The Europeans who arrived in Port Phillip in 1835 brought with them established practices of labour that assumed times of rest. The gradual adoption of an Eight Hour Day from 1856 and a compulsory half-day holiday on Saturday demarcated the week firmly into work and leisure for the waged labour force. Civic authorities, drawing on British precedent, fixed ideas of leisure and recreation in the physical environment through the allocation of space and resources.
Melbourne has a reputation for being the 'sporting capital' of Australia (even the world), and there are some historical grounds for this claim. While the sporting obsessions of Australians in general have often been commented on by international observers, and regularly documented by domestic writers, the people of Melbourne seem to have a particular passion for both watching and playing sport.