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Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: from absence to presence

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Bagnall, K ORCID: 0000-0003-1426-7294 2020 , 'Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: from absence to presence' , Australian Journal of Biography and History, vol. 3 , pp. 3-20 , doi: 10.22459/AJBH.2020.01.

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Abstract

The history of early Chinese migration to New South Wales, and the otherAustralasian colonies, is usually told as a story of men. It is not hard to see why.Founded as a British penal colony in 1788, New South Wales became, over thenext 60 years, home to a small and scattered number of Chinese men—mostlysailors, carpenters, cooks and labourers. Then, in 1848, a group of 120 Chinesemen and boys arrived in Sydney—the first of around 3,500 indentured labourersfrom Amoy (廈門) who came to the colony over a six-year period to 1853. Afterthe discovery of gold in New South Wales in 1851, this small Chinese populationgrew significantly, with as many as 12,000 Chinese arriving in New South Wales inone year alone (1858). Legislation restricted the number of Chinese immigrantsbetween 1862 and 1867, yet over the 25 years from 1856 to 1880, almost 40,000Chinese entered New South Wales. These goldrush immigrants were characterisedby two things in particular: they were predominantly Cantonese and they wereoverwhelmingly male.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Bagnall, K
Keywords: Chinese Australian history, women's history, migration, colonial Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Biography and History
Publisher: ANU Press
ISSN: 2209-9522
DOI / ID Number: 10.22459/AJBH.2020.01
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 ANU

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