What Charles Copeman Achieved at Robe River

Charles Copeman died on June 27. At the annual conference of the H.R. Nicholls Society eleven days later, his role in the 1986 Robe River conflict was remembered by former president Ray Evans. He described Charles as the Daniel confronting a den of the great and good of Australian politics.

Charles was also remembered in the award of this year’s Copeman Medal for service to freedom of employment to Dr Chris Roberts, chief executive officer of Cochlear Limited. In years past, Charles himself was present for the award of the medal. This year, the award was honoured by the presence of Charles’s widow, Alison.

As recalled at the Thanksgiving Service for his life on July 3 at St James’s Church, Sydney, Charles Copeman was a “business leader of lasting impact”, due in part to his reform of work practices at the Robe River iron ore mine. This brief note is to recall the Robe River affair of twenty-seven years ago. Read more