Resources, Research & Archives

Explore some of the archives and resources that tell Australian South Sea Islander histories.

Today Australian South Sea Islanders in Queensland feel an urgency in relation to recording local heritage: both the tangible, landscape features threatened by decay or continuing development; and the intangible, knowledge held by the rapidly aging generation of elders who are the last generation who had direct contact with former plantation labourers.

Mackay Library
Queensland State Archives
State Library of Queensland

Selected bibliography

  • Journeys to Sugaropolis (2013). Gold Coast City Council.
  • A Community History of the Homebush Mission Hall 1892-1996 (1995). Cristine Andrew and Rosemary Kennedy, Mackay, Qld.
  • Fields of Sorrow: Oral History of the Mackay South Sea Islanders (Kanakas) and their Descendants (2000). Cristine Andrew and Penny Cook (eds.), Mackay, Qld.
  • Australian South Sea Islanders' Narratives of Belonging (2015). Clive Moore. In Farzana Gounder (ed.), Narrative and Identity Construction in the Pacific Islands, Pp. 155-176 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • 3 among many: a collection of life stories from Mackay's Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Australian South Sea Islander elders (2000). Justin Doyle, Grahame Fatnowna, Teleai Ketchell, Info Pub.
  • History and the South Sea Islanders on the Tweed (1994). Johnny Ithong, Coolangatta, Qld.
  • The Trail of Endurance: A Journey from Paradise. South Sea Island Cultural Mapping Project (2002). Peter Panochni, Livingstone Shire Council.
  • The South Sea Islander Garden of Memories (1998). South Sea Islanders Tree Naming Project Committee, Mackay City Council.
  • Refined White: The Story of How South Sea Islanders Came to Cut Sugar Cane in Queensland and Made History Refining the White Australia Policy (2000). M. Berry, Innisfail, QLD: Australian Sugar Industry Museum.

Education resources

The educational landscape from an Australian South Sea Islander standpoint has been one of contention. From the beginning, the Department of Education in Queensland accommodated Australian South Sea Islanders as part of the Education Act making it compulsory for them to attend school however, Australian South Sea Islander children were never set up to succeed. Parents and grandparents have done their best over the years to ensure their children have access to some form of education. The stories of history and culture on this website are a testament to the resilience of the ASSI people and their communities despite the challenges in their way.

For Australian South Sea Islander students to succeed, their history and culture needs to be valued. In addition, ALL students whether, they are ASSI or not, need to have the opportunity to learn about Australian South Sea Islander history and culture particularly in towns and cities where there are large communities of Australian South Sea Islander people. Education success for all is dependent on:

  1. The inclusion of Australian South Sea Islander history and culture into the ACARA curriculum.
  2. Teacher access to training and resources of Australian South Sea Islander history and culture.
  3. Processes and protocols of engagement between schools and Australian South Sea Islander communities.

To assist with these efforts and as part of this Archaeology and Collections Project, we will be working to produce user friendly resources for schools and educators that highlight Australian South Sea Islander narratives and histories through Object Based Learning.


Publications, conference presentations and articles generated as part of the Archaeology, collections and Australian South Sea Islander lived identities project.

Journal Articles

  • Robinson, H., Flexner, J. & Miller, I. 2021. What is a researcher? Definitions, bureaucracy, and ironies in the Australian context. In: Rawlings, V., Flexner, J. & Riley, L. (eds) Community-Led Research: Walking new pathways together. Sydney: University of Sydney Press.

Conference Presentations

  • Miller, I. (2018) Intercept - Where stories meet. Paper presented at the Community Led Research Symposium, Sydney University, June 2019.
  • Mate, G., J. Flexner and I. Miller (2019) Developing plantation archaeology with Australian South Sea Islanders in Central Queensland. Paper presented at the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW, October 2019.
  • Miller, I. (2020) Australian South Sea Islander VOICES- Creating spaces for acknowledgement, remembrance, and healing. Paper presented at the Global Plantation Symposium, Princeton University, October 2020.
  • Haddow, E. and I. Miller (2021) Increasing visibility of the Australian South Sea Islander Kastom collection. Paper presented at 2021 AAPS Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers' Symposium, on-line, April 2021.

Feature maps

Want to see more?

Explore the rich diversity and significance of Australian South Sea Islander items online!

View collection

You might be interested in