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Please give me suggestions about how to improve this essay about South Sea Islanders in...

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rainbow224 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM via web

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Please give me suggestions about how to improve this essay about South Sea Islanders in Australian history.

After being black birded and enslaved, Islander people had no chance of enduring the harsh outback environments as they signed a three year work contract even though they were not capable of reading or signing their names. Most of the South Sea Islanders were brought to Central Queensland to work in the most atrocious conditions imaginable in the Yeppoon Sugar Plantation. Their job was to clear heavy rainforest and scrub, and to plant, preserve and yield the cane. Those who had not died of broken hearts and homesickness were either worked to death or they eventually died of pneumonia. This is proven as the death rate for Queensland colony for Islander mortality rate was 62.89 per 1000 while it was 13.03 per 1000 for non-Pacific Islanders. Nevertheless, White Citizens believed that Kanakas were a hazard to their own employment and pay conditions, so they abused and viciously attacked these slaves. In spite of this, the majority of white people were against the illicit trade and there were many humanitarian groups who aimed and attempted to change the government thinking which caused a clash between Queensland and Commonwealth governments over the Slave Labour matter. This resulted in the trade being abandoned in 1903 and when the trade desisted in 1904, most South Sea Islanders were sent back to their home islands. Remaining Islanders looked for further work on the cane field elsewhere.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM (Answer #1)

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First, this paragraph really should be your third paragraph.  It would fit much better as the third paragraph.  In that case, your essay would in essence be saying (one sentence per paragraph) “The islanders who were so important to Australia’s development had a very tough experience.  They were brought in large numbers to work in sugar cane and cotton.  They worked in very harsh conditions.  They maintained their own cultural practices in an attempt to make their lives better.”

Second, is it valid to call these people slaves?  If so, you need to justify it better.  You have them signing contracts, which implies they were paid.  Are they really slaves or are they exploited and abused workers?

A few minor things.  “White Citizens” is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized unless this is the accepted practice in Australia.  “Slave Labour” should not be capitalized.

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