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Malekai, born on the Solomon Islands around the late 1880’s, was the 4 th child in a family of 7 including an uncle, parents, 2 brothers and a sister. His life was that of a typical islander until the age of 9 From Solomon islands
To The Sugar cane Plantations of QLD, Aus Malekai’s family was offered a residency, food and living space in the Queensland Sugar cane plantations as long as the family works in the sugar cane fields. The family of 7 would work until they paid off their debt to the private owner for the supplied food and living quarters provided for their labour. As well as the supplied food and living quarters, each person working long hours (expected from them) were to be paid 6 pounds a year for their work.
Malekai would often work his 10 hours on the Sugar Cane fields earlier in the day so he could either relax or explore the land he would become to know as home. Working Conditions For Malekai
After working hours one day, Malekai took a walk with his family down to Doug’s food store to get the weekly food with money given from their boss. While walking down the roads , Malekai couldn’t help but notice how the strangers walking by would look down to him and his family with a sense of hate and despise. Malekai didn’t understand what was happening. A Stroll Down Confusion Lane
After thinking long and hard about the passing strangers, Malekai decided to consult his 2 elder brothers about the way “white people” look and treat him. His brothers tell Malekai that the majority of the other people in Australia despise of the islander kind because of the beliefs that they take the “white people’s” jobs and bring the pay and working conditions of others down below the standards. The Inconvenient Truth
A few years passed by, the white population grew stronger and the idea of federation grew within. With the idea of federation came the thought of immigration laws and deportation of the demised kanakas. With the majority of Australia wanting to maintain a “white population”, Malekai started to fear the white society, and in doing so found some supportive new friends with a permanent residency in Australia An Important Alliance
Malekai continued to work in the Sugar Cane industry working for a boss. Meanwhile, the idea of Federation grew stronger, and January 1 st 1901 was the official day of Australia’s Federation. Later that year, December 17, saw the passing of the Pacific Islanders Labourers Act which enabled the Federal government to start deporting islanders who did not pass a dictation test. Federation
Feeling scared and betrayed by the country he was working for, Malekai fled from the living quarters provided by his boss to a safe house set up by his newly acquired friends. With their support Malekai was able to evade the deportation laws, but with that great achievement came some bad news. Malekai could not help his family evade the deportation laws, and they were shipped back to the Solomon Islands never to be seen again by Malekai A Shameful Victory
A few years passed by, Malekai still partially hidden from society, Australia was still discriminative towards Malekai, but not as much as before, as the townsfolk thought Malekai had passed the dictation test. Malekai was still living himself down for desserting his family in their time of need. His friends tried to cheer him up and bought him a gramophone. The Gramophone
Malekai heard the song “the forgotten” by an unknown artist and he started dancing to it. This song became his favourite song for the rest of his life. This gave him the nickname of “The Forgotten Kanaka” due to several events in his life and his favourite song. THE END The Forgotten Kanaka