Australian South Sea Islanders at their sunday school in Mackay, Queensland, ca. 1890

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1900

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Creator: Unidentified

Description: The sunday school was conducted by Reverend J. McIntyre. (Description supplied with photograph).

Location: Mackay, Queensland

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Owner: State Library of Queensland, Australia
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 5973
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    • 07/Oct/2022 07:00:28

    The immigrant generation were either illiterate or barely literate, taught to read and write as a by-product of mission Christianity. Their children began to attend primary schools from the 1890s, but often for only a few years, and up until the 1940s education remained very limited, with an attempt at segregated education at Mackay in the 1930s. Like low-income rural Queenslanders of all races, South Sea Islanders never went beyond primary school. Equitable access to education and a natural progression through to secondary school did not occur in Queensland generally until the early 1960s. Thus the grandparents and parents of today's Islander children still do not place high value on formal education, provide less learning stimulus at home, and feel that the education system is not geared to the needs of their children. In the 1970s Islander students seldom matriculated, enrolled in commercial and industrial courses terminating at grade ten. Since that time the South Sea Islanders have benefited educationally from financial assistance and programs developed for indigenous Australians. The 1980s and 1990s saw changes for the better: ten percent of Mackay's high school students are black, presumably about half identifying as South Sea Islanders, with quite high retention rates through to grade twelve and some now continuing to university level. However, high retention rates do not necessarily mean good results, and many black students merely "mark time, " staying off the welfare line a few years longer. Source: