Australian South Sea Islander blog is back!

The Australian South Sea Islander blog is back in action.  Once again I have teamed up with the State Library of Queensland to celebrate Australian South Sea Islander identity, culture and heritage.  This is made extra special this week as we celebrate Australian South Sea Islander Recognition on Saturday 25 August 2018.

South Sea Islander Cane Cutter Memorial outside the South Sea Islander Hut in Mackay, Queensland, 2000. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 28873-0001-0028

South Sea Islander Cane Cutter Memorial outside the South Sea Islander Hut in Mackay, Queensland, 2000. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 28873-0001-0028

It was on this day in 1994 the Commonwealth Government of Australia first recognised Australian South Sea Islanders as our own distinct minority group.  This was a momentous occasion for the descendants of South Sea Islanders who had been extensively campaigning for recognition since the 1970’s.

Reflecting back this announcement meant many things to many people.  Have a listen to Rex Eggmolesse’s interview, at the end he speaks about recognition and what it meant to him.

The announcement by the Commonwealth Government was made in response to recommendations made in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report, A Call for Recognition: A Report on the Situation of Australian South Sea Islanders. which was a response to the, the  1991 Evatt Foundation report, Australian south Sea Islanders: A report on the current status of South Sea Islanders in Australia

If you are in Brisbane on Saturday night, make sure you take time to look at the Story Bridge lit up in Blue, Green, White and Yellow to support Australian South Sea Islanders National Day of Recognition.  The Australian South Sea Islander Community aims to recognise this culturally significant anniversary and pay respect to our South Sea Islander ancestors and forebears.

Imelda Miller – Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland