Labour Day

Labour Day Quick Facts

2020 Date5 October 2020
2021 Date4 October 2021
Labour Day

Labour Day History

Labour Day in Victoria celebrates the achievements of workers and their struggle for an 8-hour work day. On April 21, 1856, workers marched through the streets of Melbourne demanding an 8-hour working day. Their protest was ultimately successful and earned the Australians a reduced work day and more humane working conditions. The day serves to remember all of those who endured harsh working conditions and the battle to secure better working conditions.

Labour Day is an annual holiday in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory and is celebrated on the first Monday of October. Elsewhere in the country, it is referred to as Eight Hours Day or as Labour Day but celebrated on differing dates.

Labour Day Facts & Quotes

  • In Queensland, the first Labour Day celebration was held in Brisbane on 16 March 1861.
  • The original work week was reduced to 48 hours (6 days a week at 8 hours a day). The five-day week was only adopted in 1948.
  • The march that took place on 21 April 1856, saw stonemasons marching from the University of Melbourne to the Parliament House.
  • Choose a job that you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life - Confucius
  • All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today. - Pope Paul VI

Labour Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Enjoy the long weekend during the height of the Australian summer. Get out and take advantage of the weather by having a BBQ or park day.
  • Learn more about the fundamental rights of workers in Australia. The Australian Government provides a comprehensive list of your rights and obligations in the workplace. Read up and know your rights.
  • Watch a documentary about the lack of workers' rights in other countries. Some of our favourites: Santa's Workshop, Rednecks and Culchies and Apple's Broken Promises.
  • Attend a local Labour Day Parade. Most local communities host their own parade or head to a city centre and join in on the larger parade.
  • Read a popular book to help shape your perspective of workers' rights. Our favourites include: Gender, Labor and Power in the Global Apparel Industry, Fugitive Denim, Making Sweatshops and The Power to Choose.

Labour Day References and Related Sites

Wendy Lewis; Simon Balderstone; John Bowman (2006). Events that Shaped Australia. New Holland Publishers. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9. Retrieved 7 March 2016. Events That Shaped Australia Eight Hours Day Labour day

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