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Labour Day 2024 in Australia

Labour Day, also known as Eight Hours Day in Tasmania and May Day in the Northern Territory, commemorates the granting of the eight-hour working day for Australians. It also recognizes workers’ contributions towards the nation’s economy. It is an annual public holiday and its date varies across the states and territories.

Is Labour Day a Public Holiday?

Labour Day is a public holiday in 6 states, 2 territories and 1 external territory, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Labour Day is often spent having a barbecue in the park.


What Do People Do?

Many people use the Labour Day holiday as part of a long weekend where they can relax, spend time with friends or family members, play or watch sport, have barbecues. Some people plan a getaway trip to a coastal region, the mountains or the countryside where they can engage in various activities such as picnics, wine-tasting at a winery, bush-walking, or camping.

Throughout the nation, Labour Day is an occasion for unions, community groups and the general public to join in celebration. In Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane there are marches are held on or around Labour Day. They are often led by the state’s key political leaders and influential key figures. Union members often take part in these marches.

Public Life

Labour Day is a public holiday in all states and territories in Australia. It is observed in Western Australia on the first Monday in March, while Victoria and Tasmania observe it on the second Monday in March. The Northern Territory and Queensland observe Labour Day on the first Monday in May. The Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and South Australia observe it on the first Monday of October.

During the years 2013 through to 2015, Queensland observed Labour Day on the first Monday of October before reverting back to the first Monday in May in 2016.

During this holiday government offices are closed, as are post offices, schools and many businesses. Those planning on using public transport on this holiday need to check with the local transport authorities prior to travelling.


The history of Labour Day in Australia spans over a century. It is an important annual event that remembers those who struggled and succeeded to ensure decent and fair working conditions in Australia. During the mid to late 1800s the working day was long and arduous, where some employees would work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Many Australians saw the need for better working conditions and in the 1850s there was a strong push for this. On April 21, 1856, stonemasons at the University of Melbourne marched to Parliament House to push for an eight-hour working day. An agreement with employers for a 48-hour week was eventually reached and Australian workers welcomed the new eight-hour day. A victory march was held on May 12 that year and each year after that. In 1856 the new work regulations were recognized in New South Wales, followed by Queensland in 1858 and South Australia in 1873.

In 1874, Tasmania joined the other states, which were colonies at the time, in adopting the shorter eight-hour working day. In 1879 the Victorian Government made one further step towards better conditions for employees by proclaiming a paid public holiday that year. In light of the labour movement’s successful push for an eight-hour day, a large May Day meeting was held in Melbourne in 1890. On May 1 that year a local newspaper made reference to that day as May Day.

One of the first May Day/Labour Day marches in Australia occurred on May 1, 1891 in Queensland. More than 1000 people participated in the march and carried banners. The leaders wore blue sashes and the Eureka flag was carried. It was reported that cheers were given for “the eight-hour day”. The Labour Day date was moved from May to the second Monday in March in some parts of Australia after World War II. Since 1948, Labour Day in Western Australia has been observed on the first Monday in March. It marks the granting of the eight hour working day to Western Australians.


The number eight has often been spotted on many union buildings in Australia to symbolize an eight-hour working day.  For example, the Eight-Hour monument featuring a golden globe bearing the 888 symbol was erected in Spring Street in Melbourne in 1903.

Renowned Australian writer and poet Henry Lawson (1867-1922) wrote a poem “Freedom on the Wallaby” to mark one of the largest May Day/Labour Day demonstrations in Queensland in 1891 where it was reported that cheers were made for “the eight-hour day”. There have been other songs and poems that refer to the theme behind this holiday and the efforts of the labour movement in modern times such as “The Eight-Hour Day” by John Warner, calling for Australians to stand up united and maintain their rights to an eight-hour work day.

Disclaimer: Precise dates for this holiday in Australia in the late 19th century and early 20th century have not been confirmed, however based on research, estimates have been provided for the earlier dates of this holiday. Timeanddate.com would appreciate any historical fact on these dates, so please contact us at: webmaster@timeanddate.com .

About Labour Day in Other Countries

Read more about Labour Day.

Labour Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2019MonMar 4Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2019MonMar 11Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2019MonMar 11Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2019MonMar 18Labour DayState HolidayChristmas Island
2019MonMay 6May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2019MonMay 6Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2019MonOct 7Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2019MonOct 7Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2020MonMar 2Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2020MonMar 9Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2020MonMar 9Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2020MonMar 16Labour DayState HolidayChristmas Island
2020MonMay 4May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2020MonMay 4Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2020MonOct 5Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2020MonOct 5Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2021MonMar 1Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2021MonMar 8Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2021MonMar 8Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2021MonMay 3May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2021MonMay 3Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2021MonOct 4Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2021MonOct 4Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2022MonMar 7Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2022MonMar 14Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2022MonMar 14Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2022MonMay 2May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2022MonMay 2Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2022MonOct 3Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2022MonOct 3Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2023MonMar 6Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2023MonMar 13Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2023MonMar 13Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2023MonMay 1May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2023MonMay 1Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2023MonOct 2Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2023MonOct 2Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2024MonMar 4Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2024MonMar 11Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2024MonMar 11Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2024SatMar 16Labour DayState HolidayChristmas Island
2024MonMay 6May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2024MonMay 6Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2024MonOct 7Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2024MonOct 7Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2025MonMar 3Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2025MonMar 10Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2025MonMar 10Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2025MonMay 5May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2025MonMay 5Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2025MonOct 6Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2025MonOct 6Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2026MonMar 2Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2026MonMar 9Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2026MonMar 9Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2026MonMay 4May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2026MonMay 4Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2026MonOct 5Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2026MonOct 5Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2027MonMar 1Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2027MonMar 8Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2027MonMar 8Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2027MonMay 3May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2027MonMay 3Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2027MonOct 4Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2027MonOct 4Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2028MonMar 6Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2028MonMar 13Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2028MonMar 13Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2028MonMay 1May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2028MonMay 1Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2028MonOct 2Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2028MonOct 2Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia
2029MonMar 5Labour DayState HolidayWestern Australia
2029MonMar 12Labour DayState HolidayVictoria
2029MonMar 12Eight Hours DayState HolidayTasmania
2029MonMay 7May DayState HolidayNorthern Territory
2029MonMay 7Labour DayState HolidayQueensland
2029MonOct 1Labour DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory, New South Wales
2029MonOct 1Labour DayState HolidaySouth Australia

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.