Chinese settlers in the Loddon Mallee region

In the 1850s around 40,000 fortune seekers from southern China came to the Victorian goldfields. Many later moved on to other prospects – some went back to their home villages, some to other goldfields, some to Australia’s capital cities, and some to other Chinese diaspora communities and settlements outside Australasia. But some also put down their roots in this region, including in country towns and agricultural communities beyond the areas that had seen the original goldrushes. Throughout the Loddon Mallee in the late nineteenth century people of Chinese heritage continued to mine, fossick for gold, establish businesses, grow fruit and vegetables, and also raise families. New migrants also continued to arrive from China until the advent of the White Australia Policy in 1901 severely restricted non-European immigration to Australia.

With the approach of the First World War in the second decade of the twentieth century many of the children and grandchildren of the first waves of Chinese migration were in young adulthood and of prime fighting age. They had grown up in an era when Chinese-born residents of Australia no longer had the legal right to become naturalised, could no longer have family members (including children and spouses) who were not already Australian resident or born join them here, and whose Australian descendants could be barred from active military duty solely due to their race. Despite this discrimination many second and third generation Chinese Australians were patriotic and keen to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force when volunteers were needed for active service from 1914 to 1918. The stories and backgrounds of some of these regional Australians of Chinese heritage are told here.

Loddon Mallee 的早期中国开拓者

十九世纪五十年代,大约四万名华人满怀致富的憧憬,背井离乡远渡重洋从中国的南方来到维多利亚金矿区。直到十九世纪晚期,新移民源源不断地来到Loddon Mallee地区,他们过着寻金采矿,制造经营,种植水果蔬菜和繁衍生息的生活。1901年,白澳政策出台,严格限制了非欧盟国家人口的移民,当地华人的生产营销和日常生活受到了严重的影响。后来他们只得各奔前程,有的返回了故乡,有的转移到了其他矿区,有的搬迁到了澳大利亚的省会城市,还有的投奔华人社团移居到了海外其他国家。其中也有一些华人选择扎根在这片曾掀起过风涌云起般淘金热潮的 土地。


Next: The Egge Brothers

The Chinese ANZACs of the Loddon Mallee Region travelling exhibition is supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.