Why today is a holiday

It’s Labour Day today in Victoria, marking the reduction in working hours during the 19th century to 8 hours, and the relaxation of working conditions, which in the 1840s were strict:

Conditions of the time were governed by the Master and Servant Act. Employees in Australia in 1840 who left their employment without permission were subject to being hunted down under the Bushrangers Act. As little as one hour’s absence by a free servant without permission could precipitate a punishment of prison or the treadmill.

Wikipedia: Australian labour movement

Thus this monument at the top of Russell Street in Melbourne marks the achievement of 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest.

8-hour day monument, Melbourne

8-hour day monument, Melbourne

If it were created today, it’d probably be called Work-Life-Balance Day or somesuch.

And it would probably be something more like 7.6 hours work, 2 hours commuting, 6.4 hours housework, babysitting and recreation, and 8 hours rest.

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3 thoughts on “Why today is a holiday

  1. What happened to all the increased leisure time we were supposed to be enjoying? My working day is now longer than it was ten years ago.

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