Sugar Mill Photographs Archive
This collection contains photographs pertaining to various sugar mills in North Queensland and sugar cane labourers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In its early years the sugar cane industry required cheap labour and so Islander labourers from three Pacific archipelagos - Bismark, the Solomons and New Hebrides (now known as Vanuatu) - were recruited. Sugar cane plantations expanded along the Burdekin and Herbert Rivers in the 1880s. The old plantation method of sugar cane farming was gradually replaced by small farming, and South Sea Islanders remained the core of the field labour force in the sugar industry until 1906. The descriptions below are taken from the initial headings for each photograph.
Archive Location: 122R
SMP/1/ Gairloch Sugar Mill, 1872, the first mill opened in the Lower Herbert River area
SMP/2/ Ripple Creek Mill, 1882 (Wood Bros. & R.M. Boyd). R.M. Boyd was manager for 17 years
SMP/3/ William Bairstow Ingham's plantation, 1874, or as he called it, 'Ings'
SMP/4/ South Sea Islanders, Macknade Mill
SMP/5/ The last of the Islander cutters, 1903
SMP/6/ South Sea Islanders at Hamleigh Plantation, 1883
SMP/7/ Islander servants with baby and child at Gairloch plantation
SMP/8/ Some of the 350 labourers working on the Gairloch plantation, Lower Herbert
SMP/9/ Islanders chipping cane at Monavale, Halifax, 1899