Australian Curriculum links
The role of an individual or group in the promotion of ONE of these key ideas, and the responses to it from, for example, workers, entrepreneurs, land owners, religious groups (ACDSEH087)
The experiences of slaves, convicts and free settlers upon departure, their journey abroad, and their reactions on arrival, including the Australian experience (ACDSEH083)
Changes in the way of life of a group(s) of people who moved to Australia in this period, such as free settlers on the frontier in Australia (ACDSEH084)
The short and long-term impacts of the movement of peoples during this period (ACDSEH085)
The extension of settlement, including the effects of contact (intended and unintended) between European settlers in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (ACDSEH020)
The experiences of non-Europeans in Australia prior to the 1900s (such as the Japanese, Chinese, South Sea Islanders, Afghans) (ACDSEH089)
Living and working conditions in Australia around the turn of the twentieth century (that is 1900) (ACDSEH090)
The continuing nature of efforts to secure civil rights and freedoms in Australia and throughout the world, such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) (ACDSEH143)
The contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation and to its international relationships (ACDSEH147)
- Ethical Understanding
- Intercultural Understanding
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Students will examine a variety of documents and images about the work of Pacific Islanders in Australia in the 19th century.
- Internet access or copies of resource materials
Read Australian Pacific Islanders.
Note any questions that arise around the different points of view about the arrival, work and deportation of Australian Pacific Islanders.
Read/View the Australian Human Rights Commission timeline A history of Pacific Islanders in Australia.
- Why were Pacific Islanders brought to Australia?
- How were Pacific Islanders recruited?
- How were they treated in Australia?
- What happened in Australia that triggered the change of attitude and their deportation?
- Which states were involved?
Note further questions for investigation.
Create your own timeline to show key events in the arrival, work and deportation of Australian Pacific Islanders.
Create a parallel timeline outlining events and important people in Australian history such as prime ministers, settlement, population, arrivals of convict ships and events relating to the sugar industry.
Examine Pacific Islands labour flows.
Describe the movement of people and note any questions that arise.
Students examine a collection of source documents to gain insights into the recruitment and working conditions of the indentured Pacific Islander labourers working in the sugar cane industry in the 19th century.
- Internet access or copies of resource materials
Write your own definition of the terms: blackbirding, slavery, indentured labour.
Research, in small groups, the recruitment and working conditions of Pacific Islanders working in the sugar cane industry using at least three of the following links:
- ABC, George Negus Tonight, Blackbirding
- ABC, Pacific Stories, Sugar Slaves (use the Index tab to select sections)
- ABC News, Revealing a dark stain on Australian history (read transcript)
- Journeys to Sugaropolis: The Australian South Sea Islander Story of the Gold Coast Region
- National Film and Sound Archive, Anna Naupa on Vanuatan heritage
- National Library of Australia, Photos of Australian South Sea Islanders
- Pacific Islander indentured labourers NDLRN R11565
- Screen Australia, The Sugar Labour Trade (4:06)
- South Sea Islanders Cutting Cane, 1899: Nambour, Qld
- State Library of Queensland, Blog, Australian South Sea Islander
Form a new group of three with members who have examined different resources.
Create a presentation or role play that describes the recruitment and working conditions of Pacific Islanders from the perspectives of government, landowners and workers (note any diversity within these groups).
How have viewpoints changed over time?
What evidence do you have to support this change?
Debate 'Pacific Islander labourers in Queensland in the 1800s were slaves'. (Use stories and images where possible.)
Students examine the lives, recognition and contributions of Australian Pacific Islanders in Australia in recent times.
- Internet access or copies of case studies
Examine the stories of prominent Australian Pacific Islanders:
List any new insights these oral histories give you about the contribution of Pacific Islanders to Australia's identity and relations with Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Read the Queensland Government Recognition Statement.
Describe how the rights of Australian Pacific Islanders have been recognised in the statement.
Read/Listen to the ABC, South Sea Islanders call for an apology.
- The statement of recognition responds adequately to the concerns raised by Australian Pacific Islanders.
- The statement contributes to recognition of the rights outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
Contrast the experiences of the Pacific Islanders working on the sugar plantations in the late 1800s with the experiences of people taking part in the Australian Government's Seasonal Worker Program. As background, read the ABC transcript Australia and our Pacific neighbours. Also read about training through the Australian Pacific Technical College.
Investigate: Has forced labour and discrimination occurred in other nations?
Find a story or account and compare the experiences of the labourers in countries such as the USA and India.
Compare representations of people and culture from Pacific islands with people in literary texts such as Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years a Slave.