The pursuit of leisure was very reflective of class differences in Australia, although at times the lines between middle-class leisure and working-class leisure were blurred. In this essay I plan to evaluate the types of leisure activities participated in by each of the social classes, including looking at the differences between female and male leisure activities, and also which leisure activities led to intermingling between the different classes. I also plan to illustrate how the changes implemented by the Labour Movement in the 1850s led to an increase in leisure time for both classes and how this changed the activities participated in.
Leisure is subjective. It means different things to different people. Leisure can be defined as ‘unobligated time, as discretionary time to use in relatively freely chosen ways, when the obligations of work and sustenance have been met,’ this definition applies to an industrialised society where work is the centre of peoples lives (Haywood, 1989, p.3). Leisure can also be defined as ‘a range of activities in which people choose to participate during their free time’ (Haywood, 1989, p. 4). These activities that people choose to participate in are wide ranging for example, sport, dancing, gambling, drinking and shopping and depend on the person’s interests and personal preferences with regards to relaxation. People’s attitude towards leisure and the activities participated in have changed over time due to a large amount of factors. The introduction of the eight hour work day in 1856 and the implementation of the Saturday half-holiday in Australia increased the amount of leisure time available. Advances in technology also changed the activities participated in, such as, the cinema.
Class can be defined in terms that are entirely social and dependant on a particular set of characteristics: prestige, power, wealth, income, location in the
Bibliography: • Burgmann, V & Lee, J, A People 's History of Australia since 1788: Constructing a Culture, Ringwood, 1988. • Burgmann, V & Lee, J, A People 's History of Australia since 1788: Making a Life, Ringwood, 1988. • Clark, CMH, Select Documents in Australian History 1851-1900, Halstead Press, Australia, 1955 • Connell, R.W. & Irving, T H, Class Structure in Australian History, Melbourne, 1980. • Conway, Jill, Gender In Australia, Daedalus, Vol. 114, No. 1, Australia: Terra Incognita?, 1985, pp. 343-368 • Haywood, L, Understanding Leisure, Hutchinson, UK, 1989 • Rickard, J. Australia: A Cultural History, Melbourne, 1988 • Stoddart, Brian, Sport Cultural Imperialism and Colonial Response in the British Empire, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 30, No. 4, 1988, p. 649-673 • Waterhouse, R. Private Pleasures, Public Leisure: A History of Australian Popular Culture, Melbourne, 1995. • White, Richard, On Holidays: A History of Getting Away in Australia, Pluto Press, Australia, 2005