Navvies and contractors

Empire Friday 1 December 1865


The following interesting extracts from a private letter from Brisbane, under date 8th November, have been handed to us for publication :—

In politics we have a lull at present. The Governor has been steering down to the north, and getting spades and barrows for cutting first sods of railways, and a great number of addresses, hardly worth the time it took to write them.

It is time this fulsome, social, and political hypocrisy was abandoned, and respect and civility manifested, aye even loyalty, some other way.

We have had, a number of strikes in Queensland.

First, my baker, struck bread up a penny ; take it or leave it, that's the price. Next, the butchers strike beef and mutton up three halfpennies per pound.

Well, next, the navvies strike for more wages and so on ! but I hear their demands were mostly reasonable ; and this I know, that some of the masters in Queensland are more unprincipled scoundrels than any navvies that ever were imported.

There are also some who are hucksters as well as contractors, and put bullies over the men to get as much work out of them as possible, and then, like leaches, suck the remaining blood out of them by ruinous prices at their stores; and men who would not deal at the stores to near the extent of their wages were dispensed with at some public works in Queensland not long ago.

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