The 8 Hour Day in Australia

CFP: two conferences in Melbourne, Australia, June 2006

As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 8 hour day in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, two conferences, run on consecutive days, will be held to explore both historical and contemporary dimensions of working time issues. Below is the call for papers for each conference.

Working to Live: Histories of the 8 Hour Day & Working Life History Conference
20-21 June 2006
Call for Papers

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Stonemasons' establishment of the '8 Hour System', a series of exhibitions, events and conferences have been planned for the first half of 2006. The Working to Live conference will be concerned with the history of the 8 Hours Movement and subsequent campaigns of Australians to assert control over their working lives. The conference will be held at the University of Melbourne on 20-21 June 2006, as a joint initiative of the Melbourne Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History and the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne.

We invite proposals for papers around themes such as:

  • Histories of working life and domestic amenity and parenting
  • Wage labour and social identity
  • Representation and celebration of skilled labour
  • Shorter hours and civic engagement

In general, we are looking for proposals that will bring to life the continuing efforts of working people to gain control over their modes of employment, the labour process and to assert their role as active agents in a more egalitarian economy and democratic polity.

Proposals, with abstracts of 250 words are due by 31 January 2006 and full papers (5,000 word maximum) by 20 May 2006. They can be sent to Peter Love at either or

Further information about the conference will be posted on the Labour History website at and the Australian Centre site at

New Standards for the New Times? The 8-Hour Day and Beyond
22-23 June 2006

As part of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the historic achievement by stonemasons in Melbourne of an Eight-Hour Day, a conference on contemporary working-time issues will be held on 22-23 June 2006 in Melbourne. The conference is organised by the Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University, with support from the Victorian government.

Initial Call for Papers
The 'New Standards' conference offers an excellent opportunity to examine the broad range of working-time issues confronting workers in Australia at the start of the 21st century. Contemporary problems continue to include long hours for full-time employees, often in the form of unpaid overtime. But they also include issues such as poor schedules, unpredictable variations in hours, lack of control over hours, under-employment and casualisation. In today's language, many citizens are concerned about work and life (or work and family) imbalances. What is causing these problems? How extensive are they? How do we overcome them? The focus of the conference is on scholarly analysis. But it will also reach out to a discussion of possible paths forward, drawing on the lessons of history and examples from other advanced capitalist societies. Thus academic papers will be supplemented by panel discussions that tease out the dilemmas of different forms of working-time regulation (including what is sometimes called 'working-time deregulation').

We invite suggestions for papers on all aspects of this important topic. In particular, we encourage papers that look at:

  • long hours for full-time workers
  • work and family
  • working time and gender
  • short hours and part-time work
  • time sovereignty
  • international comparisons
  • access to paid leave
  • flexible work schedules
  • working time over the life course
  • union strategies
  • time in the workplace/ time in the city

Suggestions for abstracts are due by 31 January, 2006.
Full papers are due by 20 May 2006.

Further information can be obtained from the RMIT organisers:
Iain Campbell () and
Cathy Brigden ().

Dr Cathy Brigden
Senior Lecturer,
School of Management
RMIT University
Melbourne 3000
Tel: 61 3 9925 5915
Fax: 61 3 9925 5960