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Jim’s Australiana Spot – 2UE - September 24, 2017

Sugar Coated History      ( And Some Fascinating facts) 

After the game last night Jim looked to North Queensland for a good news story and some fascinating history! The world uses 200 million tonnes of sugar a year - we produce 4 million tonnes - and 95% comes from Queensland.

SUGAR - which everyone tells us is bad for us - is ironically produced by one of the most efficient industries in Australia! Very little of the crop is not used.  Fibre left after the cane is crushed becomes fuel for the mill boiler and Ash and Mud from the Mill is returned to the cane field as fertilizer.  Molasses, a syrup residue, is used in Rum Distilleries and for stock feed. Bagasse produces steam and electricity and ethanol.

1 What are the two ethnic groups, associated with the sugar industry, that make Nth Queensland population unique in Australia?
  Melanesian /Islander and Italian
2 Where does the world get 20% of their sugar…?
  sugar beet Beta Vulgaris
3 The name HOPE played a huge part in the history of sugar and rum - in 1793 and 1862 - how?
  The American ship HOPE brought rum to the colony 7,500 gallons and Captain Louis Hope was first person to grow sugar cane in Australia

Sugarcane was brought on the First Fleet.  But the first viable cane plantation was near Brisbane in 1862 by.  An estimated 62,500 Islanders were brought to Queensland between 1863 and 1904.  Virtually all of them came from Melanesia – Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides.  Some came voluntarily, some were brought over illegally, having been kidnapped or ‘black-birded’ or persuaded to leave their homes and travel by ship to Queensland by coercion, force or deception. Some decided to stay permanently which clashed with the WHITE Australia Policy.

In 1904 recruiting finally ceased, following Federal Government legislation in 1901.  This legislation also ensured that most of the existing Islanders would be deported by 1906.

Sugar is Queensland’s largest agricultural crop. Up to 35 million tonnes of sugarcane is grown annually.  This sugarcane crop can produce up to 4.5 million tonnes of raw sugar, 1 million tonnes of molasses and 10 million tonnes of bagasse annually.  Approximately 85% of the raw sugar produced in Queensland is exported, generating up to $2.0 billion in export earnings for Queensland. Bagasse produces steam and electricity making the sugar milling industry carbon neutral and self sufficient in fuel.

In 1869, James Stewart bought the 100 foot schooner  the Walrus converted it to steam and installed a pot still on the fore deck. Stewart also installed a small sugar mill capable of crushing two tons of sugar cane a day on the deck and then managed to persuade the Inspector of Distilleries, reluctantly, to grant the Pioneer Floating Sugar Company a distillery license. The license was finally granted a license on April 14, 1869. For the next three years the Walrus moved between the small sugar plots along the rivers, crushed cane and made rum from molasses.



God made the sugar cane grow where it's hot,
And teetotal abstainers to grow where it's not.
Let the sin bosun warn of perdition to come;
We'll drink it and chance it, so bring on the rum.

Bundaberg rum, and it's overproof rum,
Will tan your inside and grow hair on your bum.
Let the blue ribbon beat on his empty old drum
Or his waterlogged belly, but we'll stick to our rum.

We're men who drink it, oh yes, men indeed,
Of the bushranging hairy necked olden time breed.
We shave with our axes. We dress in old rags.
We feed on old boots and we sleep on old bags.

Dull care flies away when our voices resound,
And the grass shrivels up when we spit on the ground.
When we finally die and are buried in clay,
Our bodies are pickled and never decay.

On the Morning of Judgment, when skies are rolled back,
We'll stroll from our graves up the long golden track,
And our voices will echo throughout Kingdom Come
As we toast the archangels in Bundaberg Rum.


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