Marking the Mango Tree

Join artist Krishna Nahow for the "Blessing in a boat" activity. Image courtesy the artist and Brisbane Girls Grammar School. "When you close your eyes you can still see and hear the happenings at the old shanties, the big games on the "Flats" and sing songs under the mango tree" - Kerry Warkill, History of Kanaka Town 1998.

2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of South Sea Islanders in Queensland. Come gather with us under the tree in Marking the Mango Tree to learn and share stories with Australian South Sea Islanders. Discover their culture, their history and their significance to Queensland. Explore the story at your own pace and participate in activities and talks.

Activity highlights

Blessing in a boat

10, 12, 14, 15 & 18 August, 10am-12pm, 1pm – 3pm (no afternoon session Sunday 18 August)

You have heard of a message in a bottle, well this is a message in a boat! Come and help artist Krishna Nahow make small paper canoes with a special blessing for people in a place far away from here; a place called Vanuatu. Vanuatu is where Krishna’s ancestors come from and this year is 150 years since ancestors like Krishna’s came to Australia. Today, their descendants call themselves Australian South Sea Islanders.

Coconut Tree: The Tree of Life

11 August, 10am – 11.45am & 1pm – 2.15pm

Join Jacintha and John under the tree to weave a crown fit for any island prince or princess. Learn how to weave and find out why the Coconut Tree is known as the "Tree of Life". Jacintha, an Australian South Sea Islander with family connections to Vanuatu did not have the chance to learn traditional island crafts whilst growing up here in Queensland but after marrying Solomon Islander John, has enjoyed learning more about her Melanesian culture through John and his family.

South Sea Islanders in Queensland

Between 1863 and 1904 some 62,000 people, predominately from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, were brought to work in Queensland's cotton and sugar plantations. There were men, women and children; some came by choice and others were tricked, coerced and "Blackbirded".

Australian South Sea Islanders are their descendents and in August we remember their ancestors, their history and their achievements over the last 150 years.

Discover more: our Assistant Curator, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Indigenous Studies, Imelda Miller, is blogging about South Sea Islander heritage, culture and stories for SLQ.

Memories from a Forgotten People

Presented as part of Memories from a Forgotten People 150 Years of Australian South Sea Islander contributions to Queensland.

To mark the contribution of Australian South Sea Islanders to Queensland over 150 years, the State Library of Queensland, Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery will present a range of exhibitions, projects and events from June to November 2013.  Join us in recognising this important anniversary from 16 to 18 August with a weekend of exhibitions, workshops, discussions, tours and music across the Cultural Precinct, South Bank. Download the program (95 KB) pdf document icon.

Event Details

10 August 2013 - 18 August 2013

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