Pastoral workers, market gardeners and entrepreneurs – talk by Dr Barry McGowan

The Chinese Australian Historical Society is holding a special meeting:

Pastoral workers, market gardeners and entrepreneurs – the Chinese people in the Riverina district of New South Wales

Dr Barry McGowan (Australian National University)

When: Saturday 22 May 2010 at 2pm
Where: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street Sydney (near Bathurst Street)

In October of 2008 Barry McGowan was commissioned by the Museum of the Riverina in Wagga Wagga to research the history of the Chinese people in the Riverina for an exhibition at the Museum in 2010. This work follows an earlier study undertaken by Barry and Lindsay Smith into the Chinese heritage of the Riverina and southern New South Wales. The Chinese people were an integral part of Riverina society for many years, and the project has revealed an amazing amount of information on their daily lives.

A large number of artefacts and photographs have been obtained, and new insights gleaned into the importance of Chinese labour and enterprise for the rural economy, the internal workings of Chinese society, race relationships and the role of the police and courts.

New insights have also been obtained into the importance of fraternal and family networks. Much of this information has come from the descendants of Chinese Australian families, who have lived in the Riverina for several generations or more. But it is a lost history – the significance of which has been missed by most historians. Information to hand suggests that a major rewriting of colonial and post colonial history is in order.

The exhibition will run from November to March in Wagga Wagga and from March to June in Albury.

There will be a short discussion on the Sydney market gardens, in particular the Botany one which is heritage listed and is thought to be Australia’s first primary industry site.

Cost: $10 members; $15 non members. Pay at the door.
Bookings: Anna Lee (CAHS treasurer) by email: annalee@workready.com.au; phone: 9519 7436; text 0412 33 43 98

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