For much of the evidence for Chinese Australian history reliance is necessarily on European observers and European records. A great deal of this material is patronising at best and stereotypical or even plain made up at worst. In general, such observation pieces often tell us more about the writers than those being observed – but this too is useful. Nevertheless, among this diverse material can be found many instances of careful and interesting observation – even when it is patronising (and/or ignorant). Personal observation when sincerely given can provide much of value. Here is a selection ranging from the naive English teacher to the experienced China consul, and from a first-time opera goer to an eyewitness of the first 150 Chinese gold seekers to pass through Bathurst in 1855.
No. 5: Ah Gong meets Mary Poppins
No. 6: A white women in Chinatown
No. 7: Public transport in Ballarat
No. 8: Jimmy the Pat