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Summary of a return relating to the number of Chinese who arrived in Victoria, 1885

Date: 23 September 1885
Dimensions:
Overall: 345 x 215 mm, 0.006 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Parliamentary paper
Object No: 00016790
Place Manufactured:Melbourne

User Terms

    Description
    The gold rushes of the 1850s attracted many Chinese immigrants to Australia. When gold was plentiful at the diggings the Chinese were left alone. However, as gold became harder to find, resentment and open aggression set in resulting in Chinese miners being attacked and in some cases killed. These incidents prompted the colonial government to limit the number of Chinese immigrants, in what was the beginning of the ' White Australia' Policy, coming into the Colonies. This Parliamentary paper summaries the number of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the colony of Victoria during 1885.







    SignificanceThis paper highlights the movement of Chinese immigrants to Australia in the late 19th century and provides an insight into the official Government view of the time. Only sixteen years later the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia would pass the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901.
    HistoryDuring the 1800s the discovery of gold in Australia was one of the financial opportunities that instigated the migration and movement of many people to the colony. The decade of the Australian gold rush during the 1850s saw tens of thousands of miners criss-crossing the Pacific Ocean between Australia and America. A $20 one-way ticket bought the traveller a bunk and space for one trunk, with the trip between Sydney and San Francisco taking about six weeks.

    The Chinese originally came to Australia to fill the demand for much needed manual labour. Along with everyone else they flocked to the gold diggings and many returned to China taking their wealth with them. Other Chinese people stayed and developed businesses or market gardens, often bringing their families out to join them or marrying within the wider colonial population.

    When gold was plentiful in the diggings the Chinese population were left alone. However, as gold became harder to find, resentment and open aggression set in. In 1861 Chinese miners were attacked at Lambing Flat near Young, New South Wales. This incident prompted the government to restrict the number of Chinese immigrants- in what was the beginning of a 'white Australia' policy. In 1901 the Immigration Restriction Act was passed partly in an attempt to reduce the number of Chinese emigrants to Australia.

    The Australian Parliamentary papers contain major reports by members in the Parliament committees, offices and organisations. They are a useful tool for understanding the official view of the government at the time.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Summary of a return relating to the number of Chinese who arrived in Victoria, 1885

    Assigned title: Summary of a return relating to the number of Chinese who arrived in Victoria, 1885

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