He was a high- profile member of the Communist Party of Australia.  His leadership of the BLF saved the Regent Theatre and the City Baths in Melbourne, as well as protecting the Royal Parade landscape from developers.

Following a Royal Commission, the BLF was deregistered and the union amalgamated with the CFMEU.  Norm Gallagher was imprisoned for 18 months in the 1980’s for unlawfully obtaining some building materials from developers.  He died in Melbourne in 1999.

This recording with Peter Norden, was made by Barry York in 2000.




Looking for an expert witness with 40 years experience of working with offenders and the criminal justice system?

Need a Pre-Sentence Assessment completed by a professional with high credibility in the courts?

Peter Norden, A.O. is able to provide these services with a high level of professionalism and expertise.

Peter Norden, a former Pentridge Prison Chaplain, commenced work with young offenders in 1968, working as an Honorary Probation Officer within the inner city.

In 1977 he opened the Brosnan Centre for 17-25 year old young men and women, upon their release from correctional facilities.

From 1985 – 1992, he was the Senior Catholic Chaplain to the Victorian Prison system, working with those on remand and those underdoing periods of imprisonment. He has recently retired from the leadership of Jesuit Social Services.

In 2007, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (A.O.) “for service to community development through social research and programs aimed at assisting marginalised young people and offenders, to the mental health sector, and to the Catholic Church in Australia”.

He is presently working at the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, as a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow. He also holds a position as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at R.M.I.T. University.

Peter Norden can make a unique contribution to the defence of your client both during the trial stage and at the sentencing phase.