This Day in History

April 21, 1856: Workers Protest in Australia

Time Periods: 1850
Themes: Labor

On April 21, 1856, stonemasons and other construction workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House. They advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. Their direct action protest was a success, becoming one of the first by organized workers to achieve an eight-hour workday.

Eight-hour banner in Melbourne, 1856. Source: Public domain.