Subject is exactly W.H. Brommage
Journalists from the United States and Australia get inside the post-Civil War practice of recruiting Pacific Islanders to work the world's non-U.S. plantations on extended contracts of indenture.
George Morrison was a twenty-year-old Australian medical student looking for an adventurous diversion after failing his intermediate exam. He self-styled an assignment to see how the labor trade of Queensland worked in 1882, signing on to sail as an ordinary seaman aboard the Lavinia.Three months later, the ship returned from its "blackbirding" expedition with a new batch of recruits from the New Hebrides and Banks. Morrison wrote an eight-part travelogue for The Leader, and later, provided a more critical view for The Age.
J.D. Melvin, at the behest of his editors at the Argus, gets a job as a supercargo aboard the Helena on a round-trip journey from Queensland to the Solomon Islands. He observes and participates in the return of 60 workers at the completion of their work contracts, and the recruitment and transport of 90 new workers from the islands.
Brommage spent nearly six months aboard the Montserrat, documenting the voyage of a blackbirder leaving from San Francisco to recruit workers from the Gilbert Islands to work plantations in Guatemala on long-term contracts of indenture. The cover story for the journey was a shipment of coal picked up in British Columbia. Unlike Melvin's series in the Argus, Brommage's account was full of nasty characters, shady to illegal business practices, abuse and danger.