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Thursday, 10 September 1942

Cutting strength for 1941 was: Victoria, 495; Macknade, 452; total, 946. Few men below average but in the main classified as 100 per cent, competent. Cutting strength this year is: Victoria, 455; Macknade, 380; total, 835. Impossible to harvest the crop were it not for the fact that farmers and their sons who normally do not cut cane were now working as cane-cutters, in addition to 100 aborigines from Palm Island. Crop being harvested at complete expense of 1943 crop; 120 men are from 45 to 67 years. Cutting strength of aborigines much below normal efficiency. Militia releases included in cutting 74-34, Victoria; and 40 for Macknade. Position' of labour in Victoria mill reasonably satisfactory. Sufficient labour to work three shifts. Labour position bad at Macknade. Working two shifts and insufficient labour even for that. Output of cane good but at the expense of next year's production.

The aborigines who were brought from the Palm Island Mission station are, with few exceptions, practically useless for this kind of work. Speaking as one with a knowledge of the industry since 1907, I know that they have never been able at any time to secure employment as cane-cutters. The report continues -

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