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Heritage Note no.1 2017 - The origins of the eight-hour day in Victoria


The origins of the Victorian eight-hour day

The eight-hour day was achieved by Victorian stonemasons in April 1856 after they staged a strike on the Parliament House building site. A number of other trades had success in gaining an eight-hour work day, particularly when the economy was thriving. Legislation to formalise the eight hours system was not successful in the Victorian Parliament, although the Government eventually agreed to apply the principle to all government contracts. Extended shop opening hours and the rapid growth of manufacturing industries meant long hours and poor conditions for many unskilled workers. The worst excesses were investigated by the Shops Royal Commission of 1882 and were partly addressed by amendments to factory legislation. A monument to commemorate the struggles of the Eight Hours movement was unveiled in 1903.

Separation, gold and population growth

On 1 July 1851, Victoria — previously known as the Port Phillip District — formally separated from New South Wales, following the passage of An Act for the Better Government of Her Majesty's Australian Colonies in the British Parliament.[1] Within a week of separation, gold was discovered at Clunes and soon after at Warrandyte, which started a major Victorian gold rush.[2] Fortune hunters rushed to the goldfields to try their luck and, within a short time, the population of Victoria had grown enormously, swollen by arrivals from other colonies and overseas.[3] Victoria's population grew from just over 77,000 in 1851 to 409,000 by the time of the 1857 census, easily overtaking New South Wales.[4]

From November 1851, the independent colony of Victoria was governed by a 30-member Legislative Council and the Lieutenant-Governor, Charles La Trobe.[5] Operating from a temporary location at St. Patrick's Hall on Bourke Street, the Legislative Council Members faced a number of challenges, including learning how to make sense of new parliamentary procedures and how to govern effectively to meet the demands of the rapidly growing population.[6] Despite many difficulties, the Legislative Council managed to create three enduring legacies by the time of its last meeting in March 1856: the Victorian Constitution had been drafted; the secret ballot had been introduced for parliamentary elections (a world first); and the construction of a permanent parliament building in Spring Street had begun.[7]

The Constitution Act and construction begins on Parliament House

The location of the new Parliament House had to be decided. The preferred position, on the eastern side of Spring Street, had originally been recommended by Surveyor-General Robert Hoddle in December 1851; the site was significant as the traditional ceremonial grounds and meeting place of five Aboriginal tribes of the Port Phillip region.[8] In April 1853, the Legislative Council held a public competition for the design of the building, but the winning drawings were not used.[9]

The Legislative Council asked the Colonial Engineer, Captain Charles Pasley, to produce new plans in April 1854.[10] A Select Committee recommended that his plans be adopted, so the Public Works Department began drafting detailed drawings.[11] Soon afterwards, the Legislative Council finally voted in favour of the site for the proposed building.[12]

After an 18-month wait, the Constitution Act was approved by the British Parliament and proclaimed in Victoria on 23 November 1855. The day was declared a public holiday for 'the most memorable political event' that the colony had seen.[13] Victoria's new Constitution introduced a Westminster-style system of responsible government with a bicameral parliament made up of a Legislative Council and a Legislative Assembly.[14]

The Constitution Act settled the question of how many legislative chambers would be needed in the new building, so work could proceed. The Parliament design project was handed on to architect John George Knight, who recruited the services of his colleague, Peter Kerr.[15] They were an effective team; Peter Kerr took charge of reworking the design and John Knight took responsibility for supervising the early stages of the building.[16]

As the legislative chambers were needed for the start of the new parliament, they were to be built first, with the rest of the building to follow in later stages.[17] A number of early contracts for building works were won by a construction company run by William Cornish, whose workers started on the Legislative Assembly foundations late in December 1855. Within a few months, the foundations for the Legislative Council chambers were also underway.[18]

Building boom

The Victorian Parliament House was one of several major buildings under construction in Melbourne in 1856; other major projects underway at the time included Victoria Barracks, Pentridge Prison and the lunatic asylum in Kew.[19] The wealth produced from gold had boosted the building industry and skilled workers were in high demand.[20] The early 1850s had seen the formation of several trade associations and societies in Melbourne, but many folded due to lack of members when the gold rush started.[21] From 1855, an influx of English artisans to the colony (many attracted by the higher wages on offer) helped to revive the fortunes of the trade unions.[22]

Chartists and unionists

The eight-hour day movement originated in Britain, where industrialisation and unregulated factory work had rapidly changed and degraded working conditions; the slogan of 'eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest' was coined by Robert Owen, a Welsh manufacturer and socialist reformer, as early as 1817.[23] A number of new arrivals to Victoria already had considerable experience in unionism and the Chartist movement in the United Kingdom, notably stonemasons James Stephens and James Galloway.[24] They quickly involved themselves in the central issue that concerned workers in 1855–56, which was the length of the working day.[25]

By the end of 1855, James Stephens and James Galloway had become president and secretary of the Operative Stonemasons' Society and other trade unions were being formed for carpenters and joiners, plasterers, bricklayers and cabinet-makers.[26] The highly skilled masons were seen as the elite of the trades and organised themselves along similar lines to the British stonemasons' unions.[27]

James Galloway expressed some of the hopes of new immigrants to the colonies when he said 'we have come 16,000 miles to better our condition, and not to act the mere part of machinery'.[28] In Australia the unrelenting summer heat was a factor in the campaign for shorter working hours, as was the argument for more leisure time to give workers greater opportunities for education and self-improvement in the developing cultural life of the colony.[29]

Early closing and NSW stonemasons' early victory

Shop assistants had been the first group of workers to agitate for shorter hours and earlier closing in the colonies, when working 12- or 14-hour days was common.[30] The Early Closing Association achieved some success early in 1856 when store owners agreed to new closing hours.[31] Stonemasons in New South Wales, who worked ten-hour days like their Victorian counterparts (often working a 58-hour week, including eight hours on Saturdays), had gone on strike for an eight-hour day in August 1855 and had been largely successful, although their terms included a reduction in wages.[32] Further strike action in February 1856 secured their eight-hour day goal.[33]

Stonemasons organise

Victoria in 1856 had 'an atmosphere of political and social radicalism', along with great optimism in its abundant wealth and future prospects.[34] In this environment, James Stephens and James Galloway began the campaign for an eight-hour working day in Melbourne at a meeting of the Operative Stonemasons' Society in Collingwood in February 1856.[35] At a public meeting of building trade employers and employees at the Queen's Theatre on 26 March 1856, a majority of attendees supported the eight-hour day and agreed that the new system would start on 21 April — effectively giving employers one month's notice.[36]

The ease with which agreement was reached on the eight-hour day has been attributed to the fluid nature of building work at the time — the widespread practice of sub-contracting meant that every skilled tradesman could be an employee one day and an employer the next.[37] A further mass meeting on the eight hours question, held on 11 April 1856, supported the motion put by Dr Thomas Embling (MLC for North Bourke) that called for 'an abridgement of the hours' of labour.[38] Dr Embling was applauded for his statement that the hours of the day should be divided by three, with eight hours assigned each to labour, 'mental and bodily recreation' and repose.[39]

The eight hours deadline: 21 April 1856

On the appointed day, 21 April, trades organisers found that two contractors had not agreed to the new hours of work at current wages: Mr Holmes at the Western Market and Mr Cornish at Parliament House.[40] The contractors would agree to the eight-hour day only if the workers accepted one-fifth less wages.[41] Masons at Parliament were already on strike in protest at Mr Cornish's proposal to lower wages from 15 to 13 shillings per day.[42] Building workers at the University of Melbourne, led by James Stephens and the masons, decided to 'down tools' and march into town in protest.[43]

The march attracted workers from building sites along the way and a crowd of more than 700 men made their way to Eastern Hill, the Parliament site, where those still working agreed to strike until the contractors agreed to their terms.[44] James Galloway wrote to the newspapers to explain that those who had marched had already received the 'great blessing' of the eight-hour day, but they were not justified in 'accepting the boon' from their employers unless it was universal.[45] Mr Holmes gave in before nightfall, 'seeing that nearly the whole of the employers had given way'.[46]

A deputation of workers met with Captain Pasley, the Commissioner of Public Works, who then met with Mr Cornish.[47] Captain Pasley would not stand for any further delays in Parliament's construction and, holding the threat of cancelling the contracts in reserve, he urged Mr Cornish to adopt the eight hours system with a compromise offer of 14 shillings per day.[48] Under pressure on all fronts (including the press), Mr Cornish gave in and the Parliament builders returned to work, having achieved the eight-hour day without a substantial loss of pay.[49]

The eight-hour victory in Victoria was not the first in Australia but it was among the earliest to 'establish an officially sanctioned standard … for a whole industry across a specific region'.[50] For that reason it is considered one of the 'great successes of the Australian working class during the nineteenth century'.[51] Queensland followed in 1858, when some categories of workers achieved the eight-hour day, then South Australia in 1873, Tasmania in 1874 (a nine-hour day) and Western Australia in 1896.[52]

After agreement was reached on the eight-hour day, progress on the building of Parliament's legislative chambers was rapid. By November 1856, both chambers were functional, although the interior decorative finishes took a few months to be completed.[53] Elections for the new Legislative Council had taken place during August and September 1856, with the Assembly elections held in September and October.[54] The buildings were ready for the opening of the first Parliament and the start of responsible government in Victoria, on 25 November 1856.[55]

Eight Hours procession

Celebrations of the eight hours triumph were held at locations such as the Belvidere Hotel in Brunswick Street and it was not long before the stonemasons turned their attention to organising a public event that would commemorate the eight hours victory.[56] It was arranged that all the building trades and the public would be invited to take part in festivities at Cremorne Gardens in May, with the proceeds to be donated to the Melbourne Hospital and the Benevolent Asylum.[57]

On 12 May 1856, a large crowd assembled in Carlton Gardens and formed a procession which travelled through the city, bearing flags and large banners with the eight hours slogan.[58] After a two hour march, the crowd of over 1,200 people arrived at the gardens in Richmond to enjoy dinner, a fete and an evening fireworks display.[59] The union procession became a popular annual event that marked the anniversary of the achievement of the eight-hour day.[60]

Evolution of the procession

For the 23rd eight hours procession in 1879, the government declared 21 April to be a public holiday under the Civil Service Act.[61] That year the procession was nearly a mile long, with 5,000–6,000 people taking part in the march as the parade made its way through crowded city streets, accompanied by bands and colourful trade banners.[62] An estimated 15,000 people participated in the festivities in the Friendly Societies' gardens, which included amusements, music, sporting events (including a tug-of-war) and refreshments.[63]

The procession peaked in the 1880s with 8,000–10,000 unionists marching in front of over 100,000 spectators.[64] The eight hours march remained popular and well-attended for a number of years, but began to decline after the First World War, attracting fewer participants as time went on.[65] During the Depression in 1930, with the labour movement fracturing in the face of high unemployment, the march was cancelled, replaced with a carnival and sports fair at Flemington Showgrounds.[66] The procession resumed in 1933, with the unemployed and the Communist Party marching behind their own banners.[67] In 1934, the Trades Hall Council decided to rename the event 'Labour Day',[68] excluding Communist groups and others not affiliated with Trades Hall.[69]

Though cancelled during the Second World War, Labour Day reappeared in 1946, drawing respectable crowd numbers.[70] However, the popularity of the procession began to dwindle, with the last march being held in 1951.[71] The Trades Hall Council voted (by a narrow margin) to discontinue the procession in August of that year, with the plan being to reconsider the decision before the centenary date in 1956.[72] In 1955, the event was supplanted by the Moomba Festival (supported by Melbourne City Council), which incorporated a parade on the Labour Day holiday, as well as a carnival, cultural events and motor racing at Albert Park.[73]

Spread of the eight hours system

After the stonemasons' success in 1856, the eight-hour day was soon a reality for almost all building trade workers, without a reduction in wages, and the 'boon' began to spread to other occupations such as quarrymen and harness makers.[74] However, each trade had to argue its case with employers and not all were successful in achieving their aim. Employers, despite generally supporting the eight hours principle, believed that shorter work days would make their industries less competitive with imported goods.[75]

Coachbuilders went on strike for four months in 1856, eventually settling for the eight hours system at reduced pay.[76] Bakers were successful in reducing their daily hours of work to 12 per day, with reduced night and Sunday work, and uniform wages.[77] The eight hours movement made its way to Victorian country centres but was mainly limited to the building trades.[78]

Trades Hall

By 1857, there were about 20 active unions and, by 1859, the stonemasons had 3,000 members across 13 branches in Victoria.[79] The trade associations conducted their meetings in local hotels, notably the Belvidere, but had been considering a permanent 'proper Trades Hall or Institute' since at least May 1856.[80] A Trades Hall and Literary Institute Committee was formed in mid-1857, with the task of working towards their own building with a meeting room, lecture hall and library.[81] Some of the impetus for the new building came from those who objected to the trade meetings being held in public houses.[82]

The Government granted the Trades Hall Committee a one-acre parcel of land on the corner of Victoria and Lygon Streets.[83] The land grant in March 1858 allowed that year's eight-hour day procession to begin from the site of the future Trades Hall.[84] A temporary building, financed by supporters, was opened in May 1859.[85] The Building Committee imagined that their future permanent building would eventually be 'a triumphal monument to the successful establishment of the Eight Hours system'.[86] The current Trades Hall building was planned in the 1870s and built on the same site in stages between 1874 and 1925.[87]

Charles Jardine Don, the working man's MP

Charles Jardine Don, a Scottish stonemason, had travelled to Victoria in 1853 to look for gold, after being involved in the Chartist agitation in Britain.[88] After 18 fruitless months at the Ballarat diggings, he made his way to Melbourne, picked up his old trade and joined the stonemasons' union.[89] He eventually become union chairman in 1858, the same year that he was vice-president of the Eight Hours Labour League.[90] Mr Don, an experienced public speaker who was keen to advance working class interests, immersed himself in the politics of the colony and was involved in the Victorian land reform movement.[91]

The Victorian Parliament passed two Acts in 1857 that were important for democratic reform: property qualifications for members of the Legislative Assembly were abolished and universal manhood suffrage was introduced for electors of the Assembly.[92] Mr Don failed to win a seat in Parliament when he first campaigned in 1857, but he ran again, winning the seat of Collingwood in 1859 with the support of the Political and Social Labour League of Victoria.[93] In one of his many campaign speeches he said that the working classes had been 'too long unrepresented in the Assembly'.[94] At the declaration of the poll he claimed his win was a triumph for the dignity of labour.[95]

Financial difficulties meant that he continued to work as a mason during the day and attend Parliament as the Member for Collingwood at night; he readily gave his support to motions calling for the introduction of payment for Members of Parliament.[96] Mr Don moved a motion in the Assembly on 29 November 1859, stating that all future government contracts should be worked according to the eight-hour system.[97] His proposal was debated and received limited support, but Mr Don withdrew the motion when it became clear that it would not be passed.[98] As the (self-proclaimed) first working class representative in 'any legislature in the British Empire', his parliamentary career was relatively short; he lost his seat in 1864, suffered poor health and died of tuberculosis in 1866.[99]

Attempts to legislate for change

At the end of the 1850s, the eight-hour day had not been achieved for all workers; it was limited to skilled building trades and occupations such as metal workers, shipwrights and saddlers.[100] The stonemasons were forced to stage a number of strikes in order to maintain their own eight-hour day agreement in the late 1850s.[101] Poor economic conditions in the 1860s affected the viability of unions and their eight-hour day agreements often evaporated or were wound back, although the principle lived on and its supporters increasingly turned their minds to political solutions.[102]

On 3 November 1869, a petition was presented to Parliament by John Everard, the Member for Collingwood, which had been signed by 8,000 artisans, labourers and workers.[103] The petition asked for several things: an inquiry into the social benefits of the eight hours system; that public works be carried out according to that system; that the legal working day in Victoria be eight hours long; and that the hours of work for young people should be restricted.[104]

James Casey, the Member for Mandurang, made reference to the petition when he introduced a Labour Bill the same day, with the purpose of 'legalising' the eight-hour day, making it the default labour arrangement.[105] Mr Casey's proposed Bill met with lively debate. He said such a Bill had long been promised to people interested in the eight hours movement and, if the principle were sound, it should be applied generally to all.[106] Although the Bill received some support from other Members during the debate, it did not progress any further.[107] Another of Mr Casey's Labour Bills managed to pass the Assembly in November 1871, but did not progress in the Legislative Council.[108]

Lobbying of Members of the Government by the Short Hours League had the desired impact in 1870 when the Premier, John MacPherson, made a statement that the Government proposed to 'adopt the eight-hour system in all government contracts'.[109] Mr Everard described the eight hours system as 'a law … established by custom'.[110]

Seamstresses and the first Factory Act

The growth of Victorian manufacturing and industries in the 1870s, such as clothing, tanneries, breweries, woollen mills and food processing, meant that larger, factory-style employment became more common.[111] However, the great majority of workers had nobody to represent their interests.[112] The Ballarat Courier drew attention to the plight of sewing girls and seamstresses employed by drapery shops in Ballarat, where they were routinely overworked and underpaid, working up to 16 hours a day.[113]

William Collard Smith (known as Major Smith), the Member for Ballarat West, introduced a Bill in 1873 that became known as the 'Factory Act' (The Supervision of Workrooms and Factories Statute 1873).[114] The Bill aimed to protect all seamstresses and improve working conditions in factories by fixing the hours of labour for female workers at eight hours per day and allowing inspections to be carried out by local Boards of Health.[115]

The Act came into operation on 1 January 1874 — becoming the first Factory Act enacted in the colonies — but in practice it was not very effective.[116] The Council had amended the definition of 'factory' to mean a place where ten or more people worked (which excluded many smaller workrooms) and enforcement was an ongoing problem, as local council Boards were influenced by manufacturing interests and inspections were often inadequate.[117]

Progress towards shorter hours

Eight-hour day clauses were gradually included in Victorian legislation as industry-specific issues came to light. The Regulation of Mines Statute 1877 made it unlawful for women to work in mines and restricted employment for all miners to eight hours a day, for a maximum of 48 hours per week.[118] In 1882, changes were made to limit the hours of contractors employed by the Melbourne Harbour Trust and tram drivers also had their working day set at eight hours.[119]

Early closing pressure leads to an Inquiry

The early closing movement, which had previously campaigned for shorter business hours, was revived by the Salesmen's and Assistants' Union in 1881.[120] By that time most shop assistants again worked long hours, up to 14 or 16 hours a day.[121] A large public meeting of the group, held at the Melbourne Town Hall in September 1881, voted in favour of the resolution that shops should close at 7pm five days a week and at 10pm on Saturdays.[122]

The 'Employés in Shops Bill' was introduced by John Gardiner, the Member for Carlton (with the support of Alfred Deakin, Member for West Bourke) on 20 September 1881, with the object of regulating and shortening working hours for shop employees.[123] In his second reading speech, Mr Gardiner said that he sought to 'remedy a growing evil'.[124] The response to the proposed Bill from Members was mixed; eventually Mr Gardiner was convinced to refer the issue to a Select Committee, which was appointed in November 1881.[125]

Tailoresses' Union

The 1880s saw a great surge in the number of trade unions, including semi-skilled and unskilled occupations, as manufacturing industries experienced rapid growth.[126] A strike by female tailoring workers in December 1882, in protest against a clothing manufacturing company's attempts to reduce piece-rate wages, led to the formation of the first female union, the Melbourne Tailoresses' Association.[127] The tailoresses called a general strike in mid-February 1883.[128]

There was a wave of public support for the striking workers as their long hours, terrible working conditions and poor wages were exposed in the press; eventually most of the employers accepted their log of claims and small wage increases were won.[129] The strike was also a major factor in strengthening the terms of reference of the Shops Select Committee.[130]

Shops Royal Commission

By January 1882, under pressure from Members of Parliament, the unions and The Age newspaper, the Shops Select Committee was upgraded to a Royal Commission chaired by Major Smith.[131] The Commission's powers were later extended to consider the broader question of employment relations and the machinery for determining disputes.[132] In its second progress report, the Commission expressed the opinion that 'an Act of Parliament alone could bring solidity and permanence to the eight hours movement'.[133]

After two years of interviewing witnesses and inspecting factories and workplaces around Victoria, the Commission produced its final report in 1884 with a list of 39 recommendations.[134] The Commission recommended a complete revision of the Victorian Factory Act 1874, saying that the eight hours system should be one of the 'fundamental principles' of a new Bill.[135] It also recommended the registration and inspection of factories, measures to regulate ventilation, lighting, sanitary conditions and meal breaks, limits to the working hours of those under 16 years of age, restrictions on apprentices and the prohibition of the 'sweating' system of outwork.[136]

The Commission report was well received by the trade unions, but the Chamber of Manufactures was affronted by the findings. At a manufacturers' meeting in April 1884, the report was described as a libel on all their members, dividing employers and their employees into 'scoundrels' and 'saints' respectively.[137] One manufacturer complained that the proposed system of 'inquisitorial inspection' with the power to look at wages books amounted to 'persecution'.[138] Others, more receptive to reform, believed that improvements in employment conditions would promote greater efficiency.[139]

Parliamentary roadblocks

Direct legislative moves towards an eight-hour day continued to fail in Parliament. The Member for Carlton, John Gardiner, introduced an Eight Hour Bill in the Assembly in 1883 but it was not debated.[140] A Bill introduced in the Assembly in 1885 by John James, the Member for Ballarat East, tried again to give broad 'legal recognition' to the eight hours principle. It managed to pass the Assembly but was negatived in the Council.[141]

Related legislation

The Victorian Parliament passed the Trades Unions Act 1884 in December of that year, modelled along the lines of English legislation.[142] It gave unions legal standing, which enabled them to hold property and control their own affairs.[143] The trade societies affiliated with Trades Hall maintained their focus on progressing the shorter working week, the eight-hour day and the Saturday half-holiday, sharing ideas at the Intercolonial Trades Union Congresses held throughout the 1880s.[144]

Factories and Shops Act 1885

It was 18 months after the Shops Commission's report that Alfred Deakin's Factories, Workrooms and Shops Bill (his second attempt) finally passed both houses of Parliament, becoming the Factories and Shops Act 1885. The Bill limited the working week to 48 hours for all female factory employees and males under 16 years of age, but Mr Deakin considered it impossible for the Bill to 'extend the privilege to the whole of the working classes'.[145]

Mr Deakin had revised the legislation (after consultation with manufacturers) and the Legislative Council made more changes: increasing the minimum size of factories to six employees and reducing record-keeping requirements and penalties.[146] The Bill proposed general shop closing hours of 7pm (10pm on Saturdays) but municipal councils were given the power to vary the hours, which meant the issue remained contentious for years.[147] For all its limitations, the Act that passed in late 1885 created an inspectorate, eliminated child labour and introduced improvements to working conditions, such as sanitation and safeguards for dangerous machinery.[148]

1896 Factories Act

Ongoing concerns about the outworking practices in the tailoring trades led to further inquiries into factories in the 1890s.[149] Agitation in the press and by the Anti-Sweating League increased the pressure to crack down on the sweating trades.[150] The Factory Act was amended in 1896 to deal with a range of outstanding issues.[151] The main measures addressed outwork, excessive work hours, cleanliness, ventilation and shop closing hours; the Act also established special boards to fix wages and piece rates across a number of industries.[152]

Eight Hours monument

More than twelve years after it had first been planned, an eight hours monument was unveiled in Carpentaria Reserve (now Gordon Reserve) on Spring Street on 21 April 1903.[153] The monument was funded by public subscription, costing £2,000; the economic depression of the 1890s had caused the project to stall.[154] The unveiling was attended by a crowd of 1,500, including some of the pioneers of the movement.[155] The monument (originally designed by sculptor Percival Ball) comprised a pillar of Harcourt granite topped with the numerals 888 and a globe encircled by the words 'Rest, Labour & Recreation'.[156] A second unveiling took place in 1924, when the monument was moved to its current location at the corner of Victoria and Russell Streets, opposite Trades Hall.[157]

Work hours after Federation

Over half of Victorian urban wage earners enjoyed the eight-hour day by 1890.[158] The shorter hours were largely won as the result of direct action on the part of workers and their unions; organised labour did try to make the principle universal by lobbying for legislative action.[159] Eight hours Bills were not successful in Victoria but an Eight Hours Act finally did pass in New South Wales in 1916, limiting the working week to 48 hours.[160] The Bill was introduced with the Minister's comment that it concerned a question which had been 'agitating the industrial community for the last sixty years'.[161]

The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration (established in 1904) approved a 44-hour week in 1939 that applied nationally; in 1947, it was further reduced to a five-day week of 40 hours, which took effect in January 1948.[162] It was not until the 1980s that a 38-hour week became the standard in Australia, which remains the case today.[163] Working hours — whether too many or not enough — continue to be an issue of enduring interest to Victorian and Australian workers.[164]




[1] R. Wright (2001) A Blended House: The Legislative Council of Victoria, 1851-1856, Melbourne, Department of the Legislative Council, p. 3.

[2] ibid., p. 9.

[3] D. Garden (1984) Victoria: A History, Melbourne, Thomas Nelson, p. 72.

[4] 'Population, colonies and states 1828-1981' (table), in W. Vamplew (ed.) (1987) Australians: Historical statistics, Broadway, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, p. 26.

[5] R. Wright (1992) A People's Counsel: A history of the Parliament of Victoria, 1856-1990, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, p. 9.

[6] ibid., pp. 14-15.

[7] ibid., pp. 15-22.

[8] ibid., p. 54; Heritage Council Victoria (2000) Victorian Heritage Database Report - Parliament House: Statement of significance.

[9] G. Tibbits (1971) 'Parliament House: Melbourne', in Australian Council of National Trusts (1971) Historic public buildings of Australia: Volume Two, North Melbourne, Cassell Australia Limited, p. 156; R. Wright (1999) Building Parliament House 1855-1930, Melbourne, Department of the Legislative Council, p. 6.

[10] R. Wright (1999) op. cit., p. 6.

[11] ibid.

[12] R. Wright (2001) op. cit., p. 79.

[13] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p.18; (1855) 'The Proclamation Day a holiday', The Argus, 15 November, p. 4.

[14] Table Office, Department of the Legislative Council (2011) 'Victoria's first Legislative Council', Information Sheet 7.

[15] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p. 23.

[16] G. Tibbits (1971) op. cit., p. 156.

[17] G. H. Jenkins (1886) A short history and description of the Parliament House, Melbourne, Melbourne, John Ferres, Government Printer, p. 12.

[18] N. Chlebnikowski (1970?) The Historic development of the building of Parliament House, Melbourne, Thesis prepared for Bachelor of Architecture degree, University of Melbourne, pp. 65-67.

[19] R. McNicoll (1974) 'Pasley, Charles (1824-1890)', Australian Dictionary of Biography online.

[20] R. Gollan (1960) Radical and working class politics: A study of eastern Australia, 1850-1910, Parkville, Melbourne University Press in association with the Australian National University, p. 70.

[21] G. Serle (1963) The Golden Age: A history of the colony of Victoria 1851-1861, Carlton, Melbourne University Press, p. 212.

[22] ibid.

[23] R. Cahill (2007) 'The eight hour day and the Holy Spirit', Recorder, Issue No. 253, March 2007, p. 1.

[24] G. Serle (1963) op. cit.

[25] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 71.

[26] H. Hughes (1961) 'The eight hour day and the development of the labour movement in Victoria in the eighteen-fifties', in Historical Studies: Australia and New Zealand, volume 9 (November 1959 – May 1961), p. 397.

[27] D. J. Shiel (1994) Charles Jardine Don: The people's man: Australian labour's first parliamentarian, North Melbourne, Garravembi Press, p. 29.

[28] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., pp. 398-399.

[29] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 213.

[30] ibid.

[31] ibid., pp. 397-398.

[32] K. S. Inglis (1974) The Australian Colonists: An exploration of social history 1788-1870, Carlton, Melbourne University Press, p. 120; R. Cahill (2007) op. cit., pp. 5-6.

[33] R. Cahill (2007) op. cit., p.6.

[34] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 398.

[35] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 213.

[36] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 399.

[37] ibid., p. 400.

[38] (1856) 'The Eight hours question', The Argus, 12 April, p. 5.

[39] ibid.

[40] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 399.

[41] (1856) 'The eight hours struggle', The Age, 22 April, p. 3.

[42] (1856) 'The new houses of Parliament', The Argus, 17 April, p. 6.

[43] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 214.

[44] ibid.

[45] (1856) 'Eight hours' Labor' (letter), The Argus, 22 April, p. 7.

[46] (1856) 'The eight hours struggle', The Age, 22 April, p. 3.

[47] (1856) 'Domestic intelligence', The Argus, 23 April, p. 5; G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 214; H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 399.

[48] ibid.

[49] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 214; K. S. Inglis (1974), op. cit., p. 118.

[50] P. Love (2006) 'Report: Melbourne celebrates the 150th anniversary of its Eight Hour Day', Labour History, No. 91, November 2006, p. 193.

[51] R. Cahill (2007) op. cit., p.5.

[52] E. C. Fry (1956) 'The conditions of the urban wage earning class in Australia in the 1880s', PhD Thesis, Australian National University, pp. 238-258; M. Bachelard (2001) 'The struggle for leisure', The Australian, 27 January, p. 20.

[53] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p. 25; G. H. Jenkins (1886) op. cit., p. 12.

[54] D. Garden (1984) op. cit., p. 120.

[55] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p. 31.

[56] (1856) 'The eight hours system', The Age, 1 May, p. 2.

[57] ibid.; K. S. Inglis (1974) op. cit., p. 119.

[58] (1856) 'The eight hours movement', The Argus, 13 May, p. 5.

[59] ibid.

[60] D. Garden (1984) op. cit., p. 133.

[61] Government of Victoria (1879) 'Public holiday', Victoria Government Gazette, No. 43, 18 April, p. 857.

[62] (1879) 'The eight hours demonstration', The Age, 22 April, p. 3.

[63] ibid.

[64] J. Rich (2007) 'The traditions and significance of the Eight Hours Day for building unionists in Victoria, 1856-90', in J. Kimber & P. Love (eds.) The time of their lives: The eight hour day and working life, Melbourne, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, p. 34.

[65] K. Cassells (2010) 'Politics and meaning: Melbourne's Eight Hours Day and Anzac Day, 1928-1935', Marxist Interventions, No. 2, p. 83.

[66] ibid., p. 90.

[67] ibid., pp. 90-91.

[68] (1934) 'New rules for Eight Hours Day', The Argus, 12 January, p. 8.

[69] K. Cassells (2010) op. cit., p. 92.

[70] (1946) 'Labor Day march', The Age, 2 April, p. 2; (1947) '5,000 in Labor Day march', The Weekly Times, 12 March, p. 6.

[71] (1946) 'Labor Day march', The Age, 2 April, p. 2; P. Love (2005) 'Labour', in A. Brown-May & S. Swain (eds.) (2005) The Encyclopedia of Melbourne, Port Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, p. 396.

[72] (1951) 'Labor Day march to be discontinued', The Age, 10 August, p. 4.

[73] Editorial (1955) 'Three cheers for Moomba!', The Argus, 28 March, p. 4; (1954) 'Council's move on 'Moomba'', The Age, 6 May, p. 5.

[74] K. S. Inglis (1974) op. cit., p. 118.

[75] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 400 – 401.

[76] ibid.

[77] ibid.

[78] ibid.

[79] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., pp. 243-244.

[80] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., pp. 405-406; (1856) 'The eight hours system', The Age, 1 May 1856, p. 2.

[81] G. Serle (1963) op. cit., p. 244.

[82] (1857) 'Trades' meetings', The Age, 1 June, p. 5.

[83] H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 406.

[84] C. Brigden (2005) 'Creating Labour's space: The case of the Melbourne Trades Hall', Labour History, Number 89, November, p. 128.

[85] ibid.

[86] (1859) 'Eight hours' festival', The Argus, 23 April, p. 5.

[87] 'The history of Trades Hall', Victorian Trades Hall Council website.

[88] S. Merrifield (1972) 'Don, Charles Jardine (1820-1866)', Australian Dictionary of Biography online.

[89] ibid.

[90] ibid.

[91] ibid.; D. J. Shiel (1994) op. cit., pp. 41-53.

[92] D. Garden (1984) op. cit., p. 123.

[93] (1859) 'The nominations', The Argus, 22 August, p. 6; H. Hughes (1961) op. cit., p. 409.

[94] ibid.

[95] (1859) 'The elections', The Argus, 31 August, p. 6.

[96] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p. 35; P. Strangio (2012) Neither power nor glory: 100 years of political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, Carlton, Melbourne University Press, p. 5.

[97] C. J. Don (1859) 'The eight-hour system', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 29 November, p. 111.

[98] D. J. Shiel (1994) op. cit., p. 97.

[99] R. Wright (1992) op. cit., p. 35; S. Merrifield (1972) op. cit.

[100] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., pp. 74-75.

[101] N. Ebbels (1983) The Australian Labor movement 1850- 1907: Historical documents, Marrickville, Hale & Iremonger, p. 8.

[102] ibid., p. 75; R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 75.

[103] (1869) 'Petition', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 3 November, p. 2162.

[104] ibid.

[105] J. Casey (1869) 'Labour Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 3 November, p. 2189.

[106] ibid., p. 2191.

[107] (1869) 'Labour Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 28 December, p. 2744.

[108] (1871) 'Labour Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Council, 16 November, p. 1860.

[109] J. A. MacPherson (1870) 'Government contracts and the Eight Hour system', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 22 March, p. 245; (1870) 'The Eight Hours Movement', Leader, 12 February, p. 20.

[110] (1870) 'The Eight Hours movement', The Age, 9 February, p. 3.

[111] D. Garden (1984) op. cit., pp. 132-133.

[112] ibid., p. 134.

[113] (1873) 'Our sewing girls', The Ballarat Courier, 30 April, p. 4.

[114] W. Bate (1976) 'Smith, William Collard (1830-1894)', Australian Dictionary of Biography online.

[115] W. C. Smith (1873) 'Employment of Females Regulation Bill (No. 2)', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 16 July, p. 750.

[116] M. Quinlan (1989) 'Pre-arbitral labour legislation in Australia and its implications for the introduction of compulsory arbitration', in S. Macintyre & R. Mitchell (eds) (1989) Foundations of arbitration, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, p. 42.

[117] D. Garden (1984) op. cit., p. 134; R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 88; J. Hagan (1964) 'Employers, Trade Unions and the First Victorian Factory Acts', Labour History, No. 7, p. 4.

[118] Government of Victoria (1877) The Regulation of Mines Statute 1877, Melbourne John Ferres, Government Printer, p. 2 (s. 5).

[119] S. Webb and H. Cox (1891) The Eight Hours Day, London, Walter Scott, p. 40.

[120] E. C. Fry (1956) op. cit., p. 174.

[121] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 90.

[122] (1881) 'Salesmen and Assistants' Union', The Age, 15 September, p. 3.

[123] J. Gardiner (1881) 'Employés in Shops Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 20 September, p. 78.

[124] J. Gardiner (1881) 'Employés in Shops Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 19 October, p. 437.

[125] ibid., p. 445; J. Gardiner, 'Employés in Shops Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 16 November, p. 762.

[126] E. C. Fry (1956) op. cit., p. 167 and p. 172.

[127] (1862) 'The workwomen's strike', The Age, 16 December, p. 6.

[128] (1883) 'Tailoresses' strike', The Argus, 15 February, p. 8.

[129] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 89.

[130] N. Gunningham (1984) Safeguarding the worker: Job hazards and the role of the law, North Ryde, The Law Book Company Limited, p. 67.

[131] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 92; W. C. Smith (1884) Royal Commission on Employés in Shops: Report on the Operation of the Victorian Factory Act 1874, Melbourne, John Ferres, Government Printer, p. iii.

[132] Government of Victoria (1883) Victoria Government Gazette, No. 48, 27 April, p. 879.

[133] W. C. Smith (1883) Employés in Shops Commission: Second Progress Report, Melbourne, John Ferres, Government Printer, p. 13.

[134] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 92.

[135] W. C. Smith (1884) op. cit., p. xiii.

[136] ibid., pp. vi and xiii-xv; 'Sweated' labour was the term used to describe the long hours, poor conditions and low pay of workers.

[137] (1884) 'Victorian Chamber of Manufactures', The Argus, 1 April, p. 7.

[138] ibid.

[139] G. Serle (1971) The rush to be rich: A history of the colony of Victoria, 1883-1889, Carlton, Melbourne University Press, p. 103.

[140] J. Gardiner (1883) 'Eight Hours Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 18 April, p. 295.

[141] J. James (1885) 'Eight Hours Legalization Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 23 September, p. 1213; (1885) Eight Hours Legalization Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Council, 13 October, p. 1403.

[142] R. Gollan (1960) op. cit., p. 79.

[143] A. Deakin (1884) 'Trades Unions Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 9 October, p. 1727.

[144] N. Ebbels (1983) op. cit., pp. 11-12.

[145] A. Deakin (1884) 'Workrooms and Factories Law Amendment Bill', Debates, Victorian Legislative Assembly, 18 November, p. 2170

[146] G. Serle (1971) op. cit., p. 105.

[147] ibid.

[148] ibid., p. 104.

[149] E. C. Fry (1956) op. cit., p. 133.

[150] N. Gunningham (1984) op. cit., p. 70.

[151] ibid.

[152] ibid.; M. Quinlan (1989) op. cit., p. 42.

[153] (1903) 'Eight Hours monument', The Age, 3 March, p. 6.

[154] Heritage Council Victoria (2005) Victorian Heritage Database Report – Eight Hour Monument: Statement of significance.

[155] (1903) 'Eight Hours memorial', The Age, 22 April, p. 6.

[156] Heritage Council Victoria (2005) op. cit.

[157] (1924) 'Eight Hours monument', The Age, 14 February, p. 14.

[158] E. C. Fry (1956) op. cit., p. 238.

[159] M. Quinlan (1989) op. cit., p. 43.

[160] (1916) 'The Eight-Hours Act', Sunday Times, 16 April, p. 2.

[161] J. Estell (1915) 'Eight Hours Bill', Debates, New South Wales Legislative Assembly, 9 September, p. 1712.

[162] Australian Trade Union Archives (2010)

[163] ibid.; Fair Work Ombudsman (2015) 'Maximum weekly hours and the National Employment Standards', Fact Sheet, Fair Work Ombudsman, p. 1.

[164] J. Medew (2017) 'When working is bad for your health', The Age, 3 February, p. 2; A. Creighton (2017) 'All jobs created in past year were part-time', The Australian, 17 February, p. 2.