Happy days are here again. Another public holiday is upon us already, giving us two long weekends in a row. We all love a day off but do we really know why we celebrate Labour Day? The end of April through to the beginning of May is a significant and culturally important time of year for Australia and Australians. ANZAC day is considered by some as the day Australia claimed its ‘identity as a Nation’, in the eyes of the world. However, Labour Day might be considered the day we found our inner strength, our passion and our courage to fight for a better life.
Labour Day commemorates the granting of the eight-hour working day for Australians and celebrates the contributions of working Australians to our great country. These days, Australians celebrate Labour Day (or May Day as it is sometimes known) by relaxing and having fun with family and friends. This is an important part of Labour Day and is reflected in the 888 symbol often attached to official Labour Day events.
888 represents eight hours for work, eight hours for family and play time and eight hours for sleep. This philosophy remains deep in the heart of working men and women across Australia. The 888 symbol lives on to this day in many forms as a silent reminder of how lucky we are to be Australian. A great example of this is in the name of the powerful ‘Triple Eight Race Engineering’ V8 Supercar racing team (AKA Red Bull Racing Australia) Triple Eight lead the way in a sport widely loved and strongly supported by working Australians across the country.
So how did the Labour Day begin? Following the now famous ‘Eureka Stockade’ uprising in 1854 by gold miners in Ballarat, the fight for a better life for working Australians began. By the mid 1850’s the fight for an eight hour working day got stronger. Up until that time, Australian workers were expected to work up to twelve hours per day, six days a week. On April 21, 1856, Stonemasons working at the University of Melbourne marched to Parliament House demanding and eight hour working day. This protest lead to official beginning of the eight hour work day and a victory march was held May 12, 1856 and the tradition has continued to this day.
So please enjoy this long weekend. Do whatever makes you feel happy. Go to the beach, play sport, have a BBQ, or just relax at home with family and friends but whatever you do, spare a moment to think about those men and women who made this day possible and who helped make life in Australia what it is today.
http://tripleeight.com.au/ (Red Bull Racing Australia)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAqs4S_lUpc (Eureka Stockade)