Sunday, February 6, 2011

Take a Word: Blackbird

"BLACKBIRDING"
(click image to enlage to see the detail)

Thought I would give you a 'snippet' of part of Australia's dark past!
Blackbirding refers to the recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work on the sugar cane plantations of Australia and Fiji.
Those ‘blackbirded’ were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland. In the early days of the pearling industry in Broome, local Aboriginal people were blackbirded from the surrounding areas, including aboriginal people from desert areas.
Over a period of 40 years, from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, native non-European labourers for the sugar cane fields of Queensland, were “recruited” from Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia as well as Niue. The “recruitment” process almost always included an element of coercive recruitment (not unlike the press-gangs once employed by the Royal Navy in England) and indentured servitude. Some 62,000 South Sea Islanders were taken to Australia.



15 comments:

Pat said...

Interesting, clever and instructive montage Glenys. Merci, merci.
Pat

Jeanie Callaghan said...

Completely awesome! I love the approach you took. Wonderful work!

Grannie Annie said...

Very cool and informative Glenys...I am always up to learn something new...great job!!

Gayle Page-Robak said...

So excellent. Love your presentation for this and the written word on the theme title.

Christine said...

What can I say, Glenys, Brazil's dark past isn't better and we still have so much to do... Thanks so much for this little piece of history.

Lori Saul said...

What a story Glenys-a unique approach to this theme. An historical event I had not heard of. Well done!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

That's a fascinating take on this theme, great piece of art.

Jackie said...

Glenys, this is such an interesting and meaningful piece. I hadn't heard of blackbirding, but it is so good for mankind to be reminded of these terrible practices so that, hopefully, we learn the lessons and don't repeat them.

Sue said...

What a fabulous interpretation of the word, thanks for the history behind it too, I love to discover things I did not know about.

Taluula said...

Oh wow Glenys, I hope everyone takes the time to enlarge this exceptional piece of art. I had not heard the term blackbirding but I can see how it could be linked to mean trickery. Of course it did happen everywhere, as I believe my 4xgreat grandfather took the King's shilling here in the UK in 1819!

Effie said...

... Very interesting!a fab piece of history and art!

missy k said...

Thank you for sharing....

Karen

Eila A said...

Glenys, thank you for telling us this story about the black history of mankind. It's unbelievable how much suffering man's greed has caused to poor people. I very much appreciate your decision to make a collage about a serious matter - art can be used for causes as well as pleasure.

Ozstuff said...

An ugly period in Australian history which you have illustrated so beautifully in pictures and in words. This is a wonderful, thoughtful piece, Glenys. Great work.

Katie said...

This was so interesting to read. love a good history lesson...and I really don't know too much about Australia. keep em coming, great art and history lessons. xo