Objects with a connection to the trade of South Sea Islander labourers can be seen at the Queensland Museum. Some 736 objects make up the Museum’s Australian South Sea Islander Kastom Collection, which focuses predominantly on objects from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands that were collected or donated by people who had connection to the South Sea Islander labour trade between 1863 and 1908.
The collection includes weapons such as shields, clubs, bows and arrows; beautifully woven mats, bags and arm ornaments; and intricately designed fish hooks, lime containers, shell inlaid bowls and pendants.
If you know that your ancestors travelled on any of these boats at this time, then it is highly likely this axe, fish hook and many other objects like this made that journey with them.
There are many more objects like this in the Queensland Museum’s Australian South Sea Islander Kastom Collection. For more information about this collection please contact me at the Queensland Museum on (07) 3840 7555 or email email@example.com
Imelda Miller – Assistant Curator, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Indigenous Studies, Queensland Museum.