"A Cruise in a Queensland Slaver" - George Morrison - The Age



George Morrison was a twenty-year-old Australian medical student looking for an adventurous diversion after failing his intermediate exam. He self-styled an assignment to see how the labor trade of Queensland worked in 1882, signing on to sail as an ordinary seaman aboard the Lavinia.Three months later, the ship returned from its "blackbirding" expedition with a new batch of recruits from the New Hebrides and Banks. Morrison wrote an eight-part travelogue for The Leader, and later, provided a more critical view for The Age

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Newspaper

Effects and Outcomes

Despite the blunt header on his first story on blackbirding in The Age, calling the ship "a Queensland Slaver," Morrison's report was mild. Yet later, he took up the subject once again in a letter to The Age, this time denouncing the "slave trade" by describing the trickery involved in getting islanders to sign contracts of indenture, the air of intimidation, the fearful death rate, and the complicity of government officials in some of the trade's most questionable aspects. His expose helped lead to increased inspection of the ships and some restructuring of the governmental oversight of the system.

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