Activity 2c: Symbols and Celebrations

Each year, every state and territory commemorates the achievements of the Eight-hour Day movement with a public holiday and a public procession. Certain symbols are depicted on the banners, badges, ribbons and medals that are carried and worn in these processions. These symbols depict the trades that were involved in the Eight-hour Day campaign, and the grievances and demands that the workers had. The artefacts of this movement such as the banners and their symbols are important records of the success of ordinary people in improving working conditions and the history of trade unionism in Australia. 

Resources Required

e Resources 


Using the online resources, students view and discuss the symbols and images from the Eight-hour Day movement including trade union banners, badges, ribbons and medals. (Students will have already accessed many of these resources in Activity 2b.)

Students answer the following questions:

  • What are some examples of symbols that were used in the demonstrations?
  • Why were these chosen and what do they represent?
  • What values do the symbols express?
  • What is the message these symbols communicate?
  • What purpose is served by processions and holidays commemorating the eight-hour day?

Students then design one of the following:

  • a motif for the Eight-hour Day movement
  • a banner for an occupation to use in a demonstration or procession
  • a poster to educate others about the Eight-hour Day movement.


Activity 2a | Activity 2b | Activity 2c | Activity 2d

People Power Introduction2. Eight-Hour Day

Overview of Activities: Focus Question 2 | Teacher Information