Hidden over time, Bundaberg's true history is awakened as the story of South Sea Islander labourers is unearthed. It is important to acknowledge the truths within our history that connect to our country’s unfortunate past. Brian Courtice’s recognition for the hardship wrought on these people by the Sunnyside farm’s original owner is a testimony to his respect for them. Key images from visiting this farm are sorted into a sequence of events, showing a timeline of Australia’s blackbirding history. Raw, red soil prints of poinciana leaves symbolise the trees Courtice planted to recognise their burial site.
Sunnyside Farm, on the outskirts of Bundaberg, was historically a sugar cane plantation where the original owner used indentured labourers from the South Sea Islands to work the crops. Current owner, Brian Courtice, spoke with me about the atrocities endured by these people who were far from home, and far from safety. Inspired by his stories of bringing forth the truth about the farm's slave history, I created these works to acknowledge Brian's dedication to caring for the memory of the South Sea Islanders.