Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

The Eight Hours' Song (1884)

"Mr. J. H. McColl then sang the following song, composed by himself, which was heartily applauded"

Come let us celebrate this day,
Let joy our hearts inspire,
Let each voice sing and loudly ring
With life, and hope and fire.

A glorious cause this day is ours,
A cause that none can stay,
Let songs rewound and joy abound
On this its Natal day.
On this its Natal day.

Chorus.--For eight hours' work
And eight hours' rest
And eight hours' still to spare;
We will not rest till we obtain
The eight hours everywhere.
The eight hours everywhere.

We sing a battle fought and won--
A bloodless one indeed,
Yet gained by suffering hard to some,
By sore distress and need.

We honor those now gone before,
Who fought the good fight well,
And we will spread its blessings round,
As thus to all we tell.

Chorus,--For eight hours' work, etc.

The tradesman working at the bench,
The miner who would gain
The glittering gold in danger oft,
Shall shout the glad refrain.

And labor's sons and daughters too
Must join with heart and hand,
Until the eight hours' system rules
Through all Australian land.

Chorus.--For eight hours work, etc.


From the Victorian newspaper the Bendigo Advertiser Tuesday 22 April 1884, p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory