28 Sep 2011

Vanuatu descendant of indentured labour prepares for emotional trip to Queensland

2:10 pm on 28 September 2011

A Vanuatu descendant of those caught up in the indentured labour trade to Queensland more than a century ago is preparing for an emotional trip to the Australian state.

MP David Abel is one of the organisers of a 40 strong delegation to historical sites connected to the notorious shipments of mostly young men, known as blackbirding.

About 60 thousand Melanesians were tricked or kidnapped to work on Queensland plantations and thousands of their descendants remain there.

Mr Abel says this is the first in a series of annual trips first mooted 27 years ago, and it's mainly to strengthen family ties.

"It's an emotional visit but now it's part of our history. I take this as a blessing at the same time to connect family, ni-Vanuatu and Australians together. Especially at the government level, we want to build a stronger relationship."

David Abel says the group's hoping for some sort of recognition from Australian authorities for the ordeal their ancestors went through.