Tag: Lambing Flat

Minority miners from the State Library NSW

The State Library of New South Wales’ Eureka! The rush for gold web feature includes some interesting material about the Chinese in the section titled Minority miners.

There are links to digitised photographs, paintings and sketches, and images of a most intriguing gold medal from the State Library’s collection. The medal was presented to a goldfields warden in Braidwood in 1881 as a ‘mark of esteem’ by Chinese miners.

The text that goes with these images gives a brief and fairly typical account of the Chinese on the southern Australian goldfields – telling a story of anti-Chinese sentiments, violence, poll taxes, Lambing Flat, anti-Chinese legislation, as well as introducing the exception to all the stereotypes, Quong Tart (there are links to Tart family papers also held by the Library.)

It’s nice to see some of the State Library’s Chinese stuff being highlighted, but it’s a pity that people can’t seem to get past the idea that there isn’t anything more to the story of the goldfields Chinese than rivalry, misunderstanding, prejudice and discrimination. The gold medal, just by itself, suggests that the story is much more complex than that.