Various baking trades unions formed throughout Australia in the 1860s and 1870s. The Operative Bakers’ Union of Victoria formed in October 1865, passing the motion ‘That the aim and object of this association shall be to shorten the daily hours of labor to ten, exclusive of sponging and dough making’.

The federated union was originally formed as the Baking Trades Employees' Federation of Australasia and registered in 1914. When it was deregistered in 1918 many of its members went on to form another Baking Trades Employees' Federation of Australasia. By 1950 the Union had changed its name slightly to become the Baking Trades Employees' Federation of Australia. The Union was deregistered in 1981 and its members were accepted into the Bakery Employees' & Salesmen's Federation of Australia, which in 1995 amalgamated into the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union, which in 2011 became United Voice.

Bread carters organised separately, with the Bread Carters Industrial Union operating from 1905 until 1979.

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre holds three deposits of Baking Trades Employees' Federation of Australia records, dating 1882-1982, from the New South Wales and Tasmanian branches. There is also one deposit of Bread Carters' Industrial Federation of Australia, Victorian Branch records.