Revenge was just one of the catalysts responsible for the disposal of the Australian Commonwealth Shipping Line to Great Britain. In reality the final sale was a gift to a conglomerate of British shipowners; five new passenger ships and two large special purpose vessels all that remained of 57 ships. Ships sold for little more than their scrap value with a small down payment followed by default.
28men depicts an explosive period of endemic industrial disputation, the near general strike that crippled New South Wales in 1917. During this volatile period of strikes, union power, political intrigues and a world at war, there emerged from near anarchy a conservative cohesion of political forces within the Australian government.
A coalition of Nationalist and Country Party had ample justification to crush the union movement; the Moreton Bay debacle as flagship of the Sydney Harbour Regatta, the Bass Strait ferry Loongana near tragedy, and the doomed union struggle against the introduction of a foreign time and motion regime.
On a permanent confrontational footing strode the Wobblies through the shambles, Industrial Workers of the World who fearlessly fought the establishment with sometimes disastrous results. Out of this turmoil a chance meeting in New York between a young Australian seaman and an I.W.W. organiser grew a love story as turbulent as the period.