Labour Day and May Day Events 2023

Labour Day and May Day events are happening all across Queensland and the Northern Territory during the long weekend 29 April to 1 May 2023.

The annual event is both an important reminder not to forget those who fought hard for decent and fair working conditions in Australia, as well as a celebration of their success and a chance to renew our commitment to ensuring a better future for all.

If you already have an IEU T-Shirt, please wear it on the day as only limited supplies will be available!

RSVP for your local event using the form below.

Members can also promote Labour Day and May Day on union noticeboards by downloading, printing and sharing our A4 flyer.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

10am @ Riverside Parklands, Quay St for march to Anzac Park followed by a family fun day including lunch and rides for the kids.

4pm @ Fogarty Park, Cairns Esplanade for march followed by family fun activities with food and drinks available for purchase.

12.30pm @ Timothy Moloney Park – Ellensborough St, Woodend for the march followed by a family fun day event.

10am @ Toowoomba Council Chambers for the flag raising ceremony then march from Village Green to Mother Craft Lane followed by drinks and a BBQ at the Armitage Centre.

Sunday, 30 April 2023

Gold Coast
9:30am @ Kurrawa Park – Cnr Old Burleigh Road & Queensland Ave, Broadbeach for march followed by a family fun day.

10am @ Waterside Workers Hall, Wharf Street for march to Maryborough Bowls Club followed by family fun day and BBQ.

Sunshine Coast
10am @ Caloundra Sharks Rugby League Club – Gregory Street, Golden Beach for a family fun day event including food, drinks, live music and children’s activities.

Monday, 1 May 2023

Alice Springs
10am @ Gap Road Memorial Club followed by march to ANZAC Oval.

9:30am @ IEU Brisbane Office for march to Brisbane Showgrounds followed by a family fun day including BBQ lunch and refreshments.

9am @ 38 Woods Street with march to Bicentennial Park for a family fun day and entertainment. 

9am @ St Patrick’s College – Cnr River & Gregory Streets, Mackay

9am @ Strand Park – The Esplanade, Townsville for march be followed by a family fun day with food and drinks.

Friday, 19 May 2023

Thursday Island
Further details TBC

RSVP now!

Why we celebrate

Labour Day/May Day provides us an opportunity to gather each year to acknowledge and celebrate the struggle, collective action and strength shown by our fellow unionists throughout history, which have led to the improved wages and conditions we have today.

It is also a reminder that we must stay vigilant and continue to work as a collective to protect and improve those conditions going into the future.

Where it all began

The foundation of a day to mark the struggle and achievement of workers stems from the May Day Haymarket riots in Chicago on 4 May 1884, which resulted in the death and wounding of some in attendance and the ultimate wrongful conviction and execution of four unionists.

In 1889, a proposal was made to establish a day to recognise the anniversary of the Chicago protests.

As a result, 1 May each year is known as International Workers’ Day.

In Queensland, the antecedent of Labour Day began in Barcaldine in 1891 after the Shearer’s Strike was declared in response to the actions of the Pastoralists’ Federal Council who sought to increase profits by employing non-union shearers on individual contracts for lower rates of pay.

Union workers established strike camps in towns near shearing sheds, with one of the largest camps near Barcaldine.

On 1 May 1891, more than 1,300 striking workers marched through the town as part of the dispute – marking a historic event for Australian workers.

In 1901 the first Monday of each May was declared a public holiday in Queensland and was formally recognised as Labour Day from 1912.

In the Northern Territory, the celebration is known as May Day, and is also marked by a public holiday on the first Monday in May of each year.