Original Material

Chinese Australian voices, their echo’s & other source’s of interest

While not attempting to be wholly consistent, the selection of original documents below is an attempt to list those sources (very limited in the 19th century) that allow us to hear, even if only at second-hand, the voices of Chinese people themselves in Australia. References only are given for the most part but gradually some of the documents themselves will be added – further suggestions are very welcome.

1850Ang’s defence against accusation of murder. [In a mix of drawings and text this is the earliest piece of Chinese Australian “literature”.]

1855 – Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the condition of the gold fields of Victoria. Gold Fields’ Commission of Enquiry. 1854-5. [State Library Victoria] [ Chinese witnesses 

1857 – Minutes of Evidence Select Committee on Seizure of Gold on Board the “Ethereal” (LA NSW Votes and Proceedings) [NSW State Library] [Chinese witnesses including rare reference to home villages, Chinese interpreters 

1862 – Aggressions on Chinese. Compensation claims for looses sustained during the riots at Burrangong Gold Fields (Legislative Assembly NSW, 1862) [NSW State Library] [Details of goods owned by Chinese miners on the gold fields

1865-1890Bew Chip’s Register [A ledger of monies sent back to China by a Hill End resident]

1866 – Chinese residents petition regarding Bah Fook. NSW State Archives: Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NRS 905 [66/1430] 4/577, Memorial of Inhabitants of Sofala Re Bah Fook, 1866.

1868 – Report on the Condition of the Chinese Population of Victoria, Rev William Young. Papers Presented to Parliament, Legislative Assembly, Victoria, 1868. [Rev William Young ] 

1873 – Petition for release of Chee Loy. NSW State Archives: Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NRS 905. [1/2228] 73/5223 enclosed in 73/6969, The Petition of Chee Loy of Tambaroora, 1873.

1877 – Great Britain, Foreign Office Confidential Prints: No.3742, Notes by Mr. Crawford on Chinese Immigration in the Australian Colonies, J. Dundas Crawford, 1 September 1877. [Second-hand reporting to conversations with many Chinese in Australia ]

For an analysis of the Crawford Report.

1879 – The Chinese Question in Australia, 1878-79 by L. Kong Meng, Cheok Hong Cheong, Louis Ah Mouy [Detailed argument by leading Chinese merchants in Australia 

1880s – Rookwood Cemetery (Sydney), Anglican Trust: Register of Burials in the Necropolis at Haslem’s Creek, under the Necropolis Act of 1867, 31st Victoria, No.14, “Chinese Section of General Cemetery”. [Rookwood?]  [Names of those ‘Returned to China’ 

1892 – Report of the Royal Commission on Alleged Chinese Gambling & Immorality and charges of bribery against members of the police force (Sydney: Government Printer, 1892)  [Chinese witnesses, Quong Tart one Commissioner 

1896 – Egerton, Margaret, ‘My Chinese’, The Cosmos Magazine, Sept, pp.124-128, Oct, pp.138-141, Nov, pp.192-196, 1896. [Sydney University/NSW State Library]  [Naive reporting of conversations with her English class 

1897 – Imprisonment at Parramatta of a Blind Chinaman, Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 1879-80, Vol. III, pp.207-210. [NSW State Library] [Henry Parkes defends a Chinese beggar arrested at Parramatta Station 

1901-1960s – Immigration Files [NAA]  [Occasionally individual letters are to be found in these many files – examples: From his wife to Jimmy Ah ChuckQuong Tart to Edmund BartonPhilip Lee Chun on Chinese names ] 

1909 – “The Poison of Polygamy – A Novel of Society” (多妻毒 – 社會小說), Chinese Times, June 1909 – December 1910. [Trove] [First Chinese-Australian novel ever written 

1912 – Mar Letters: A collection of letters and sundry documents written to and from Harry Fay from c.1912 to the 1950s. [University of New England] [Accounts from a trans-Pacifc business empire 

1913 – Xiangjiao (象角) village hall, Zhongshan County, Guangzhou: donors tablets, 1913. [Australia-wide (& Hawaii and San Francisco) list of donors 

1917/30s – Papers of the Chau family, 1917-1930 [NLA, MS 10030, MS Acc09.205, MS Acc10.171, MS Acc10.196, MS Acc13.137.] [Series of letters to mother and others from son in Melbourne – example 

1920s-1940s – North Head Quarantine Station [Various inscriptions in Chinese ] 

1925 – Taam Sze Pui, My life and work (1925) [Mitchell A926.58/T] [A rare autobiographical account 

1932 – What Happened to Riley [Short story Chinese-Australian meets White-Australian]

1930-2009 – Stanley Hunt, From Shekki to Sydney: an autobiography (Broadway, N.S.W.: Wild Peony, 2009). [Autobiography of a businessman ] 

1930/50s – William Liu papers [Mitchell MLMSS 6294] [Personal and business documents from a very active Chinese-Australian 

1932 – William Liu, Chinese-Australian trading relationship (Sydney: Society of Chinese Residents in Australia, 1932). [Mitchell – 339.0901/L] [Early efforts to promote China-Australian trade 

1930-1950 – Mavis Yen, South Flows the Pearl, Sydney University Press, 2022. [A series of oral history interviews covering many generations and locations.]

1950-2010 – Francis Lee, Out of bounds: journey of a migrant (Petersham North, N.S.W.: Universe Books, 2010). [Autobiography of 1950s student and community leader] 

1949-2020 – Andrew Kwong, One Bright Moon (HarperCollins AU, 2020 [Autobiography of a boy born in the Pearl River Delta post-revolution before coming to Australia as a student.]

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