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A cruize [sic] in a Queensland labour vessel to the South Seas

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: A cruize [sic] in a Queensland labour vessel to the South Seas
Author(s): Giles, Ernest
Date published: 1968
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press.
The narrative of W. E. Giles is the fullest and least biased account of a voyage in a labour recruiting vessel which is known to exist. The author paints a vivid picture of the dangers - from hostile natives to drunken cooks - and discomforts of a voyage in a small ship of his day. Giles was an acute observer with the ability to record what he saw in graphic terms. He describes in detail the varied receptions which met European visitors to Melanesia in the 1870s and the manner in which Pacific islanders left their homes for work on foreign plantations. Accompanying the Bobtail Nag's boats when they landed to recruit, he had excellent opportunities to see exactly how this recruiting was carried out and to learn something of the way in which the people lived. The Introduction gives the general background to the narrative and draws on a wide range of documentary sources to present a broad picture of the labour trade. Giles's account gains additional interest from the detailed comments in the footnotes which accompany it. Of great value to historians of the period, this book has also a wide appeal to all interested in the Pacific islands or the trade in indentured labour at that time.


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