Kanaka MemorialPrint Page Print this page

13-May-2016 (Erich Nussbaumer)
13-May-2016 (Erich Nussbaumer)

Photographs supplied by Erich Nussbaumer / John Huth

The monument commemorates all South Sea Islanders bought to Queensland as labour to work in cotton and cane fields. It is erected at the site of fifty-five otherwise unmarked graves of Islanders. The memorial depicts a life size Islander standing with a cane knife in one hand and with the other hand holding the arm of a dead companion lying at his feet. The backdrop resembles sugar cane.

Islanders were used as conscript labour in Queensland`s sugar cane industry from 1863 to 1906. Over forty ships brought the Islanders to Queensland, many of whom were kidnapped or `blackbirded`, having little understanding of the three year labour contracts they had signed. Twelve thousand "kanakas" as they were called, were brought into the area around Hervey Bay, initially by one Captain Coath.

The Captain`s methods caused the death of many Islanders during the voyage to Australia. A government agent, Meiklejohn, was sent to check that the recruiting was fair. During this trip, the Captain put the agent in chains where he stayed for the remainder of the voyage. As a result, Meiklejohn temporarily lost his sanity but when he recovered his testimony led to Coath`s imprisonment.


Address:Corser Street, Polson Cemetery, Point Vernon, 4655
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -25.252811
Long: 152.813589
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Culture
Approx. Event Start Date:1863
Approx. Event End Date:1906
Designer:Leo Favell


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1972
Front Inscription

To the memory of all South Sea Islanders brought to Queensland as conscript labourers to work in cotton and sugar cane fields

1863  - 1906

May their toil be not forgotten

Erected by Hervey Bay O.P.A.L.

Dara Lata

Source: MA,NRUM
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au