Author(s): Dawn May
Cattle has been big business in Australia for well over a century and earns substantial export dollars. Yet the contribution that Aboriginal people have made to this key sector of the Australian economy has not been widely recognised. This book uncovers the central role of Aboriginal labour in the Queensland cattle industry. It looks at a broad period, from Aboriginal land use at the time of first contact, resistance to white settlers and rapid absorption of Aboriginal people into the pastoral economy. The book also considers the impact of the introduction of equal pay rates in the 1970s and land management in the 1990s. Dawn May shows that the use of Aboriginal labour was a complex process involving a high degree of state intervention. Her book is an important economic and social history of the cattle industry in Queensland, but the pressing issue of native title makes the book highly relevant throughout post-Mabo Australia.