Among Australia’s Pioneers

Chinese Indentured Pastoral Workers on the Northern Frontier 1848 to c.1880

by Margaret Slocomb

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Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 7/25/2014

Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 352
ISBN : 9781452524818
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 352
ISBN : 9781452524801

About the Book

The almost simultaneous abolition of the slave trade and the cessation of convict transportation to the colony of New South Wales—now eastern mainland Australia—started a quest by the squatter pastoralists for alternative sources of cheap labor for their vast sheep runs. Over a period of five years, beginning from 1848, around three thousand Chinese men and boys from Fujian Province were recruited under conditions little different from the slave trade.

In Among Australia’s Pioneers, author Margaret Slocomb focuses on the experiences of approximately two hundred of these Chinese laborers between 1848 and 1853. Her research examines their working conditions during the five-year indenture period and also traces the lives of several of the men who, at the end of their contract, chose to remain in those districts, which, by then, had become familiar to them. Perhaps they regarded themselves as pioneer immigrants.

Slocomb recounts the experiences of these men on the dangerous northern frontier of European settlement. While some succumbed to the despair and loneliness of a shepherd’s life, others survived their indenture and went on to play an important role in the emerging society of the new colony of Queensland. They may certainly be counted among the nation’s pioneers.

About the Author

Margaret Slocomb holds a PhD in history from the University of Queensland, Australia. An education specialist, she spent most of her professional career in China and several countries in Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia. This is her first book on Australian history.