Allan Whittaker, a Port Melbourne waterside worker, was wounded at Gallipoli on April 25 1915. Thirteen years later on November 2 1928, during the waterfront lock out, he was shot in the back by police on the beach at Port Melbourne. He died from his wounds on January 26 1929.
Allan’s brother Percy was also at Gallipoli later serving in France and Belgium. Percy was wounded three times and each time returned to the trenches. The youngest brother, Cecil, was killed in the French trenches in 1918.
Each November the Whittaker Memorial Committee holds a commemorative service at Princes Pier to mark Allan’s death and the 1928 events.
In 2017 the State Government and the local secondary school, Albert Park College, agreed to name the pier gatehouse the Allan Whittaker Centre and it is now occupied by students from the College. At the November 2017 memorial event a group of Albert Park College students read a poem they had jointly written about Allan Whittaker. The blog, thought Anzac Day 2018 would be a good day to reproduce the poem.
You enlisted for the Great War
Distant shores are where you’d land
You took a bullet for the army corps
An honourable discharge was the command
You stood up for what you believe
For the workers’ rights that are due
You didn’t walk away or leave
A wharfie’s life is all you knew
In peacetime a second gunshot saw you fall
Protesting against scab labour on the docks
The bloody battle on the pier appal
The lack of justice and fairness mocks
RIP Allan Whittaker
The Committee is now hoping to have the Pier itself renamed as it currently honours the former Prince of Wales who became King Edward VIII, abdicated and is notorious for his support for the Nazis and racism – including a series of ugly statements about indigenous Australians during the trip here which resulted in the Pier being named after him.