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Introduction:

In 1994 the Commonwealth Government ocially recognised the Australian South Sea Islander community as “a distinct ethnic group in Australia with its own history and culture”.en in November of 1995, the then Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, wrote to his Ministers advising of the 1994 Commonwealth Government recognition and asked them to ensure their departments were aware of the community in NSW and adequately reected their needs in government programs and services.Unfortunately little has changed since that time and the recognition and needs of e South Sea Islander community seems to have gone all but unnoticed within the general population. Now it is time for the South Sea Islander community to come together in recognition of our identity and to build community awareness and gather support for our cause.

 

Who are we?

Australian South Sea Islanders are the Australian-born descendants of people who were brought to Australia as a source of cheap labour for Queensland’s primary industries between 1863 and 1904.e Australian South Sea Islanders – Port Jackson are a representative body of these workers brought to Australia during that time.

 

Where do we come from?

South Sea Islanders are the Australian descendants of people from the more than 80 islands situated in the Western Pacic – including: the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) in Melanesia, the Loyalty Islands, Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji, Rotuma, Tuvalu in Polynesia and Micronesia – who were recruited between the mid to late 19th century as labour in the sugarcane elds of Queensland and other primary industries.Some were kidnapped or “black birded” into long-term indentured service. At the height of demand, the recruits accounted for over half the adult male population of some islands.

 

How Many South Sea Islanders Are In Australia?

ere are estimates that a population of between 10,000 and 30,000 descendants of these labourers are living in Australia today. Precise demographic details are not available, due to lack of inclusion in past census.Of some estimated 55,000 to 62,500 Islanders recruited, an estimated 10,000 remained in Australia in 1901. e majority were repatriated by the Australian Government in the period between 1906 and 1908 under the Pacic Island Labourers Act 1901.

 

What are our Links to the Pacific?

Many South Sea Islanders have established new relationships or continue to maintain existing links to their nation of origin via family connections.Goals and Requirements.Financial, practical and in-kind support for the Australian born South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson) Ltd is a vital requirement to enable us to achieve the following goals:e planning and Hosting of a celebratory event for 2012, marking the 20th anniversary of “the call for Recognition”. e planning and organisation of a Nationally recognized event in 2013 marking the150th anniversary of the rst South Sea Islanders being bought to Queensland.Hosting of a national congress to establish a uniform approach in addressing the current state of aairs and needs of the ASSI community with further recognition being sought on a more localized basis.Progressing the development of a Family Research Service similar to the ‘link up’ service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.e launch of a website to coincide with the 2013 celebrations. is site will be an important link for the SSI community, it’s supporters and stakeholders as a means of keeping them informed of current news and events as well as all activities happening within the community.