“Unfree" labour on the cattle stations of Northern Australia, the Tea Gardens of Assam, and the rubber plantations of Indo-China, 1920–50
This chapter examines unfree labour in three industries in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It focuses on the forms and consequences of protest which arose amongst workers in these industries in response to the conditions under which they were employed. The Assamese tea industry, Vietnamese rubber plantations and Northern Australian cattle ranching used differing means of production, technology and investment but all relied on colonial governments to enable them to recruit and retain a 'contracted' labour force. The forms of the labour relationship varied but led to protests which often took on a wider meaning in struggles for liberation.