Ghost Mine Case Notes

Mystery at Ghost Mine an Ace Detectives Mystery Adventure

Chinese immigrants on the goldfields

Chinese miners of the goldfieldsPeople came from many countries to seek their fortunes on the Ballarat goldfields, including China.

The Chinese miners mostly fossicked for gold on the surface or in shallow diggings and they kept mostly to themselves. This did not make them popular with Europeans who often worked underground and enjoyed relaxing with everyone else. It was probably the same old problem – being ignorant of other cultures and people misunderstanding each other.

The British government tried to restrict Chinese immigration by charging an entry tax, so Chinese miners sailed to South Australia and walked hundreds of kilometres to Victoria and Ballarat, to avoid paying.

By 1857 there were almost 25,000 Chinese miners on the various Australian goldfields – and perhaps 42,000 by 1859. They were the largest of the communities that were established in Australia by people born elsewhere. In Victoria they made up one third of the mining population.

At each place they settled, they set up Chinese barbers, tea-houses, restaurants, herbalists, joss houses and entertainment houses.Chinese carving

By 1861, when the gold output declined and residence taxes increased, many went back to China to their families or to repay sponsors who had paid their fares to Australia. But many Chinese miners stayed and brought their families to Australia or married here. Their influence on Australian life has been very important since the days of the goldrush.

If you visit Sovereign Hill historic township you can explore the lives of Chinese immigrants and see their cultural influence in buildings such as the joss house.

Chinese temple at goldfields

Bookmark and Share