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Anti-Sweating League (1895)

Political Group


Concern regarding the process of sweating, in which women were exploited in the manufactoring industries, emerged in Australia from the 1870s.

The Anti-Sweating League was formed in Melbourne in July 1895. While the anti-sweating was a campaign that had trade-union support, it was driven by middle-class, liberal, reformers.

The Shops and Factories Amendment Bill was introduced later that year, and passed early the following. That legislation was a watershed. It provided for the creation of wages boards which would set minimum rates of pay for female workers in industries with high incidence of sweating. Late in the piece, the legislation was amended to cover all workers, male or female. The boards brought the practice of sweating under control, and formed basis of industrial regulation in Victoria into the twentieth century.


Newspaper Articles

  • Champion, Henry Hyde, 'The Anti-Sweating League', Champion (Melbourne), 26 October 1895. Image PDF Details