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An extraordinary movement- on China- or an alteration in the Willow-pattern - at last, made during the late 1850s

Date: c 1850
Dimensions:
Overall: 207 x 268 mm, 0.4 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Etching
Object No: 00009273
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    This etching depicts a cartoon showing groups of Chinese emigrants behind junks and banners that are labeled to Australia and California. It is printed in black with a blue wash to represent the Chinese production of ceramics such as the Willow pattern. This etching is an unsympathetic portrayal of both Chinese ceramics and Chinese immigrants who participated in the American and Australian gold rushes.
    SignificanceThis etching is representative of the Chinese migration and contribution to the Australian gold diggings. Its unflattering depiction of Chinese migrants highlights animosity in the public towards Chinese migration.
    HistoryDuring the 1800s the discovery of gold in California and Australia instigated the migration and movement of many people. During the decade of the 1850s tens of thousands of miners criss-crossed the Pacific Ocean between Australia and America. A $20 one-way ticket bought the traveller a bunk and space for one trunk. The trip between Sydney and San Francisco took about six weeks.

    The Chinese originally came to Australia to fill the demad for much needed farm labour. With the growing excitement over the discovery of gold they too flocked to the diggings with everyone else. Many returned to China taking their gold and 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. At the height of the Australian gold rush Cinese immigration was exponentially growing and in 1854 the official figue was 2341, then 30,000 in 1857.

    When gold was plentiful in the miners 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 passing of the Immigration Restriction Act was in a large part targeting the immigration of Chinese to Australia.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: An extraordinary movement- on China- or an alteration in the Willow-pattern - at last, made during the late 1850s

    Web title: The willow pattern- at last!

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