The Operative Painters' and Decorators' Union originated as a craft union in the nineteenth century. It retained this tradition within the building industry until large-scale union amalgamation occurred in the late 1980s, initiated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The Union was first registered federally in 1910 as the Federated House & Ship Painters, Paperhangers & Decorators Employees' Association Australasia. By 1915 it had become the Operative Painters & Decorators of Australasia. In 1918 the name changed again, to the Operative Painters' & Decorators' Union of Australia. Seventy-five years later, in 1993, the union amalgamated to form the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

Australian Trade Union Archives website

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