The New South Wales Locomotive Engine Drivers, Firemen and Cleaners Association was formed in 1883 and continued to function as a New South Wales-based association, with no national affiliation, until 1900. Contact between related associations in other states was mostly informal, based on the fact that locomotive drivers performed the same type of work and many had originated from Great Britain.
This loose federation continued for some years, but on October 2 1891 representatives of the Railway Locomotive Enginemen's Association of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria met in Melbourne and decided to conduct a ballot of their members with a view to forming a federated association. The move towards federation was influencing many organisations as well as political structures in Australia. After some delay the ballot was finally conducted, with an almost unanimous vote by the membership in favour of the proposition. The Federated Railway Locomotive Enginemen's Association of Australasia was formed at a meeting in Melbourne on October 1 1900.
Notable members of the Association include William Ainsworth, Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council (1925-34). He was employed by the Railways Department in 1894 as a casual; in 1900-03 as a cleaner; in 1903-11 as a fireman; and 1911 as a driver. He joined the New South Wales Locomotive, Engine-Drivers, Firemen and Cleaners Association and was NSW Secretary for the Federated Railway Locomotive Enginemen's Association of Australasia between 1911-35. He was a member of the 1917 strike committee.
NSW Tram, Rail and Bus union website http://rtbu-nsw.asn.au/locomotive/history_begng.html
NSW Parliament website http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/members.nsf/0/ca715a9e8485e1b8ca256cda001a7c0a?OpenDocument.