They formed in 1982 with five musicians and today, decades later, have eight members and a never ending number of special guests. The unusual name was chosen early in the bands career when playing at a pub frequented by the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, the band had no name and chose Painters and Dockers for the event, and the name stayed with the band from then on.
Several members of the band went on to form the highly successful Dili Allstars.
The Painters and Dockers released six albums between 1984 and 1994, which featured a selection of sarcastic and amusing singles, such as “Die Yuppie Die” from 1988’s Kiss My Art and pro-queer and anti-monarchy “I Know Better Queens Than That” from 1994’s The Things That Matter.
Their greatest chart success was achieved with 1985’s Nude School which received air play on a number of commercial radio stations and which was marked by its controversial lyrics and video clip.
In the earlier years, they were the headline act at the Port Melbourne Festival, and in a Government initiative called Rockin’ The Rails, played songs from the back of a train, as it stopped at various Melbourne stations, including Ringwood, Camberwell and Flinders St.
Singer Paul Stewart’s brother Tony was a sound recordist in the group of journalists killed in East Timor known as the Balibo.
Current band members