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Book Review: Australia and the Pacific Aboriginal Labour and the Cattle Industry: Queensland from White Settlement to the Present. By Dawn May. Studies in Australian History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Pp. xii, 242. $59.95.

Bolton, G. (1997) Book Review: Australia and the Pacific Aboriginal Labour and the Cattle Industry: Queensland from White Settlement to the Present. By Dawn May. Studies in Australian History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Pp. xii, 242. $59.95. The Journal of Economic History, 57 (3). pp. 743-744.

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Abstract

No hoofed animal trod Australian soil until the coming of white settlement in 1788, but despite their lack of an indigenous grazing tradition the dispossessed Australian Aborigines soon found themselves working in the pastoral industry that formed a staple of settler capitalism. The creation of the colony (now state) of Queensland was quickly followed by the pastoral occupation of Australia's northeast in the 1860s. For ecological reasons pastoral leaseholders soon came to specialize in beef cattle managed through open-range grazing. Controversy developed as to the wisdom of permitting the surviving Aboriginal population to remain on the lands taken from them, but the more canny or enlightened pastoralists soon found them a cheap, adaptable, and versatile labor force. Aborigines, despite previous inexperience with horses, adjusted quickly to stock work. By 1886 they formed probably over half the entire workforce of the Queensland cattle industry and provided a model for the overlanders who occupied the Northern Territory and the Kimberley district of Western Australia at that time...

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 1997 The Economic History Association
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/15292
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