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The Pearl Frontier
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The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia's Northern Trading Network

Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers


Based on careful archival research and intimate life stories, the Pearl Frontier offers a subaltern imagining of Australian historical connections with Indonesia through labor migration. This study of maritime mobility demonstrates how, in the colonial quest for valuable pearl-shell, Australians came to rely on the labor of Indonesian islanders, drawing them into their northern pearling empire. From the 1860s onwards the pearl-shell industry developed alongside British colonial conquests along Australia’s northern coast and established trading networks with the Netherlands East Indies. Inspire ... More

Keywords: labor migration, indentured labor, Australian history, Indonesian history, pearl-shell industry, Indigenous Australians, World War II, White Australia, marriage, citizenship

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780824840020
Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824840020.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Julia Martínez, author
University of Wollongong

Adrian Vickers, author
University of Sydney