Cane and Labour: The Political Economy of the Queensland Sugar Industry, 1862-1906

By Adrian Graves | Go to book overview

be a very successful solution, for they operated as an effective means of filling up idle time and defusing the level of inter-group conflict on the plantations.

In summary then, the plantation, the state and what have been termed 'social controls', all contributed to the web of controls exerted over the Pacific Islanders in Queensland. Social means of control buttressed the function of both the plantation and the state, and they became especially significant as the dominance of the plantations waned. The reconstruction of sugar production required a stable workforce which at the same time was prevented from organising and engaging in collective bargaining. The trade box, religion and education, alcohol and drugs, prostitution and gambling, singing, dancing, feasting and recreational sports achieved this purpose, through impoverishing the workers and undermining the development of their class consciousness. Despite the coerciveness of the Queensland system, however, the immigrants resisted it creatively and with extraordinary vitality.


NOTES
1.
This chapter and its argument should be compared especially with Saunders, "'Uncertain Bondage'", Chapter IX. Much of the behaviour of the immigrants discussed in this chapter and in Chapter 8 is discussed by other writers in Pacific history under the rubric of 'acculturation'. For a discussion and criticism of that approach, see above, fn. 5 of Chapter 8.
2.
For a more comprehensive treatment of the trade box system see Graves, "'Truck and Gifts'". Despite its prominence and the important part played by the trade box in the immigration of Pacific Islanders, the system has been curiously by-passed by other writers. The only serious treatment of the system in the literature is in Corris, Passage, Port and Plantation, pp. 111-15, though this is largely descriptive, and it fails to recognise the vital role performed by the trade box in the colonial economy.
3.
For comprehensive lists of trade box commodities see: IA to CS, 6 April 1871, PP, 1871, XLVIII, (468), p. 69; Whish to CS, 22 May 1867, QSA, Col. A/95;67/2471; Hope, p. 15; Southerden to Assistant IA, Maryborough, 14 August 1877, QVP, 1877, II, pp. 1237-42; Chester to UCS, 21 February 1887, QSA Col. A/492;87/ 1798; " Thurston to CO, 28 January 1884", PRO, CO 83/36; Brisbane Courier, 16 August, 1892; 'Report of C. M. Woodford on the Solomon Islands', PP. 1897, LIX, [C. 8457], p. 13; Wawn, p. 81.
4.
For detailed treatment of this aspect see Graves, "'Truck and Gifts'", pp. 98-106.
5.
For many references to trainees' trade boxes see Dr H. Welchman, Journals, ( 11 vols., January 1889-November 1908) and the BeattieCollection of Photographs

-184-

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Cane and Labour: The Political Economy of the Queensland Sugar Industry, 1862-1906
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables x
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xii
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Notes xvi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 5
  • 1 - The Rise of Plantation Production, 1862-1889 8
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - The Economic and Political Foundations of the Central Milling System 23
  • Notes 48
  • 3 - Reconstruction and the Abolition of the Labour Trade 1890-1906 57
  • Notes 69
  • 4 - The Material Life of Pacific Island Labour in the Queensland Sugar Industry 74
  • Notes 102
  • 5 - The Plantation 111
  • Conclusion 131
  • Notes 133
  • 6 - The State and the Control of Pacific Islanders in Queensland 138
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - Social Control 154
  • Notes 184
  • 8 - Worker Resistance 192
  • 9 - Conclusion 218
  • Notes 226
  • Appendix 228
  • Notes 235
  • Select Bibliography 251
  • Index 271
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