Islanders in Australia still unaware of Blackbirding history- (18/7/2016)

  • 3:05 pm today

The story is inspired by the little-known history of Australia’s ‘sugar slaves’.

More than 150 years on, many descendants of so-called blackbirders still don’t know about the dark history which brought around 60,000 Pacific islanders to Australia.

The short film “Blackbird” is helping to raise awareness about Australia’s blackbirding history which saw mainly Melanesians kidnapped and sent to work on plantations in the 1800s.

Its director Amie Batalibasi is descended from Solomon Islanders who were blackbirded and she says she only found out about the harsh treatment the workers received when researching the film.

One of the film’s actors, Jeremy Bobby, said he also had no knowledge about Australia’s blackbirding history.

“To be quite honest, everyone that I speak to, and I say the term ‘blackbird’ – no one knows a clue and this is like, in Australia, this is in Brisbane. All my friends in Brisbane, my family that I speak to, they really don’t know anything about it and it shows how much has been shoved under the rug, how much we actually haven’t been told.”

“Blackbird” is showing at the New Zealand International Film Festival





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