An exhibition of historic photographs, memorabilia and artefacts
of the history of cane cutting in the Herbert River District.

Changing Seasons: A Cane Cutters History

The identification of Herbert River District as a prime location for sugar cane production in the early 1800s and implementing a plantation-style production model required a massive labour force and one that could work in the hot and humid tropic climate of North Queensland.

This need for workers was fulfilled through various forms of non-white labour brought to the region, firstly through recruitment and sadly kidnapping (blackbirding) as with the Kanakas or immigration.

However, it was the mass immigration from northern Europe that shaped the cultural landscape of our district to this day. Here in the Herbert River District, you will find descendants of the first Melanesian, Chinese, Spanish/Basque, Maltese, Finnish, British and Italian sugar cane workers.