This year marks the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the first South Sea Island labourers to the cotton later the sugarcane fields of South-east Queensland. Thousands were destined never to return, mainly succumbing to the diseases from which they had no immunity. To identify the dead, without initially knowing their names, a new research methodology was developed which is replicable throughout Queensland. All the death registrations were purchased for Logan, a registration district with historically many plantations. The South Sea Islander deaths were analysed for cause of death, age, burial place (usually on the plantation) and length of time between arrival in Queensland and death. By cross-referencing the death data with the Register of Agreements and other records held by the Queensland State Archives, the island of origin of deceased may be determined. As most of the deceased were interred in informal burial grounds, the knowledge of their locations has largely been lost.

About the Presenter

Dr Hilda Maclean is the Local Heritage Specialist with the Logan City Council. She is a UQ alumnus with a PhD in historical archaeology examining funerary consumption in colonial-era Brisbane. Hilda specialises in the archival records generated by a death and their application to archaeological investigation.




About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.