Australian South Sea Islander exhibition coming to the State Library of Queensland

Australian South Sea Islander history and heritage continues to be an untold story in our wider community.   The State Library of Queensland is proud to announce the development of a new exhibition, Plantation Voices: Contemporary Conversations with Australian South Sea Islanders.

South Sea Islanders cutting cane in the Bundaberg district, ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-032-0001-0018

South Sea Islanders cutting cane in the Bundaberg district, ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-032-0001-0018

The exhibition will open to the public on the 16 February 2019 in the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery on Level 4, at the State Library.  It will explore the living history of Australian South Sea Islanders, by exploring the State Library of Queensland collections including images, books and documentation collected over the last 150 years.  The collections, especially the original material, will be the back drop to a conversation about the significant contribution South Sea Islanders and their descendants, Australian South Sea Islanders have made to Queensland’s cultural landscape.

These images and documents of our South Sea Islander ancestors are a major part of Australian South Sea Islander identity, history and heritage.  They have carried our stories for the last 150 years and will continue to carry them on into the future.  The time has come for these stories of our living history to be reclaimed for the generations that have passed and the generations still to come.  Plantation Voices: Contemporary Conversations with Australian South Sea Islanders, begins a journey to repatriate these text, words, stories, images and experiences of the original South Sea Islanders to their descendants, the Australian South Sea Islanders.

Contemporary artworks and digital stories from the Australian South Sea Islander community will be showcased together with original material held in other major cultural institutions in Queensland including Queensland State Archives and Queensland Museum.  Please keep watching the Australian South Sea Islander blog for more information in the lead up to the opening of the exhibition.

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Imelda Miller – Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland