In the late 1800s Australian ships arrived in the South Sea Islands. They took children off the beaches, thousands of men and women from the islands, and brought them back to work in North Queensland — to cut sugar cane. Then in 1901, under the White Australia Policy, most were sent back to the islands — but not necessarily back to the islands they came from.

Through music, song, and adapted oral history, Behind the Cane tells the stories of the 'blackbirded'. The story of the South Sea Islanders, those who left and those who stayed.

Developed from true stories of the Bowen community, Behind the Cane is an honest, powerful, and uplifting exploration of an important part of Australian history.

For enquiries regarding the music for Behind the Cane please visit:

  • musical, large cast, south sea islander stories
  • 0
  • 40 total
  • 20 female identifying, 20 male identifying
  • history, culturally and linguistically diverse
  • 16 to 18, 18+, 12 to 16
  • young adult, all ages
  • Playlab


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Male | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 38

EXTRACT: ..bit of a talk to him before I'd go to school. And I went over there this mornin' - and old Mossy was sittin' there, on the ground. And I said... "G'day Mossy!" And he never answered or nothin'. And I'm lookin'. So I called the old Bob Moses - and I said "Old Mossy's dead!" And he come over then... and I took off. Ran away to school. [Pause] At big lunch, my mate Reggie, he had a crab sandwich. And I couldn't eat that crab sandwich. Yeah, I couldn't eat the crab sandwich, eh.

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SKU: PL-137 Category:

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