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Linking History: Indian Indentured Labour in Australia

In this episode, LAKSHMI GANAPATHY discusses the debate surrounding Indian indentured labour in Australia and the broader Indian indenture system, which persisted until the 1920s.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Linking History is a new video series from Indian Link diving into the history of Australia since its colonisation, highlighting how South Asians have interacted and contributed to this history and the complex relationship we have with this unceded land.

In this episode, Lakshmi discusses the debate surrounding Indian indentured labour in Australia and the broader Indian indenture system, which persisted until the 1920s.

Resources used during this episode:

Allbrook, M (2012) ‘’A Triple Empire…United under One Dominion’: Charles Prinsep’s Schemes for Exporting Indian Labour to Australia’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 35:3, pp.648-670

Anitha, S. and Pearson, R. (2013) ‘Indentured labour from South Asia (1834-1917)’, Striking Women, Lincoln: University of Lincoln

Atkinson, A & Aveling, M (1987), ‘Chapter 4: Work’ and ‘Chapter 9: Justice’ from Australians 1838, Broadway, NSW Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates

Cullen, R (2012) Empire, Indian Indentured Labour and the Colony: The Debate Over ‘coolie’ Labour in New South Wales, 1836–1838, History Australia, vol.9 no.1, pp. 84-109

Davis, JG (2022), ‘Modern Slavery, 19th Century Slavery, and the University of Sydney’, Honi Soit, 27 February

Mackay, John & Mayo, J. R & New South Wales. Legislative Council. 1837, Indian immigration: on the introduction of Indian labourers, October 1836 Legislative Council

Mahoney, M (2020), ‘A ‘new system of slavery’? The British West Indies and the origins of Indian indenture‘, National Archives UK blog

Major, A (2017) ‘Hill Coolies’: Indian Indentured Labour and the Colonial Imagination, 1836–38. South Asian Studies, vol. 33 (1). pp. 23-36.

Mishra, S (2021), ‘Violence, Resilience and the ‘Coolie’ Identity: Life and Survival on Ships to the Caribbean, 1834–1917’, The Journal Of Imperial And Commonwealth History 2022, VOL. 50, NO. 2, 241–263

Ohlsson, T. (2011) ‘The origins of a white Australia: the coolie question 1837-43’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Royal Australian Historical Society, 97(2), pp. 203–219. Ohlsson, T. (2018) ‘Wentworth’s coolies’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Royal Australian Historical Society, 104(2), pp. 177–196.

Sharif, S (2023), ‘Historical hardship, resilience and freedom: My Indo-Fijian identity’, Indian Link, 10 October

Woolacott, A (2015) ‘Settler Men as Masters of Labour: Convicts and Non-white Workers’, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture, Oxford, pp. 67-97.

READ ALSO: Linking History: Indian Servants and Convicts in Australia

Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy is an emerging journalist and theatre-maker based in Melbourne.

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