Australian South Sea Islander 150th anniversary

August 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of South Sea Islanders in Queensland. Between 1863 and 1904 some 62,000 people, predominately from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, were brought to work in Queensland's cotton and sugar plantations. There were men, women and children; some came by choice and others were tricked, coerced and "Blackbirded". The 150th anniversary is an opportunity to share Australian South Sea Islander culture and history and recognise their significance to Queensland.
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Australian South Sea Islander cane cutters on a sugar cane plantation in Queensland, c. 1900 | State Library of Queensland Flickr

Australian South Sea Islander cane cutters on a sugar cane plantation in Queensland, c. 1900 | State Library of Queensland Flickr

Members of the South Sea Island Mission in the Nambour district, Queensland, 1906

Australian Photography, Queensland Australia, South Seas, The South, Vintage Photos, Sunshine Coast, Anniversary

Canoe Prow. Solomon Islands. 1884. From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander Collection.

From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander Collection.

Detail of a Fan from Gaua Island, Solomon Islands. Collected between 1883 -1900.

Detail of a Fan from Gaua Island, Solomon Islands. Collected between 1883 Queensland Museum salvou em Australian South Sea Islander anniversary

Wooden Fish Sculpture. From Makira, Solomon Islands. 1885. From the Queensland Museum Australian South Sea Islander Collection.

From Makira, Solomon Islands. From the Queensland Museum Australian South Sea Islander Collection.

Pot from Wusi Village, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Collected by Captain J B Robertson, Master, Labour Trade Ships. 1885. From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander collection.

Pot from Wusi Village, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Collected by Captain J B Robertson, Master, Labour Trade Ships. From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander collection.

Wooden bird-shaped bowl. Solomon Islands, 1893 - 1902.

Wooden bird-shaped bowl. Solomon Islands, 1893 - 1902.

Pot from Wusi Village, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Collected by Captain J B Robertson, Master, Labour Trade Ships. 1885. From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander Collection.

Pot from Wusi Village, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Collected by Captain J B Robertson, Master, Labour Trade Ships. From the Queensland Museum Australia South Sea Islander Collection.

Australian South Sea Islanders were officially recognised as a distinct cultural group by the Queensland Government on 7 September 2000. This followed the Commonwealth Government’s acknowledgement of Australian South Sea Islanders in 1994.

Recognition for Australian South Sea Islanders - Queensland Museum


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