Palm Island Strike Essay

295 WordsAug 31, 20142 Pages
Palm Island is an Aboriginal community located 65km north-east of Townsville in Queensland. The community is known by a variety of different names including ‘’the mission’’ and ‘’tropical paradise.’’ Its aboriginal name is ‘Bwgcolman.’ Although it has a troubled history it is also ranked as the fourth most disadvantaged community in Australia. The community was often the discussion point of political and social commentators, concerning its lack of jobs and housing. Palm Island’s uneasy history began in 1914 when the Queensland Government detained control from the traditional owners, the manburra people. During the next 20 years more than 1600 people from 42 different tribes were sent to the island and forbidden from speaking their own language and undertaking any traditional practices. Into the late 50s poor rations, horrible living conditions, slave wages, disease, gross mis management and abuse made living conditions difficult for residents. They were kept under strict supervision then made to work 30 hours a week without pay, whilst being ‘’educated’’ in being cooks, domestics and other low-skilled workers. Gender and age were all forced to live in separate dorms away from each other. Later in 1957, seven Palm Island men led the strike as we know today as the Palm Island Strike, they demanded wages to be given, improved health, housing and working conditions, without the help of any fellow Australians. Resulting in this action the seven men and their families of which including Cathy Freeman’s grandparents and mother, were expelled from the island My opinions based on this case is that the Queensland Government shouldn’t have taken control of the island as it wasn’t necessary too. It had its traditional owners so there was no need for the Queenslanders to take over and make everyone’s a hard

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