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Social Life & Customs

Marvellous Melbourne was at the forefront of political change and commercial initiative, and through their access to novel ideas and technologies, 19th-century Melburnians framed leisure and social custom in ways that expressed contemporary ideas of identity. The individual assumed greater importance. The Education Act 1872 enshrined literacy and numeracy as a basic right of the population, higher standards of living contributed to better health and manufacturing to employment for young women and men. Social life in Melbourne, therefore, developed as a wide range of activities that expressed both social change and individual initiatives in the pursuit of pleasure and self-satisfaction.