CAHS presentation, 24 July 2021

‘Writing women into Chinese Australian history’


I will be speaking (via Zoom) to the Chinese Australian Historical Society on 24 July 2021 about ‘Writing women into Chinese Australian history’, drawing on my new edited collection, Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia, co-edited with Julia Martínez.

Date: Saturday, 24 July 2021
Time: 2.30pm to 4.00pm
Venue: Via Zoom (link will be provided by email after you RSVP)
RSVP:, 0417 655 233


Women have been largely invisible in the broad sweep of Chinese Australian history. From the earliest days of Chinese migration to Australia, it was predominantly men and boys who came south to the colonies as labourers, miners and merchants. By the turn of the twentieth century, there were still fewer than 500 migrant Chinese women in Australia among a population of nearly 30,000 Chinese men. These small numbers have made it easy for historians to overlook the presence of Chinese women and girls in Australia and this, combined with the challenges of locating sources that document women’s lives, has contributed to an apparently legitimised acceptance of male-centred history. In this talk I challenge the framing of Chinese Australian history as a history of men and consider how tracing the lives of Chinese women in Australia disrupts accepted narratives of Chinese migration and settlement. These themes are the focus of my new book, Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia, co-edited with Julia Martínez.


Kate Bagnall is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and coordinator of the Family History program at the University of Tasmania. She has a background in public history and archives, completing her PhD in History at the University of Sydney while working at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra. Kate is best known for her work in Chinese Australian history, particularly the history of women, children and families in Australia’s early Chinese communities. Before joining the University of Tasmania in 2019, Kate was an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong.


  1. June Honson says:

    I would like to be linked on zoom to attend the meeting on this book due to be released by Kate Bagnall as my mother is the lady on the far right on the front cover of this book. They have printed her name as Patty Wong Yee which is incorrect. It should be Betty Wong Yee. The other ladies are my aunties.

  2. June Honson says:

    I would love to attend the meeting on the 24th July 2021 at the SMSA to find out more about this book as my mother is featured on the front cover with her siblings and family members in this picture. However there is an error in my mother’s name as she is the person on the far right of the photo on the front cover of this book. They have printed this as Patty Wong Yee and her name is Betty Wong Yee. I have already sent an email to Kate regarding this error.

  3. Kevin Lee says:

    Hi Kate,
    It was great to see you appearing, and pass on your knowledge on SBS-TV 29/06/2021 season 12 of “Who Do You Think You Are?” which focused on purple Wiggle, Jeff Fatt with his Chinese ancestry.

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