The first eight-hour day
1856 The first eight-hour working day procession was held, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
In March, 1856, stonemasons working on Melbourne University held a public meeting and agreed that from April 21 they would work for only eight hours a day. Each working day should be one-third sleep, one-third work and one-third leisure. Their goal was achieved in exactly one month, on the following May 21.
It was not a new concept; Robert Owen (1771 - 1858) had raised the demand for a ten-hour day as early as 1810, and instituted it in his socialist enterprise at New Lanark, Scotland. As early as 1817 he had formulated the goal of the eight-hour day and coined the slogan "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest" ...
Categories: australia, labor-history