Abstract: In a time when a white labour-force was lacking and fear for the survival of the white man in Tropical Australia was widespread, when a cultural and economic hegemony in the Tropical North was still to be achieved, and slavery in the British Empire was outlawed, the transportation of often forced native labour from the Pacific Islands to Queensland’s plantations (1860s-1900s) became the best solution to guarantee two important effects: 1) the availability of an (almost) unwaged, racialised and segregated labour-force; and 2) the eventual return home of this labour, so its presence would not threaten Australia’s design of racial autarchy. My article investigates the connections between that particular system of production (sugar and cotton plantations in Queensland), its correspondent model of exploitation (indentured labour), the colour assignment in the Pacific, and the particular characteristics of Australia as a white settler colony. Its focus is on blackbirding, that particular system of labour recruitment and exploitation that involved Pacific islanders as indentured labourers between 1863 and 1904. .
Keywords: Blackbirding; logic of exploitation; white autarchy; Brown Pacific.
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