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Royal Commonwealth Society : Cuttings on the Queensland sugar industry

Roth, Henry Ling, 1855-1925, ethnologist

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>A bound volume containing 212 pages of 'newspaper cuttings relating to the Queensland Sugar Industry 1878-1884. Hy Ling Roth, late Hon Secretary Mackay Planters and Farmers Association'. The newspapers include the 'Queenslander', 'Mackay Standard', 'Mackay Mercury', 'Australasian', 'Maryborough Chronicle', 'The Week', 'Brisbane Observer' and 'Queensland Punch'. The subject matter includes many aspects of the Australian sugar industry and reviews, mostly hostile, of Roth's book, 'A report on the sugar industry of Queensland' (1880). There are numerous reports on the labour trade in the South Seas, including Commodore Wilson's Report of 1882, and accounts of massacres in the islands. There are also letters to the press, including some by Roth himself, and a circular letter, 21 August 1874, from F. Bauer, Queen Street, Brisbane, regarding the recruitment of Chinese labour for sugar plantations. The volume also contains a table of the comparative costs of different types of labourers, 11 September 1883; a plan of Abington and Mackay; and a printed petition to the British Government from Queensland sugar producers, 9 July 1884, requesting the supply of labour from India.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Henry Ling Roth (1855-1925) was the son of an Austrian émigré to Britain. He was educated in London and studied philosophy and natural science in Germany, before being recruited by English businessmen to examine the potential of the Queensland sugar industry. He travelled to Mackay in 1878 and became well-acquainted with John Mackay and other pioneers of the region. Two years later Roth published a positive account of his observations in 'A report on the sugar industry of Queensland' (1880). Two papers on the subject were printed by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1881 and 1883, and Roth refined his conclusions in 'The sugar industry in Queensland' (1883). Altogether these works offer considerable insight into the history of the industry. Roth served as Honorary Secretary of the Mackay Planters' and Farmers' Association during 1881-1884. He became interested in the early history of Mackay and Queensland, and published 'The discovery and settlement of Port Mackay, Queensland' (1908). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>During his time in Queensland, Roth developed an interest in anthropology, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1882. He returned to England in 1884, settling in 1888 in Halifax, Yorkshire, and transformed the Bankfield Museum, first as part-time curator from June 1890, and then as full-time keeper from 1912. He published many papers for the institute and museum, and several influential monographs, including 'The Tasmanian Aborigines' (1890).</p>

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