What it used to cost

Provides prices for groceries, houses and wages for Victoria, spanning the 19th to the 20th century.

The basic wage

The basic wage was introduced in 1907 and was £2 2s per week.

The court case which paved the way for the basic wage is known as the Harvester Judgement.

Commonwealth basic weekly wage rates (adult males)


WAGE ($)











Sources: Victorian year book 1940-41, p.276.

             Australian Bureau of Statistics: Average weekly earnings--Australia; 1993-2007

Workers rights

The Library's Ergo website provides information on the 8-hour day, unions in Victoria, and all about the men and women who fought for workers' rights.

May Day 1890-1990. 100 years of struggle, H2003.90/780

Decades of change

The book Decades of change includes detailed figures on wages, groceries and real estate as well as many other areas, organized by the decades of the twentieth century (1900-1988). Each chapter gives the weekly wage for that year according to chosen occupations, i.e. the weekly wage of a coachman in 1929 was $10 (figures are converted), the price of milk in 1929 was 7c per litre.

The book is also divided into a series of junior books, according to decade.

From our Pictures Collection

A picture of workers outside a meat market standing on the veranda

[Meat market] [picture], PCLTA 2204

State Library Victoria

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As we do this some catalogue links may not resolve correctly.