Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Connecting at Conference

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Connecting at Conference

Article excerpt

Emily Prain

AN INTERIM secretariat has been established to represent the rights of Australian South Sea Islanders, following a four-day nation-wide conference held in Bundaberg.

Wantok 2012 was the first national conference of South Sea Islanders to be held with the major purpose of forming a national representative body.

Emelda Davis, the Australian South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson) president and conference co-ordinator, said the weekend's events had been well received.

aThere's been great attendance throughout the whole four days,a she said.

aThere was no drifting a everyone stayed focused.a

Ms Davis said Bundaberg was one of the main ports during the 19th century where thousands of South Sea Islanders were used as slaves to develop primary industries, predominately sugar cane.

aThis is a forgotten people's story,a Ms Davis said.

Ms Davis said a lot of people still did not know about aour blackbirding historya a when the islanders were tricked or kidnapped into working as labourers. …

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