I am writing this letter to express my gratitude for the opportunity to participate in Who Do You Think You Are? Apart from being an exciting chance, it provided me with the best platform to learn more about my heritage and family. I learned a lot about the Queensland legislation. After colonization legislative and control measures were imposed on aboriginals and the islanders in the Torres Strait. However, in 1897 an act was drafted with the aim of controlling the supply of opium to the aboriginals. The Chinese were the major suppliers of opium to the aboriginals. As a result were often seen as the cause of aboriginal problems. The act allowed geographical isolation to be placed on aboriginals. These isolation camps were initially constructed to presumably protect aboriginals from the immorality and diseases of the Europeans.
However, the isolation camps became reservoirs for the labor force. People would wait for placement of work in white farms from the isolation camps. The legislation act was a scheme that allowed the denial of aboriginals civil rights. It also served as a means to contain and stop the reproduction of aboriginals. They saw that if the aboriginals would be allowed to breed then it would it was a threat to the ideal image they had for Australia. The act was an oppressive and restrictive measure towards the aboriginals.
Who Do You Think You Are? has enabled me to learn deeply about the history of my grandparents. In a bid to learn more about my lineage I stumbled upon the history of the penal settlement. The penal settlement was established around 1914 by the government. It was one of the largest aboriginal settlements far from the rest of the whites in Australia. People were sent here as a form of punishments. The punishment world is because an aboriginal fell pregnant for a white man, an aboriginal was born with mixed blood or an aboriginal was disruptive. In the settlement, there were administrators who were in charge of controlling and accountability of the settlements. However, the aboriginal in these settlements faced social and inhumane injustices against them.
My grandfather George Patrick Sibley and his wife Annie Ah Sam were sent to the penal settlements in 1925. My grandmother Annie was the daughter of Tommy Ah Sam a Chinese immigrant who worked as a gardener and cook. I learned that George Sibley was sentenced to the settlement because he refused to sign to employment. His reasons were valid, as he did not want the government to control his wages. He was accused of addiction o drink and labeled as a trouble maker. They feared that George an independent man would incite aboriginals to refuse singing to employment. George Sibley senior was born in England and lived as a dairy boy. However, due to poverty, he left for queens land with the free passages in 1833. In Australia, he married an aboriginal woman Maggie and George Patrick Sibley was born.
Without the chance of participating in Who Do You Think You Are? I would not have discovered important events that surround my life. I appreciate for considering me as a participator it was an honor.
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