Is Labour Day a Public Holiday in Australia?
Labour Day is observed as a public holiday for the general population, government offices, universities, schools and colleges. Therefore, these places either remain closed or follow restricted working hours. Also, schools and colleges organize plays based on the history and importance of Labour Day in Australia. It should be kept in mind that Labour Day is observed in six states, one external territory and two territories in Australia.
Labour Day History
Labour Day history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. Labour Day in Australia is regarded as an important event that commemorates the hard work and struggles of those who stood together to ensure that the decent working conditions prevail within the employment sector of Australia. As per historical records, working hours were long and laborious during the mid-1800s, with some employees working up to 6 days a week and 12 hours a day. Such conditions made it difficult for the workers to lead a normal lifestyle.
Hence, a need for better working conditions arose during the 1850s, which led to the Eight Hour Day March in 1856 on April 21. On this day, building workers and stonemasons marched from the University of Melbourne to the Parliament House to lay emphasis on the improved working conditions. Eventually, an agreement was signed with the workers that ruled for a 48-hour working week with an eight-hours-a-day schedule. In the same year itself, these regulations were mandated in New South Wales, after which Queensland recognized it in 1858 followed by South Australia in 1873 and Tasmania in 1874.
The Victorian Government went a step ahead towards bettering the working conditions and announced a public day off in the year 1879. With a successful march, a May Day meeting was organized in 1890 in Melbourne. One of the attention-gaining and commendable May Day/Labour Day parades held in Australia was in Queensland on May 1, 1891, where approximately one thousand or 1000 people participated. These people carried banners, wore blue sashes and carried the Eureka Flag. In several parts of Australia, the date for the Labour Day changed after World War II.
Labour Day Celebrations In Australia
Since Labour Day is a public holiday in several parts of Australia, people rest at home or organize get-togethers to celebrate this historical day. Following are the days and name of states that celebrate this day, known as one of the main Holidays 2022 in Australia, with great fervour:
1. First Monday in March: Western Australia
2. Second Monday in March: Victoria and Tasmania, which also calls it Eight Hours Day
3. Fourth Monday of March: Territory of Christmas Island
4. First Monday in May: Queensland, the Northern Territory, which also calls it as May Day
5. First Monday in October: Australian Capital Territory, NSW or New South Wales and South Australia
The first full-fledged community march was carried out by building workers and stonemasons on 21 April 1856 in Melbourne, also known as Eight-Hour Day Labour Movement. On this day, people halted everything they were doing and started a march, which began from the University of Melbourne and ended at the Parliament House. Since they protested directly, their actions got recognition from the government itself, thereby making the march successful.
On Labour Day, Australian natives use this opportunity to plan a long weekend with their loved ones. People relax at the parks, organize get-togethers or barbeque parties, spend time with their families and recite the importance of this day to youngsters. Many plan a trip to the countryside where they can engage in several activities such as mountain-climbing or camping.
Throughout the nation, Labour Unions and community groups carry out marches and processions on the streets. In Brisbane, which is also known as the capital city of Queensland, Marches are led by influential political leaders.
Labour Day Symbols in Australia
Several symbols highlight the significance of Labour Day in Australia. One of them is Number Eight or 8, which can be spotted on many buildings on the day of Labour Day. This symbolizes the eight-hour working day and marks the community-wide observance.
Several literary pieces, songs and poems are also crafted referring to the theme of Labour Day in Australia. A poem “Freedom on the Wallaby” by renowned poet and writer Henry Lawson (1867-1922) is widely regarded as one of the biggest literary references that mark the Labour Day demonstrations in 1891 in Queensland. Another famous song dedicated to this day is “The Eight-Hour Day” by John Warner. This song calls for all Australians to stand united and fight for their rights.
Labour Day Observances
1. Why is Labour day celebrated on different dates in Australia?
Labour Day in Australia is celebrated on different dates in different parts. This is so because different states achieved the eight-hours-a-day agreement on different dates. Jarvis.
2. Why is it called Labour Day?
Labour Day originated from the labour movement carried out by labourers, workers and stonemasons and is dedicated to improving the working conditions of the working class.
3. Is Labour Day a patriotic holiday?
Labour Day can be considered as a patriotic holiday in Australia since this day celebrates the unity and strength of workers from all over the country.
4. Are the shops open Labour day in Brisbane?
Most of Brisbane’s shops and offices remain closed on the day of Labour Day since this day is considered as a holiday. However, some exceptions can be there.
Labour Day in Other Countries
From the above information, it is evident that the Labour Day 2022 in Australia is celebrated on different dates based on different regions. We hope you have liked this article on Labour Day in Australia. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.