The Kanakas: Blackbirding In Australia

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World War II (1939-1945) led Australians to fight for their rights and freedom, and whilst the wars overseas were coming to an end, Aboriginal Australians were still denied basic rights and freedom, yet living in their own country. Although there were government policies that expressed that all Australians must be viewed alike in their attitudes and customs, aboriginal people were still discriminated in all levels. They were expected to assimilate and blend in with the new 'White' Australia. It was very difficult for the aboriginal people to blend into the British community, the reason being that both aboriginals and the British had not much in common, including: Cultures, values, way of living etc. In the other hand, there were also discrimination…show more content…
The Kanakas were from the area known as Melanesia (part of the Pacific Islands). They were brought into Australia to mainly work in the sugarcane plantations in Queensland. By the early 1890s, 46,000 laborers had arrived in Queensland, Many of these people were forcibly removed from their homes, in a process called "blackbirding", by which Islanders were either kidnapped or tricked into traveling to Australia. The issue of non Europeans settling in Australia was increasing, and the colonial governments were looking for ways to stop these settlers. This was one of the main reasons why the colonies agreed to join as one nation. There were three main reasons behind the push for laws to restrict immigration, these reasons were: 1. Economic factors. From the 1890s -1930s, Australia had gone through an economic depression; this meant that the jobs of Europeans were replaced by imported workers, these mostly included Asians. Unemployment reached a record high of almost 29% in 1932, one of the highest rates in the…show more content…
Civil wars. Australians did not want to be in civil wars, such as the civil war in America (1861-65). More than 600 000 lives were taken away in this fight between two sides of one nation, and this was just because of different races. Many Historians believe that the passion for 'White Australia' was the main reason for federation. Australians were making it very clear that they wanted to defend their colonies as a place for only white people. By the year 1890, all colonies of Australia had its own anti Chinese law in place to try to reduce the number of Chinese immigrants in Australia. In the decade of public debate leading up to Federation in 1901, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were not included in any of the conventions and consultations, and they were largely ignored. After federation aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders were excluded from Australian society generally, and from the rights, responsibilities and benefits which other Australian citizens enjoyed. Not only did this effect on the lives of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, it affected all non-European cultures in Australia. And federation not only affected people living in Australia, immigration to Australia from other countries slowed after
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