At a Port Adelaide Council meeting on 23 January 1917 a deputation was made by the Port Adelaide Electoral Committee of the United Labor Party.
They asked to erect a memorial drinking fountain on the corner of Commercial Road and St Vincent Street.
The fountain was to honour specifically Mr Hugh Garland, a noted Labor activist and member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. But it was decided the memorial should commemorate the many Labor leaders who had contributed to the area, some of whom had died during the war.
A concrete bed was laid by the City of Port Adelaide on 1 October and the foundation stone laid 8 November 1918 with Mayor, Mr R H Smith officiating.
In September 1921 a gathering of Port Adelaide citizens witnessed the unveiling of the completed Memorial, which featured 46 names of unionists from the area. Names have continued to be added to the Memorial; there are now a total of 136 names inscribed.
Planning is now underway to commemorate the memorial for its centenary in 2021.