Labour History

Aboriginal Workers in the Australian Agricultural Company, 1824-1857

Labour History (2002), 82, (1), 17–33.

Abstract

This article documents failed attempts by the an early nineteenth century pastoral enterprise to implement a British factory model of labour relations and traces the emergence of a distinctively Australian work culture which incorporated Aboriginal labour. In a radical departure from earlier work which variously stressed the destructive impact of pastoral capital, Aboriginal resistance to colonisation and coloniser-indigene ‘accommodation’, it is argued that there was an accord between work rhythms in subsistence economies and the attributes required of pastoral workers in the early colonial period. In a detailed analysis of recruitment, organisation, productivity and remuneration, the author argues that Aboriginal engagement with pastoral capital was purposefully designed to maintain contact with country and that Aboriginal workers were the most productive employees in the corporation.

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Author details

Hannah, Mark

Table of Contents

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