The white man for a pinch [2 January 1897]

[Editor: This article is from the “Bystanders’ Notebook” column, published in The Worker (Brisbane, Qld.), 2 January 1897.]

The white man for a pinch

Now that the Southern colonies is fighting the battle of “white Australia” against the coloured labour Government of Queensland it is just as well to prove that white men are both capable and competent to perform all the work that is required to be done in Queensland.

It is a fact that all our railways have been made by white labour, and the toil of the navvy is of the hardest kind. Our mines are worked by white labour, and in the broiling stoke-holes of our steamers it is white men who do the work.

The latest refutation of the lies of the coloured labour advocate is the following taken from the Cairn’s Post of December 10: “The double shift at the Mulgrave Central Mill commenced last Monday week, but so far the management is not satisfied with the result. The first trouble was experienced with the cane cutting gang, who failed to supply the daily demand for 280 tons. Mr. Contractor Graham then undertook with 25 white employés (then engaged on tramway construction work) to cut for a couple of days, with the result as unexpected as satisfactory. Each white man averaged two tons of cane per day.

Under terms of agreement the Chinese contractor will have to bear the expense entailed by the employment of Mr. Graham’s gang, and it was hoped that this would spur the Chinese on to better efforts. But not so. The mill has since been short supplied. The directors at their meeting yesterday determined to keep the mill going at any cost, and have arranged for the hiring of Moody’s horse team for hauling the trucks, and Le Yan, the cane-cutter contractor, has agreed to put on twenty additional men.” That’s a fact worth noting.

The Worker (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 2 January 1897, page 5

Editor’s notes:
employés = an uncommon form of “employees”

navvy = an unskilled labourer, especially one employed on major civil engineering projects; from navigations (canals), as many construction workers were employed on widespread canal-building schemes in 18th century Britain (thus, navigation workers came to be colloquially known as “navvies”)

[Editor: “Now that the Southern colonies is fighting” (sic: are fighting).]

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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