The tiger’s mouth

Thoughts on the history and heritage of Chinese Australia

About

This blog is written by Kate Bagnall (@baibi on Twitter). I’ve been interested in Australia’s historical connections to China since I first lived there fifteen years ago – when, by coincidence, I found myself living in the overseas Chinese homelands of the Pearl River Delta.

My historical research focuses on the lives of Australians of Chinese descent in both Australia and China, the administration of the White Australia Policy and the cultural heritage of Australia’s Chinese communities.

My doctoral research was the first major historical study of intimate relationships between Chinese men and white Australian women, while other of my work focuses on transnational Chinese Australian family and community histories.

I am further interested in using emerging technologies to uncover and understand the complex connections between China and Australia, particularly in tracing networks of clan and kinship over time and space.

My current projects include:

  • Paper trails: Travels with Anglo-Chinese Australians, 1900–1939, supported by the National Archives of Australia’s Ian Maclean Award for 2012–13
  • Invisible Australians: Living under the White Australia Policy with Tim Sherratt
  • ‘Threads of Kinship’, a database of Chinese marriages and births in New South Wales to 1918
  • research on the 1908 High Court case Potter v. Minahan, which includes finding out about the history of the Chinese at Indigo, Victoria and its connections to Shiquli village, Xinhui
  • research on Ham Hop, the wife of Poon Gooey, and the history of other Chinese wives in Australia under exemption, 1900–1920

9 Responses to “About”

  1. Joanne Tapiolas

    Hi Kate

    A few years back you had an article about a Sydney minister who officiated mixed marriages together with details about the church’s name and I think how to access their archives. I think he married people “off the grid” and I wanted to pursue a mixed marriage: Chen Ah Yeen who married Sarah Sheehey 25 August 1866 Sydney according to a birth registration but there is no match for a marriage in NSW Births Deaths and Marriages.

    Any guidance or assistance in pointing me in the right direction is appreciated.

    Sincerely
    Joanne Tapiolas

    Reply
  2. Chrissie Minahan

    Hi Kate,

    My late father-in-law James Francis Minahan was also fascinated with Potter v Minahan case because of the similarity of name.

    I would be interested to know more about Winifred’s family background to see if she is a relation.

    Good luck with the book.

    Kind regards

    Chrissie

    Reply
    • Kate

      Hi Chrissie,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I think I’ve probably come across and had to disregard records about your later father-in-law in my search for materials about my James Francis Kitchen Minahan. I’ve sent you an email with more information about Winifred Minahan. It’s been tricky to track down her family as they appear using many variations of the family name: Minahan, Minehan, Mineham, Minaham, Monaghan and Monahagn.

      Cheers,
      Kate

      Reply
  3. prue dawson

    Hi Kate,

    I am trying to find out more about my grandmother Alice Mow Fung, Pauline Rule wrote a paper about the 5 sisters. Do you have a contact for her.

    Cheers

    Prue

    Reply
  4. Pamela Nicholls

    Hello Kate

    For the past decade, I have researching our hitherto unknown family. The most amazing finding was a G+++ grandfather from Amoy, China who was working on the Victorian Goldfields initially in Barkers Creek, and later in Specimen’s Creek.

    We are fortunate to have both his marriage certificates: the first dated 4 January, 1858, Castlemaine to Emily Charlotte Bass in with his beautiful Chinese signature which I am told is HOU Sin, Victorian Marriage Registration #1081. Emily died in 1862.

    The second 13 September, 1862 in Eaglehawk Presbyterian Manse to Margaret Mowbray Black with his Anglicized name James OSEEN.

    Three children were born to the latter marriage: Margaret Mowbray Oseen 1864, Harriet Oseen 1866 & James Oseen 1868-1874.

    HOU Sin aka James Oseen died in 16 November 1868. We have his death certificate.

    We understand his father was Georgy Oseen and his mother Harriet James.

    In 1872 Margaret Mowbray Black Oseen remarried Samuel Crossley in Specimen Hill.

    Harriet Oseen married Thomas Vinton Nicholls, elder son of Thomas Odgers Nicholls and Mary Searle Nicholls.

    Margaret Mowbray married William Edward Holmes. Their daughter Margaret Mowbray Holmes married Frederick Searle Nicholls, youngest son of Thomas Odgers Nicholls & Mary Searle Nicholls, younger brother of Thomas Vincton Nicholls.

    I have looked at Campbells Creek cemetery, with no success.

    Best Wishes
    Pamela Nicholls

    Reply
  5. Trish JAMIESON

    I was very interested to find your site, and learn that you found yourself living in the overseas Chinese homelands of the Pearl River Delta.

    My Great Grandfather, Yett Soo War Way Lee came from this area.

    He was born on the 6th of August 1852. Kiang San Village, Tung Kun County, Guang Dong Province (Jingshan Xiang in Dongguan County, China).

    He migrated to Australia in 1874. I see you have the New Year’s card he wrote.

    Do you know this place? I would love to learn more about my Great Grandfather’s family in China. I have folders of information on his life in Australia, and have been very involved in many projects here in Adelaide.

    Regards TRISH

    Reply
  6. Diane Jennings

    Hello Kate
    For years now I have researched my Family’s heritage in the hope of finding information on my Grandfather’s two brothers and sister. Joseph, William and Caroline Wong). My Great grandfather was Pow Wong a gold miner from Linton Victoria, he married Elizabeth Glover and had four children the youngest, Victor James was my grandfather. My grandfather was raised by his Aunt, another Glover sister (Catherine) who also married a Chinese man (Yean). Both Elizabeth and Pow Wong are buried in the Linton Cemetery.

    I posted an article on the Ballarat Genealogy Society Web site a few years ago and only now recieved an email advising me to contact you.

    I have looked through you web site but was unable to find any information regarding my own family connectoins. I would really appreciate your assistance if you have any information I ask that you please contact me.

    Regards
    Diane Jennings

    Reply
  7. Lorraine Purcell

    Hi Kate,
    I am currently collecting material about the goldfields of NSW around Hill End & Tambaroora Sofala etc. In our researches we have come across some interesting material relating to the Chinese and have one document in particular which has lots of Chinese names in it written in Chinese script. We also have the Census material from 1891 where the enumerator has anglicized the names as well. As we have no expertise in Chinese are you able to suggest who we may contact to get a translation of the names etc. We are happy for any Chinese Australian Family History group to have access to the material for their own use as well. I can be contacted at heatgg@yahoo.com.au – many thanks.
    Lorraine Converer, Hill End & Tambaroora Gathering Group

    Reply

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