XII-"The Kanaka Labour Traffic" - J.D. Melvin - The Argus

"Our Representative on a Recruiting Schooner; A Full Ship; The Nineteenth 'Boy' Obtained"

 An unusual thing happened on the Sunday night.  At 10 o’clock a large canoe came alongside, and its occupants – six youth from Coolacombor, where we got our last two recruits – offered themselves as labourers for Queensland.  Could the natives be in league against me?  One of the chief objects of my mission was to see and expose the misrepresentations, the cajolery, and the kidnapping, by force or fraud, which certain controversialists alleged to be inseparable from the Polynesian labour traffic.  So far I had seen nothing which could be twisted to mean any of those things.  On the contrary, I had witnessed natives face danger and overcome difficulties that would have been insurmountable without great determination to join the ship. 

Description:The eleventh article in The Argus' series "The Kanaka Labour Traffic" by J.D. Melvin about his time spent as a crew member on the blackbirding vessel The Helena sent to recruit laborers from the the Solomon Islands.

Rights: Public domain.

Additional Media

An article in The Argus written by J.D. Melvin for the "The Kanaka Labour Traffic" series.