Recommended Reading List

The following references have come across my path while I have been researching Australia's slave history of Blackbirding since I took part in the United Declaration of Human Rights Quilt Project in 2017.  This journey has also opened up greater awareness of the Frontier Wars and has challenged my assumption that Australia had a peaceful settlement.  This art research has been confronting at times as some of this material discusses or depicts violence and abuse, so please be aware that it could trigger physical and/or emotional reactions.  If you would like to discuss any responses you have, please feel free to discuss these with me and I can help you find the support you may need. I am also in the process of setting up a Book Club for those interested in this style of reading so that group support will be available as well. I will continue to add to this list as I learn more. Thank you for joining this important journey into our true history.


A Cruize in a Queensland Labour Vessel in the South Seas by W.E. Giles; edited by Deryck Scarr. First published 1968.

Cannibal Cargoes by Hector Holthouse. First published 1969.

The Forgotten People: A history of the Australian South Sea Island Community (1979); edited by Clive Moore

The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland labour trade by William T. Warn, edited, with an introduction by Peter Corris.  First published 1979.

Why Weren’t We Told; A personal search for the truth about our history by Henry Reynolds (1999), Historian and Activist

Brown Sugar by Nancy Cato (1974)

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes (1986)

A Rightful Place; A roadmap to recognition; essays by Noel Pearson, Megan Davis, Jackie Huggins and Rod Little, Damien Freeman and Nolan Hunter, Warren Mundine and Stan Grant.  Edited by Shireen Morris. (2017)

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)

The Tall Man; Death and Life on Palm Island by Chloe Hooper (2008)

Moment of Truth; History and Australia’s Future by Mark McKenna in Quarterly Essay, Issue 69 2018

Forgotten War by Henry Reynolds (2013)

The Black War; Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania by Nicholas Clements, foreword by Henry Reynolds (2014)

Craftivism; a Manifesto/Methodology by Tal Fitzpatrick (2017)

Dark Emu; Black Seeds; Agriculture or accident? By Bruce Pascoe (2016)

Tracker by Alexis Wright

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Dreaming and Other Essays by W.E.H. Stanner

Boyer Lectures 2012 by Professor Marcia Langton

Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild

Deep Time Dreaming by Billy Griffiths

Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia by Professor Marcia Langton

Dispossession; Black Australians and White Invaders compiled by Henry Reynolds

It's Our Country: Indigenous arguments for meaningful constitutional recognition and reform.  Edited by Megan Davis and Marcia Langton

Talking to my Country by Stan Grant.

This Whispering in Our Hearts Revisited by Henry Reynolds.

First Australians.  Edited by Rachel Perkins and Marcia Langton.

Alianne by Judy Dunn

White Fragility by Robin Di Angelo

White Fears, Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta

Fire Country by Victor Steffensen

Blackwork by Alison Whittaker

The White Girl by Tony Birch

The Yield by Tara June Winch

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Weiss

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Finding the Heart of the Nation by Thomas Mayor

Terri Nullius by Clare G. Coleman


Hard Work Bibiography complied by Professor Clive Moore. To celebrate the ASSI contribution to our nation ASSIPJ we have released an ASSI Educational Resource guide titled ‘Hardwork’ that references the significant contribution of Australian South Sea Islanders through self-determined political advocacy, literature, education, film and documentary works to name a few. The term ‘Hardwork’ was slang used at the dinner table when our people made a cup of tea they would say ‘pass the Hardwork’ instead of saying pass the sugar. Download for free:

A White Australia: The Kanaka Labor Question (1901)

The Kanakas and the Cane Fields: https://www.

'Who do you think you are' Season 8, (episode 4): Mal Meninga:

Australian Slavery Buried in Queensland Mass Grave:

Tal Fitzpatrick's PhD; Craftivism as DIY Citizenship:

Rachel Joy's PhD; Being Occupier:

Australian South Sea Islanders - Port Jackson

Australian Human Rights Commission:

State Library of Queensland:


Vanuatu Values Australian South Sea Islander Community:

Blackbirding and the Boys From Tanna that Never Came Home
Click here to link.

 Film and Documentary

Blackbird by Torres Strait Islander artist Amie Batalisbasi (15 mins)

Footsteps by Australian South Sea Islanders - Port Jackson featuring (Waskam) Emelda Davis and Aunty Shireen Malaboo (30 mins)

Blue Water Empire.  Three part ABC documentary about the Torres Strait history and culture.

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