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The Pearl FrontierIndonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia's Northern Trading Network$
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Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840020

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840020.001.0001

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War on the Pearl Frontier

War on the Pearl Frontier

(p.115) Chapter Seven War on the Pearl Frontier
The Pearl Frontier

Julia Martínez

Adrian Vickers

University of Hawai'i Press

The entry of Japan into World War II in 1941 and its occupation of Indonesia forced the pearling industry to halt operations. The northern pearling ports were evacuated and Indonesian workers were scattered across Australia. From Broome a number were sent south to Melbourne where they worked for the duration of the war. There they experienced a new freedom to interact with Australian society in ways forbidden in Broome. In Queensland Indonesians married to Torres Strait women were evacuated to remote Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement where they lived as virtual prisoners in segregated dormitories. The men were drafted into tropical agricultural work, cutting cane and picking cotton. Some Indonesians were put into POW internment camps as if their loyalties were in doubt. Others were asked to serve in the military and naval efforts to defeat the Japanese. Most famous of these were in the commando unit Z-force who undertook dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

Keywords:   war, internment, Japanese, Indonesian, Aboriginal, Australia, Borneo, Z-Force, labor, evacuation

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