This canvas banner was painted by Fred Spielvogel circa 1905 for the Australian Boot Trade Employees Federation, Ballarat Branch.

On 5 March 1905 the Ballarat Eight Hours' Day Organising Committee agreed to organise entertainments with a view to raising funds to commission a banner for the Bootmakers' Union (Ballarat Star, 6 March 1905). On 11 April the Ballarat Courier reported on a profoundly rainy Ballarat Eight Hours' Day procession: 'The bootmakers with their new banner looking spic and span it had just emerged from the studio of the artist Mr Fred Spielvogel, and on it were representations of up-to-date boot-producing machinery, came next.'

Action taken by stonemasons on 21 April 1856 led to the establishment of the Eight Hour Day, with the government agreeing that workers employed on public works should enjoy an eight hour day with no loss of pay. It was a world first and became emblematic of the rights of labour. In recognition of the significance of this achievement, April 21 was made a public holiday in 1879 and commemorative marches were held each year from 1879 until 1951. The Eight Hour Day holiday was renamed Labour Day in 1934. In 1955 the Labour Day march and celebrations were replaced by Moomba celebrations.

Physical Description

Oil painted on canvas, wool fringe. Side A: Text frames two images of bootmakers: one standing facing us, the other at work at boot making machinery. Side B: Predominantly text, with an image of a wooden shoe last along the bottom edge.

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