This study of a unique historic situation is sociologically framed and politically contextualized. It examines the technical and persuasive rhetorical dimensions of calculations employed at a nineteenth-century Queensland sugar plantation and mill in relation to the employment of indentured labour. Historical archival data is interpreted through the lens of the rhetoric of rationality. Queensland legislation permitted the employment of indentured Pacific islanders to assist in the development of its sugar industry. Accounting practices employed at the Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) Company’s Goondi Plantation and Mill focused on recording and controlling labour costs to maximize profits and maintain a healthy dividend to shareholders. The use of this single perspective, while it provides a restricted interpretation of events, nevertheless enables some unique insights about the practice of accounting in this historic context
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