An illustrated Talk by Rodney Stone


Rodney with his wife Sarah

Rodney entertained a full audience of EM&HT members on Friday 19th February 2018. He had travelled with his wife, Sarah, to the island of Mauritius, claimed by the British in 1810 and known for its association with Darwin and the Dodo. The journey took them back in time as they traced Sarah's connection with Mauritius through her ancestors, Arabella and Robert Bullen, who lived on the Island with their 11 children in the 19th century.
Robert Bullen owned a sugar plantation and Rodney and Sarah found the ruins of the Bullen's grand house, built in 1780, chimneys of the factories and remains of the Mill that would have been used in the production of sugar - a sought-after delicacy at that time. Although the workers on the plantation would have initially been slaves, Rodney concentrated his talk on life in Mauritius after the abolition of slavery in 1833, when several thousand slaves on the island were given their freedom. However, manual labour was still needed so indentured workers from India were initially brought to the island, transported in large ships. They were treated humanely, given accommodation and a wage of five rupees a month.
Rodney and Sarah obviously enjoyed tracing the ancestry of their relatives and the well-illustrated talk gave insight into life on the 19th century sugar plantations of this now popular holiday destination.

Sue Young