Praise for Adding Pimento by Arnold Zable:
“Adding Pimento is a beautiful anthology. The fruit of a community venture, it makes a successful transition from oral testimony to the written word. The stories are recounted with great clarity, and through them we gain an intimate portrait of one of the many communities that make up the tapestry of a diverse, cosmopolitan State. The publication of the book, putting it out into the public domain, contributes to the ideal of a non-racist and harmonious society.”
Arnold Zable: Writer, novelist and human rights advocate.
Review by Professor John Maynard
Adding Pimento – Caribbean Migration to Victoria Australia:
Edited by Karina Smith, Lisa Montague & Pat Thomas in Association with Carib Vic, Breakdown Press, Melbourne.
This wonderful new book offers insight to the long and virtually unknown Caribbean history, influence and connection with Victoria and Australia more broadly.
Historically Caribbean connection to this continent dates back to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 with both Caribbean convicts and sailors aboard those ships. Since that point we have seen black bushrangers, boxers, merchant seamen, gold prospectors, musicians and cricketers feature in moments of Australian history. A high percentage of these individuals were from the Caribbean. The Coloured Progressive Association that formed in Sydney in 1903 and was operational until at least 1912 had fifty-two West Indian members. This organisation largely comprised transitional merchant seamen that included African American, Indian, African, Pacific Islanders and some Aboriginal dockworkers. But the greatest percentage of this organisations membership was unquestionably from the Caribbean. This organisation clearly came about as a network of support for black visitors to Australian ports in the wake of the establishment of the ‘White Australia’ policy. As my work has illustrated the impact and influence of Marcus Garvey’s political ideology flowing through to the Australian docks at the height of the much-despised ‘White Australia’ policy was far reaching. Garvey’s influence had a major impact on the rise of organised Aboriginal political protest during the 1920s.
During the 1960s and 1970s Caribbean influence was most visible through ‘Calypso Cricket” with the likes of Frank Worrell, Gary Sobers, Wes Hall, Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and a host of other stars that rose to dominate and entertain world cricket. The added influence of Rastafarian reggae with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear to name but a few added to this exciting time period. But as this book Adding Pimento illustrates so vividly, there was and remains so much more to the Caribbean connection to Australia than just cricket and reggae.
The rich oral memories and stories contained within the pages of this book are complemented with a great collection of images that challenge the narrow views of just cricket and reggae association with Australia. Numbers of Caribbean people migrated to Australia in the wake of the global social and political changes of the 1960s, which proved instrumental in the eventual dismantling, and collapse of the ‘White Australia’ policy. The Caribbean people that came to Australia to start a new life proudly ensured that they retained their links to their West Indian cultural heritage. This book delivers this rich, colourful and moving story to the wider audience with passion, clarity and detail. It is a truly entertaining and informative read.
Professor John Maynard