Reconciling The Dark History of Slavery

Reference: Collins, B. (2018) The Dark History of Slavery In Australian Pearling, ABC News, Australia. Available at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-09/slavery-in-australian-pearling/10217488


"..Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images of people who have died and content which may cause distress."

"...Not long after arriving from England in the 1870s, police records and eyewitness accounts describe how Harry Hunter settled into a brutal existence trading in pearl shell and human lives."

"From what I hear from my grandfather and my uncles, he was a pretty violent man at that time," Terry Hunter says.

  PHOTO:  In the early days of pearling, Aboriginal men, women and children were used, often brutally, to dive for shell. (Supplied: National Museum of Australia, courtesy Herbert Basedow Collection)

PHOTO: In the early days of pearling, Aboriginal men, women and children were used, often brutally, to dive for shell. (Supplied: National Museum of Australia, courtesy Herbert Basedow Collection)

"...Numerous police reports describe Harry Hunter caught on land with Aboriginal men in chains, or accused of beating and drowning Aboriginal men and children on pearling boats.

"It was a very brutal time, because if the younger ones didn't come up with mother-of-pearl shell, he would knock them on the head and send them back down again," Mr Hunter said.

"He was definitely a slaver, and also a murderer."

"He took care of all of his children … he taught the Hunter men and women how to get out there and be in the workplace and to move forward.

"I've still got a great work ethic that's trickled down from that old fella."


Reference: Collins, B. (2018) The Dark History of Slavery In Australian Pearling, ABC News, Australia. Available at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-09/slavery-in-australian-pearling/10217488