Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kanakas in a knot

Ok, I spelled it wrong. It is Kanakas. Blame my poor edjication, and I take it from comments that Kanakas weren't in the Australian history classes that those of us of a certain age attended. If we know about Kanakas, that is because we have come across the information along the way.

Hmmm, were there Australian history classes? I think so. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson? No, that info was on a cereal packet. Rum Rebellion? Nope, that was in a book bought from a cereal company with a discount for something collected. Tres kewl, all my Australian history knowledge was supplied by a foreign owned multi national company.

There were Aussie history classes, years 11 and 12. I never elected. History bored me rotten and all I can remember from general history classes is something about Tigris and Euphrates, some striped feline critters from Eygpt I seem to recall, who met up, did the biz and gave birth to an offspring called Mesopotamia. My memory is a bit hazy on the fine detail.

For a quick overview of Kanakas, check Vik's comment in the previous post. For a more detailed, but not overly detailed and reasonably quick read, check Jayne's posted link. It is a very shameful part of Australia's history, perhaps even worse than the way our forebears generally treated the indigenous population.

If you are really keen, while there isn't a lot of info on the net about Kanakers, there is a lot about Kanakas.


  1. No, not a well-covered area in Oz history, our own slave trade.
    From memory - they tried to kick them out after the labour laws changed to employ only white workers, even to the extent that Kanakas couldn't own property in Oz.
    Charming bunch of mongrels running the White Oz Policy.

  2. "Hmmm, were there Australian history classes?"

    Not at my school. Mind you, back when I was a whippersnapper Australia hadn't actually been invented.

  3. Hey..Andrew, I just sighted an Ad on the telly that said Susan Boyle is back with a new song :)

  4. We should wake to see it Monday morning Cazzie.

  5. Yes Jayne. I think you are right about that. I think I read that by about 1890, most cane workers were white Australians.

    Course Oz was around when you were at school Brian. Somewhat surprising that you are there and not here.

  6. I learnt about it in the 1960's at school but in those days Catholic Irish descent nuns were still none too keen on the brits...we did caroline Chisholm and others but we also did the Kanakas...we had good history teachers, and my love of history came from a couple of these people

  7. Interesting point MC.