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Working Country

In a time of upheaval and devastation to land and family life from the colonial invasion, working Country was a means of survival. 

With their connection, knowledge and understanding of this land, Aboriginal people played an integral part in establishing Queensland’s pastoral industry. 

The movement of cattle, sheep and horses became the cornerstone of the colonial economy, and during this time, Aboriginal people were highly sought-after stockmen and women, making up more than half the total labourers of the pastoral industry by 1886.

The oppressive practices of indentured servitude, theft and rationing of wages was common practice, resulting in Aboriginal people working in extremely harsh conditions for little or no pay. Despite these tough working conditions, Aboriginal people often sought out this type of work in return for safety, protection and to remain connected to Country.

Take a walk through kuril dhagun and explore State Library’s collection; stories of Aboriginal stockmen and stockwomen, the role of Aboriginal trade routes in establishing Queensland’s pastoral industry, the experiences of working on cattle stations, Aboriginal-run rodeos, and the fight for equal pay and land rights.

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Working Country

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