School of Humanities



Bruce Bott


Start date

Jan 2006

Submission date

Bruce Bott


Chalk and Cheese: Indentured Labour and its Representation in Two 19th Century British Settler Societies, Western Australia and Natal


There were some similarities but substantial differences in the way in which Western Australia and Natal responded to and solved their need for a labour force during the 19th century. Sources of labour explored in both Western Australia and Natal included: the ways to make effective use of the indigenous population, the encouragement of immigration by European or Asian labourers under indenture and the importation of convicts. Ultimately Western Australia chose convicts and developed European migration as appropriate sources of labour while Natal opted for the importation of Indian indentured labour, mainly to work on its plantations.

Why my research is important

There appear to have been few (if any) comparative studies that deal with aspects of 19th century Western Australia and Natal and none that compare the use of indentured labour in both places or the ways in which the use of indentured labour was represented at the time.