Protests, activism & dissent in Victoria

Research the history of activism, protests, rallies and campaigners in Victoria using pamphlets, posters, badges, images, articles, interviews and books.


The Library's collections can help you to find information about individual campaigners. The catalogue is a good place to start, as it lists books (including autobiographies, and biographies), photographs and personal papers. Remember that the catalogue does not name every person mentioned in a book or collections of papers. If an item sounds like it relates to the topic your campaigner was involved in, and covers the right timeframe, take the time to look at it more closely. In the case of books, check their indexes for references to the person you are researching.

To take your research further you might like to check our online Australiana Index. It contains references to published material, such as newspapers, journals and books, as well as references to in-house files of newspaper clippings and pamphlets. Most of the references date from 1997 onwards. Earlier references, dating back to the beginnings of Victoria, can be found in the Library's Biography Index. Also see our  digitised guide to the Biography Index. It is well worth checking the Biography Index for additional references.

Newspapers may include profile pieces and obituaries which give information about a campaigner's life.

The journals and newsletters of protest groups can be a useful source of information about these groups' members. These sources are not likely to be indexed by name so you will need to browse through to find relevant information. It will help if you narrow down a person's date of involvement with a campaign, using other sources listed here.

Online sources

Eight Hour Day pioneer

Photograph, seated portrait of George Launder - Eight Hour Day pioneer

George Launder - Eight Hour Day pioneer, H28970

In the 1800s, people worked up to 16 hours a day, often suffering harsh conditions and minimal job security. Workers and unions fought for many years to earn the right for 8 hours labour, 8 hours recreation, and 8 hours rest - otherwise known as the eight hour day.

For more about George Launder's involvement in this campaign, see Eight hours day, The Argus (Melbourne), 19 April 1913, p. 22 and A labour veteran, Worker (Brisbane), 1 May 1913, p. 6.