My wife and I in Queensland : an eight years' experience in the above colony, with some account of Polynesian labour

Eden, Charles H. My wife and I in Queensland : an eight years' experience in the above colony, with some account of Polynesian labour. London, UK: Longmans Green, 1872.

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Author Eden, Charles H.
Title My wife and I in Queensland : an eight years' experience in the above colony, with some account of Polynesian labour
Place of Publication London, UK
Publisher Longmans Green
Publication year 1872
Sub-type Other
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Language eng
Total number of pages 346
Subjects 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Abstract/Summary Introductory chapter: Every profession and calling in England being already overcrowded, and those unfortunate beings, younger sons, continuing to be born, there can be no doubt that these and other portionless individuals must direct their attention to the only outlet left open, viz. our Colonies ; in the ranks of which Australia occupies a large, if not the most prominent place. Influenced by this consideration, I have thought that the actual experiences of one who has himself passed through many of the chequered phases of life in our newest colony — QUEENSLAND, may not be uninteresting or without its use to those whom inclination or the force of circumstances may lead to seek a new abode, and to whom the real every-day life of a settler remains a sealed book. In the following pages I have striven truthfully to set before the reader the kind of life a gentleman may expect to meet, neither unduly colouring, nor, on the other hand, disguising facts, but simply describing the country and the people as I found them. The fact that my wife shared with me most of the hardships and adventures which it was my lot to encounter, has enabled me to give some idea of the life of an English lady in the bush, which I believe has never before been related, and which I venture to think cannot fail to be valuable to married people who may propose emigrating and facing the hardships of the bush. I say ' hardships' advisedly, for that there are many to overcome and much to be endured will be patent to any who may be at the trouble of perusing the following pages ; but still, as evils seem always worse until grappled with, and when brought in actual contact with what appears at a distance most repulsive, half of their sinister aspect fades away, so I find that the recollection of many incidents touch me far more keenly now when I recall them, though long years have elapsed, than they did at the time they occurred. In order that the book may prove useful, I have thought it worth while, in many cases, to enter into details, which however trite to the colonist and savant, it is all important a ' new chum' should be acquainted with; for a man, particularly a Benedict, proposing to emigrate is beset by numerous doubts and difficulties, many of which are doubtless owing to the ignorance of petty details, which, though in themselves seemingly insignificant, yet go far to make up the sum of life and it is with a view of making him conversant with such details that the present volume has been written. A fact which should be borne in mind by all people reading Australian books, or who bend their thoughts in that direction, is, that in that country no one loses caste by performing bodily labour, indeed it is just the reverse, and the more a man can do for himself the better he will get on. I have seen an officer, late of a crack dragoon regiment, drive a dray laden with firewood to a house, sell, unload and stack it himself, receive his money and drive off; and have met him that evening at a ball at the same house, and by virtue of the prefix to his name taking the hostess down to supper. The recent murder of poor Bishop Pattison having drawn a good deal of attention to the importation of Polynesian labourers into Queensland, I have entered somewhat at length upon the subject, for it seems to me that the above colony being the only one that has stirred a finger to prevent the abuse of the system, has, by striving to do what is right, drawn upon itself a great deal of unmerited obloquy. I have endeavoured to set forth clearly and succinctly both sides of the question, leaving the reader to form his own conclusions. Though the ultimate result of my own labours was fruitless, I shall not consider my experience thrown away, if it prove of the slightest use, either as a guide or a warning to those who may follow in my footsteps.
Keyword Melanesians -- Queensland
Queensland -- Description and travel
Q-Index Code AX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Book
Collection: Queensland Past Online (QPO)
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Created: Mon, 15 Feb 2010, 08:13:11 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service