Shared Hopes, New worlds: Indian seamen, Australian unionists & Indonesian Independence 1945 -1949
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- Indian Ocean Studies: Cultural, Social, and Political Perspectives, 2010, 1, pp. 158 - 196
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The drama which began to unfold in Australia in August 1945 brought together people from countries now known as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, ,and Australia. CentraI to the story were the South Asian seamean in Sydney and Brisbane who, with Australian maritime workers, responded to a call from Indonesian nationalists to support. their unilateral declaration of independence by boycotting all Dutch shippIng In Australian waters. This was a powerful strategy: 559 ships wefe immobilised between October 1945 and the eventual achievement of Indonesian nationhood in 1949. Such events often leave only the public statements of leaders. This struggle, however, has given us a rare glimpse of deeper relationships: the links made between the everyday working people involved, the ordinary seamen and their supporters. We find people who, despite wide differences in background and outlook, still shared the powerful hopes with which they were trying to shape their vision of new worlds.
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