Item #3710370 The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade. William T. WAWN.
The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade.
The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade.
The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade.

The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade.

London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1893.

Tall octavo, frontispiece and four maps, numerous plates and illustrations, bookplate, early owner's name on endpaper; a fine copy in original blue cloth, gilt, very light bumping at extremities of spine.

First edition of the author's only book. A lengthy, sometimes self-aggrandizing, attempt to justify the displacement of the "Kanakas" to work in the plantations of Northern Queensland, on the grounds that they were a "class of labourers better able to endure the climate than Europeans, as well as to work at a cheaper rate".

First edition of the author's only book. A lengthy, sometimes self-aggrandizing, attempt to justify the displacement of the "Kanakas" to work in the plantations of Northern Queensland, on the grounds that they were a "class of labourers better able to endure the climate than Europeans, as well as to work at a cheaper rate".

Wawn had been involved in the trade since its inception in 1875, after five years trading, salvaging and beach-combing among the islands of the western Pacific. Here, Wawn is complacent about the implications of the trade, as can be seen in his incendiary dedication to the pioneers and sugar-planters of Queensland, "Basely Betrayed, and Unscrupulously Sacrificed to the Greed of the Political Place-hunter and the Howling Ignorance which follows in his train…". Peter Corris has written of Wawn and his book: "Something of a misanthropist, Wawn was intensely critical of his fellow Europeans, and never concealed his disapproval of the manners of the Pacific islands people but he did not deny their intelligence and resourcefulness. His book, The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade, is a valuable, sensitive and subtle account of the nature of the trade" (ADB).

Wawn's original manuscript was lost on the wreck of the Quetta in 1890, forcing him to re-write and update the work as here. A mollifying preface by the editors is evidence of mounting political pressure in England regarding the trade; they comment that they have chosen to concentrate on the narrative and practical aspects of the work, deputing W. Delisle Hay with the task of editing the book for publication.

Price (AUD): $550.00

US$361.80   Other currencies

Ref: #3710370