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The Bishop of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait pearlers' strike of 1936

journal contribution
posted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by David Wetherell
The exploitation of Islander pearl divers in Torres Strait and the Queensland Government's control of divers' wages was the major cause of a strike by 400 divers in 1936. The strike was also fuelled by overall discontent with the Queensland Government's rule and a desire to be free of the Queensland Protectors. An address in 1935 by Stephen Davies, Bishop of Carpentaria, urging the Commonwealth of Australia to strip Queensland and other states of management of Island and Aboriginal affairs provided the catalyst. Davies's Torres Strait Island clergy played a pivotal role in the resistance to state control. One lasting effect of the strike lay in the introduction of elected Islander councils in 1937, but what happened subsequently allowed the perpetuation of Queensland control through the new Department of Native Affairs. The results of the strike fell short of the complete transfer to the Commonwealth that the Torres Strait pearl divers and clergy had envisaged.

History

Journal

Journal of pacific history

Volume

39

Issue

2

Pagination

185 - 202

Publisher

Routledge

Location

London, England

ISSN

0022-3344

eISSN

1469-9605

Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Taylor & Francis

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