South Sea Islander and Australian Reflections on 'Blackbirding'

Away in The Land of the Wattle and Gum - Gus Clutterbuck (photo credit Grant Hancock)

South Sea Islander and Australian Reflections on 'Blackbirding'



Kerry Packer Civic Gallery Exhibition

Exhibition dates: Monday 30 April - Friday 18 May

This exhibition reflects on aspects of the ‘labour traffic’ of South Sea Islanders to the cotton & sugar plantations of Queensland over the period 1863 to 1904, known as Blackbirding. Over 50,000 workers were ‘recruited’, often by deception or force, and about 25% died during their contracts.  Many of the artworks & historical materials in this exhibition were first exhibited in Queensland (2013) and then in Fiji (2014) and Vanuatu (2015). 

The Hawke Centre exhibition will also reflect on the contributions of those Island workers to the economy and infrastructure, the experience of descendants of Island workers who stayed in this country - the Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSIs) - and the experiences of seasonal workers in Australia today. 

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, The South Pacific Islander Community of South Australia and Helen Stacey with Dr David Bunton

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - and Building our Future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within the Hawke Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.

Areas of study and research

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