Kanaka Memorial Print Page
A monument commemorates the hardships and sacrifices made by the ancestors of South Sea Islanders who were transported to Queensland to work as indentured labour in mainly the sugar and cotton plantations. Symbols of their land and culture were chosen by their descendants and cast in bronze on the memorial.
Between 1863 and 1904 some 50,000 Kanakas were “blackbirded” from the Polynesian Islands to labour in the Queensland cane fields. Approximately 14,800 of these were located between Bundaberg and Maryborough. They were harshly treated, suffered disease, poorly fed and death rates were 400% higher than white Australian workers. Despite these terrible conditions they helped forge the Australian sugar industry which has since its inception played a major role in the economic development of Australia
|Address:||Richmond Street, Mary River Parklands, Maryborough, 4650|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -25.538107|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Monument Designer:||Sue McLean & Trevor Spohr|
SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS IN MARYBOROUGH
South Sea Islanders descendants continue to live and work in the region. Their culture remains strong and they continue to maintain links with their islands of origins. The monument is is recognition of the hard work and the sacrifices our ancestors endured.
THE MARYBOROUGH KANAKA MEMORIAL
The tragedies and prosperity that the trade in human cargo bought to our shores commands a poweful place in our history. Kanakas landing in Maryborough came from 3 South Pacific island groups, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Kanakas walking from the black-birding ships moored at the wharf on the river below passed this place on their way to be registered at the Maryborough Customs House.
These black marble boulders were taken from the ancient sea site at Chillagoe in north west Queensland. The sea that eroded the boulders also lapped the shores of the islands from where the Kanakas came.
The boulders are split as were the lives and families of these people. Symbols of their lands and culture were chosen by their descendants and cast in bronze. Placed in the heart of the rocks, these important images celebrate the places from where they came, the cultures they left behind and the enrichment of our lives today.
This tribute is a cooperative project between Maryborough City Council and Daralata Australian South Sea Islander Association representing the the South Sea Islander groups.
The concept was developed by artists Sue McLean and Trevor Spohr in consultation with the Daralata Australian South Sea Islander Association. The rocks were found by Sue McLean. The bronzes were modelled in clay by Trevor Spohr and cast by Matilda Foundry.
SYMBOLS ON THE MEMORIAL:
A powerful spiritual messenger
A helper for paddling canoes
Provides safe travel over water
Fleche Fatiere Home of Ancestral Spirits
Conch Shells Voice of Ancestors
Spear Points Protection from bad spirits
The Pig's tusk and the Namele leaf represent
Prosperity and peace respectively.