Year 9 History Research Assignment – Blackbirding Weland La, 9H2, Mr Brown
Blackbirding is the practice of enslaving people onto ships usually through the use of deception and bribery, especially the inhabitants from the South Pacific Islands, and then transporting them to the sugar cane and cotton plantations, particularly in Queensland, Australia, to work as labourers. This practice was not limited to the blackbirding in Queensland, Australia and had already occurred on the Chincha Islands in Peru. This dreadful practice occurred predominantly between the 1860’s and 1904.
The term “Blackbirding” may have been established directly as a contraction of the phrase “Blackbird Catching”; the word “Blackbird was an informal word for the local indigenous people. It might have also derived from a previous term, “Blackbird Shooting”, which referred to the homicide of the ...view middle of the document...
The inhabitants of the South Pacific Islands were offered religious services or something of value such as fake jewellery to lure them onto the ships. By the time these people had found out that they have been tricked, it was already far too late as they had been chained up and locked away while the ship had already started its journey back to Queensland, Australia. Those who declined the offer were often threatened to board the ships anyways, though some of the workers boarded the ship at their own free will, after being promised that they will be paid and later on returned to their homes after three years of indentured labour.
The first of the South Sea Islander slaves, consisting of 64 young men, were transported to Moreton Bay, Queensland Australia on August the 14th, 1963.
Many of the captured slaves did not make the journey to Queensland, Australia due to the appalling and tattered conditions upon the ships. Individuals were barely provided any kinds of hygiene or sanitary resulting in widespread diseases killing many of the captured slaves. Many of the women aboard the slave ships were also brutally raped.
Many of the slaves working at the sugar plantations ended up perishing as a result of the constant rough labour.
The labourers working at the sugar cane field in Queensland, Australia, became known by the Hawaiian racist term “Kanaka” meaning “animal man”.
It has recently been discovered that the promised wages, believed to be worth tens of millions dollars, was seized by the Queensland government. Thus the South Sea Islanders never received their compensation for their labour at the sugar cane plantations.
Succeeding the year 1860, over a duration of 40 years, approximately 55,000 to 62,500 South Sea Islanders were abducted from their home and families in the regions known as Polynesia and Melanesia, mainly from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. About 15,000 of the South Sea Islanders did not live to tell the tale.