Video interview by Indigenous filmmaker Steven McGregor with Emelda Davis about NSW Entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd for Servant or Slave – NITV documentary.
Today ASSI people remain marginalized, unrecognized, and even unknown to exist as citizens of Australia, with their labour contribution to the nation’s economic base hidden in history, and their own history hidden even from themselves as a community.
The term “Australian South Sea Islander” refers to the Australian descendants of people from more than 80 islands in the Western Pacific including the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) in Melanesia, the Loyalty Islands, Samoa, Kiribati, Rotuma (Fiji), Tuvalu in Polynesia and Micronesia who were recruited to the indentured labour trade which was akin to slavery, and started in NSW in 1847 (through Benjamin Boyd), with an influx to QLD between 1863-1908, to work and establish Australia’s economic base in sugar cane, maritime and pastoral industries.
ASSI have an evident kinship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities given their historical demographic through the labour trade and interracial marriage which sees today 100’s of families with direct Aboriginal bloodlines or marriage into Aboriginal families. The Torres Strait is more prominent in that and influx of ASSI were taken into the Torres Strait for pearling and bêche-de-mer industries as well as through the London Missionary Society from 1870 onwards. The most significant ASSI ‘colony’ is on Mua (St Pauls) Island, established by the Anglican Church in the 1900s.
Servant Or Slave: Stunning New Documentary Exposes Australia’s Stolen Wages History
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