Equal Pay

Carers And Activists

From the conflicts of 1832 and 33, to 1869 when the Benevolent Asylum was established on the island to house the frail, elderly and infirmed people from the settler communities from of the mainland. The care for these people was by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. Pay for aboriginal people was however in rations. A brief introduction to the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum /​ North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum states Aboriginal workers campaigned from 1920 for equal pay and in 1926 the Australian Workers Union represented the Aboriginal Gang demanding that workers should be paid award rates – and receive the same as white workers. After almost 20 years of running strikes, petitions and industrial action and delegations to Government Ministers, in 1944 the government agreed that Aboriginal workers should receive award wages. It was more than 40 years before the same occurred elsewhere in Queensland.

The abrupt move of the Asylum to Eventide in Sandgate in 1946, left island people out of work. But continuous occupation of their land was made possible however by the arrival of mining. This is ironic given that Native Title is cnditional on continuous occupancy of country and that Native Title granted in the Quandamooka 2011 actually served to end mining