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The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade by  William T WAWN - 1893 - from Hordern House Rare Books (SKU: 3710370)

The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade

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The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade

by WAWN, William T

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This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
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About This Item

London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co, 1893. Tall octavo, frontispiece and four maps, numerous plates and illustrations, bookplate, early owner's name on endpaper; a fine copy in original blue cloth, gilt, very light bumping at extremities of spine.

First edition of the author's only book. A lengthy, sometimes self-aggrandizing, attempt to justify the displacement of the "Kanakas" to work in the plantations of Northern Queensland, on the grounds that they were a "class of labourers better able to endure the climate than Europeans, as well as to work at a cheaper rate".

Wawn had been involved in the trade since its inception in 1875, after five years trading, salvaging and beach-combing among the islands of the western Pacific. Here, Wawn is complacent about the implications of the trade, as can be seen in his incendiary dedication to the pioneers and sugar-planters of Queensland, "Basely Betrayed, and Unscrupulously Sacrificed to the Greed of the Political Place-hunter and the Howling Ignorance which follows in his train...". Peter Corris has written of Wawn and his book: "Something of a misanthropist, Wawn was intensely critical of his fellow Europeans, and never concealed his disapproval of the manners of the Pacific islands people but he did not deny their intelligence and resourcefulness. His book, The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade, is a valuable, sensitive and subtle account of the nature of the trade" (ADB).

Wawn's original manuscript was lost on the wreck of the Quetta in 1890, forcing him to re-write and update the work as here. A mollifying preface by the editors is evidence of mounting political pressure in England regarding the trade; they comment that they have chosen to concentrate on the narrative and practical aspects of the work, deputing W. Delisle Hay with the task of editing the book for publication.



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Hordern House Rare Books AU (AU)
Bookseller's Inventory #
The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade
WAWN, William T
Book condition
Swan Sonnenschein & Co
Place of Publication
Date Published

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Hordern House Rare Books

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About the Seller

Hordern House Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2009
Surry Hills, New South Wales
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About Hordern House Rare Books

Hordern House, founded by Anne McCormick and Derek McDonnell in 1985 and named for our original building in Sydney's Potts Point, is an internationally renowned dealership, specialising in rare books, manuscripts and paintings.Nowadays we conduct our business in the heart of Surry Hills, five minutes from the centre of Sydney. We occupy an entire floor of a converted warehouse where we have created a customised environment for our work and the display of rare books, manuscripts & paintings.Always reflected in our extensive stock of rare and select material is our specialization in voyages and travels (with a special interest in the Pacific & Australia), natural history and colour-plate material, paintings and voyage art, historical maps and manuscripts.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....

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