An echo of black slavery: Emancipation, forced labour and Australia in 1933
In 1933, the year of the Centenary of Emancipation and the ratification of the Forced Labour Convention at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the condition of Aboriginal workers in Australia drew the attention of groups interested in 'native' forced labour in other parts of the world. Aboriginal workers, while formally excluded from international intervention as the domestic concern of a member nation state, were considered during discussions between humanitarian circles (specifically the Anti-Slavery Society in London) and a leading international lawyer working for the ILO in Geneva. The article argues that the terms of the exchange, with its focus on the provision of wages to non-European, Indigenous labour, should be read in the context of a heightened interest in 'anti-slavery' during that year in coincidence with renewed international publicity concerning the failure of 'protection' in Australia.
Australian Historical Studies
Historical Studies not elsewhere classified