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DETAILS Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka 28 Jan - 25 Jun 2017 102 Stawell St South, Ballarat, Victoria, 3350 Open 10am - 5pm 1800 287 113

CHINESE FORTUNES IN COLONIAL AUSTRALIA From 1852, news of the gold rushes in Victoria and New South Wales spread throughout the southern provinces of China, bringing the promise of great prosperity. Australia became known as New Gold Mountain or Sun Gum San. Thousands of Chinese men, and a handful of Chinese women, journeyed here hoping to make their fortunes. They came from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds, and brought with them a wide range of skills and traditions. Not all came to mine, for example some were merchants, entrepreneurs, medical practitioners, and farmers keen to establish themselves in lucrative new markets, where they prospered and contributed greatly to the developing Australian social, cultural and economic landscape. Exceptionally civic minded, Chinese sojourners and settlers also raised funds through spectacular parades and carnivals to build hospitals and benevolent asylums to the benefit of all. Explore the stories of these remarkable pioneers, and the hardships they overcame to make their Chinese Fortunes. Cash Brown Curator Front Cover: Christina Ah Tie in parade costume, Bendigo, c. 1890 Image courtesy Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo Back Cover: Dolly Nomchong in her mother’s wedding dress, c. 1910 Image Courtesy Braidwood & District Historical Society

8 DECEMBER 1848 The Nimrod arrives in Geelong carrying 121 Chinese many of whom begin work as indentured labourers. 1 JULY 1851 Victoria officially separates from New South Wales with Charles La Trobe the first Victorian Governor.

17 JANUARY 1857 The Land of Cakes sails into Robe’s Guichen Bay, carrying the first Chinese passengers with many forced to pay excessive ferrying charges ranging from 8/- to £1. 27 APRIL 1857 Three ships and 1300 Chinese passengers arrive at Robe. 1513 Chinese arrived in the preceding 6 days.

JULY 1851 News of gold finds in Victoria start to spread sparking massive migration.

MAY 1857 A group of Chinese walking from Robe strike gold at the Canton Lead sparking the growth of Ararat.

JANUARY 1853 The first two shiploads of Chinese goldseekers arrive in Victoria.

4 JULY 1857 Buckland River becomes the site of Victoria’s worst violence against the Chinese. A group of European miners drive Chinese miners from their claims and several die. 750 tents and 30 stores are burned.

3 DECEMBER 1854 The Eureka Rebellion. 12 JUNE 1855 Victorian Government passes law imposing a £10 poll (head) tax for each Chinese passenger landing at a Victorian port, and limits the number of Chinese passengers on ships. Chinese Protectorate camps set up with Chinese to pay £1 per year to finance. LATE 1855 Chinese begin landing at ports in South Australia and New South Wales and walk overland to avoid tax.

AUGUST 1857 Ballarat Chinese and 43 leading European citizens petition the Victorian Parliament against increasing the residency tax. NOVEMBER 1857 Victoria increases the Chinese residency tax to £6 per year. Mining claims can be ‘jumped’ by others if this is not paid. Following a request from the Victorian Government, South Australia imposes a landing tax. 32 ships delivered 14 615 Chinese men and 1 woman in total at Robe. FEBRUARY 1858 Two Chinese died, and the Chinese camp burned and looted, after disputes over water and mining claims at Smythes Creek near Ballarat.

1859 Many Chinese fined or arrested after Victoria imposed a tax of £4 to Chinese entering Victoria over land.

9 DECEMBER 1873 Over 1000 men, women, and children confront Chinese workers in Clunes, who were brought in by mine management attempting to break a strike.

1860-61 Anti-Chinese violence in New South Wales culminates in Australia’s worst race riot at Lambing Flat on 14 July, in which 3000 Europeans attack Chinese miners burning tents and belongings.

1881 Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act adopted by colonies at the Intercolonial Conference to discourage large scale Chinese immigration.

22 NOVEMBER 1861 The Chinese Immigration Act is passed in New South Wales imposing a £10 poll tax on Chinese entering the state. 1861 South Australia repeals the Act imposing the landing tax. 1862 Chinese now free to live outside camps after the Residency and Protectorate systems are abolished in Victoria. 1863 Victoria suspends the £10 poll tax for two years, and officially drops it in 1865. 1865 New South Wales drops laws restricting Chinese entry into the colony.

1885 Legislation introduced in Queensland prohibiting Asians from voting unless they met a property ownership requirement. 1888 The Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act is extended to the Northern Territory creating a barrier for Chinese entry into Australia. 26 AUGUST 1892 Chinese League (Australian Rules Football) created in Ballarat. 1 JANUARY 1901 Federation of states under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. One of the first Acts the new federal government passed was the Immigration Restriction Act, unofficially named the White Australia Policy. The Act is repealed in 1972.


This hand carved ivory mystery ball has 11 moveable layers. The puzzle is to align the holes exactly. Mystery balls are like an ancient Rubik’s Cube and exemplify extraordinary Chinese craftsmanship and ingenuity.


GILDED JOSS HOUSE PANEL FROM CASTLEMAINE (DETAIL) QING DYNASTY There were several temples in Castlemaine, which were all demolished by the mid 20C. The location of the temple building for this piece is not recorded, but it is a stunningly crafted relic of Chinese reverence in the Australian goldfields.



This Chinese medicine kit was owned by William Kum Too. Kum Too was a miner and market gardener who lived in the Bendigo region from the late 19C through to the 1940s. He came from a village in Jangsing County in Guangdong province. This medicine kit was for private use, and most likely used to treat family – he did not practice as a herbalist.


CHINESE PARADE BANNER (DETAIL) MADE IN CHINA C. 1880 (SILK, COTTON, GOLD THREAD) Chinese paraded in commemorative events and festivals, donating funds as well as goods to support the common cause of welcoming and celebrating visiting dignitaries, and fundraising for community causes.


MADE - Chinese Fortunes