Chinese community gravestone – Weldborough

There are many Chinese gravestones around Australia offering the names and even the villages of origin of many who have otherwise been forgotten by history so often focused on the rich and powerful. Gravestones of the tin miners of Tasmania are not plentiful however and few individual gravestones are now to be found.

This gravestone in the cemetery of Weldborough, once the most populous of the tin mining communities of the north-east, is special for two reasons. The first is that it was erected by the Chinese community as a general marker probably because it was here that they came for the annual grave cleaning ceremony. The second interesting feature of the gravestone or memorial stone, is that it is inscribed with the Chinese characters Da Qing Guo or Country of the Qing. This relates those who erected the stone with the reform movement of the late 19thand early 20th century that wished to improve the Imperial Government of China and its Qing Dynasty by reform along the lines of a constitutional monarchy rather than to replace it with a republic as most of the Overseas Chinese did by the time of the revolution in 1911.

The stone represents links not only to the homeland of China in terms of the many bones of the dead that would have been returned from this cemetery but also in the hopes those still living had in making their country of origin a stronger and better place.

Chinese-Tasmania – Historical Overview