Tag Archive: Australian South Sea Islanders

Australian South Sea Islanders come together in Bundaberg, Queensland, for an historical national conference to discuss the creation of a national body representing their interests.

It’s an emotional time for Matt Nagas, third generation South Sea Islander whose ancestors were brought in to work in Queensland’s plantations. He says there is a need to promote awareness about the blackbirding legacy and the crucial role South Sea Islanders played in the development of the sugar industry.

Wantok 2012  is also attended by traditional leaders from Vanuatu who have expressed support for the establishment of a peak body for South Sea Islanders. Emelda Davis, the conference coordinator,  says the national conference  is an opporturnity  to share stories, reconnect  and move forward together as a community and speak in one voice.


South Sea Islander Conference in Bundaberg this weekend

05 April 2012 , 12:06 PM by David Dowsett

Bundaberg is the host this weekend for the inaugural Australian South Sea Islanders Conference Wantok 2012.

The main purpose of the conference is to establish a national body that will represent one voice to speak out on the pressing needs for Australian South Sea Islanders.

Organizers Emalda Davis and Matt Nagus explained what was lined up…


What would a national body mean ? Dunae has an insight ;-)


ETM Perspectives – Duane Vickery ‘Leadership and Governance’

Rhys Wesser was asked a series of questions in relation to being an Australian South Sea Islander and what a national body for Australian South Sea Islanders would mean to him?

We are actively seeking your contribution – financial or other that will assist the establishment of a national body that represents the voice of Australian South Sea Islanders.

For you information pack on Wantok 2012
email:assi.pj@gmail.com or call m: +61 2 (0) 416 300 946

The question was - What would a national body do for Australian South Sea Islanders who are the descendants of the ‘Blackbiring’ era?

Marcus Corowa is turning heads amongst music fans with his catchy melodies and lyrics from the heart. Gifted with a silky smooth singing voice, Marcus draws on his Aboriginal and South Sea Islander roots, mixing in the sounds of classic RnB to create a soulful, soothing sound distinctly his own.

Growing up in Bowen, a small coastal town in Queensland, Marcus spent his childhood days eating loads of mangoes and playing guitar from the age of 6. He moved from Bowen to Brisbane with his family in his teens, and after finishing high school, he sorted mail at Australia Post. Marcus soon swapped stamps for his guitar and in late 2009 he decided to pursue a career in music.

When Marcus was asked to volunteer his services for Wantok 2012… his words “of course –  its my mob!”

Another South Sea Islander Story…

Phyllis Corowa one of the many decendants of the original South Sea Islander People brought to Australia to work in the cane fields.Phyllis Corowa’s father and grandmother were taken from Vanuatu to work on a Queensland sugar plantation during a drive to gain cheap labour between 1863 and 1904.

Today, the 92 year-old sits in the shade at her Chinderah home. She suffers dementia now, but in her younger days she spoke out about the injustice done to her people.

She lives not far from the burial ground historically significant as the last resting place of many South Sea Islanders who were brought to the east coast of Australia. You can read the full story HERE

What does recognition mean to you?

We asked Matt Nagas

Wantok 2012 – Australian South Sea Islanders National Conference.

6th – 9th April 2012 at the Bundaberg Civic Centre.

Register NOW!