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Workers in Bondage
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Workers in Bondage

Author: Kay Saunders



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Workers in Bondage is primarily concerned with Queensland’s Pacific Islander labour force, but it begins with the origins of servitude in Queensland during the convict era before separation from New South Wales in 1859. The book also deals with the reconstruction of the Queensland sugar industry after the withdrawal of Islander labour and describes the realities of white labour and the early trade union struggles in the sugar industry.  First published in 1982, Workers in Bondage is based on thorough documentary research in archives and newspapers. Underlying the text is an analysis of labour manipulation by capitalism in a new colony during a time of transition from slavery to indenture in the British Empire. It is a study of race relations in a frontier society.  Workers in Bondage is regarded as a seminal study of colonial Queensland and one of the major books on the Pacific Islands’ labour trade.

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