Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

11.3.07

Labour Day, train tracks, Mark Twain and jugglers.

Thanks to everyone who replied to my last post, of which I have concluded: I'm not alone in disliking after-dinner mints (Red Tulip brand here); and Australia must immediately exporting Vegemite to all markets.

Monday is Labour Day. Meaning you don't. From Wikipedia: The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

If the union movement gave me eight hours leisure a day, I want to know who took them away again. Wikipedia goes on:

In Australia, the Labour Day public holiday is fixed by the various states and territories' governments, and so varies considerably. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia. In both Victoria and Tasmania, it is the second Monday in March (though the latter calls it Eight Hours Day*). In Western Australia, Labour Day is the first Monday in March. In both Queensland and the Northern Territory, it is the first Monday in May.

Solidarity, anyone? It's a bit like train tracks, really. All the States had different gauges, something to do with trade barriers. It's a wonder we ever got federated, really, with all that arguing and red tape. In 1895 Mark Twain wrote:

Now comes a singular thing: the oddest thing, the strangest thing, the most unaccountable marvel that Australia can show. At the frontier between New South Wales and Victoria our multitude of passengers were routed out of their snug beds by lantern light in the morning in the biting cold to change cars on a railroad that has no break in it from Sydney to Melbourne. Think of the paralysis of intellect that gave that idea birth; imagine the boulder it emerged from, on some petrified legislator's shoulders. It is a narrow gauge to the frontier and a broader gauge thence to Melbourne. One or two reasons are given for this curious state of things. One is that it represents the jealousy existing between the two colonies—the two most important colonies of Australasia. What the other is I have forgotten, it could be but another effort to explain the inexplicable.

We need more Mark Twains.

*And the former calls it Moomba Day, in celebration of the parade of assorted clowns, musicians, jugglers, floats, decorated trams, television 'personalities' and comedians that starts at the top of Swanston Street and ends up by the Yarra River, and in some cases, in the Yarra River.

See you next week. Happy Labour/Moomba Day!

2 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

So which 8 hours will you rest?
Have a great day.

kitchen hand said...

Thanks, HalfCups. Usually 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.; children, neighbourhood cats and rubbish trucks permitting.