As we celebrate Labour day in Western Australia, this document (transcript below) outlining working conditions at A.M.P. in 1852,  reminds us how much things have progressed in 160 years.
AMP working conditions 1852



The following is a copy of office Rules issued by a Sydney Firm

(not A.M.P.) in the Year 1852.


M……….……………. & S…………………………..

Merchants and Ships Chandlers

Sydney Town 1852


Rules for Clerical Staff



  • Godliness, Cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.


  • On the recommendation of the Governor of this Colony, this firm has reduced the hours of work, and the Clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on week days. The Sabbath is for Worship, but should any Man-of-War or other vessel require victualling, the clerical staff will work on the Sabbath.


  • Daily prayers will be held each morning in the Main 0ffice. The clerical Staff will be present.

4. Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colours, nor will they wear hose, unless in good repair.

5. Overshoes and top-coats may not be worn in the office, but Neck scarves and Headwear may be worn in inclement weather.

6. A Stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. Coal and wood must be-kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the Clerical Staff bring 4 pounds of coal each day during cold weather


  • No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission of Mr. Ryder, The calls of nature ere permitted and the Clerical Staff may use the garden below the second gate. This area must be kept in good order.


  • No talking is allowed during business hours.


  • The craving for tobacco, wines and spirits is a human weakness and as such is forbidden to all numbers of Clerical staff


  • Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food. is allowed between 11 .30 a.m. and noon, but work will not on any account cease.


  • Members of the ‘Clerical staff will provide their own pens. A new sharpener is available on application to Mr. Ryder.


  • Mr. Ryder will nominate a senior clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the Main Office and the private Office, and all boys and  Juniors will report to him 40 minutes before Prayers and will remain after  closing hours for similar work. Brushes, Brooms, Scubbers and Soap are provided by the Owners.


  • The newly increased Weekly Wages are as hereunder detailed

Junior Boy (to 11 years )                           1/4

Boys ( to 14 years )                                     2/1

Juniors                                                            4/8

Junior Clerks                                                 8/7

Clerks                                                            10/9

Senior Clerks (after 15

years with the Owners)                            21/-


The owners hereby recognise the generosity of the new labour laws, but will expect a great rise in ouput to compensate for these near-utopian conditions

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