n the early 19th century, most labourers worked 10- or 12-hour days for six days each week. The 1850s brought a strong push for better conditions. A significant part of the push began in 1855 in Sydney. On 21 April 1856, in Melbourne, the stonemasons workers staged a well-organised protest. They downed tools and walked to Parliament House with other members of the building trade. Their fight was for an eight-hour day, effectively a 48-hour week to replace the 60-hour week. The government agreed to an eight-hour day for workers employed on public works, with no loss of pay.