The Tiger’s Mouth

Since 2008 I have been blogging here at The Tiger’s Mouth. My first post, about John Ian Wing and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, was published on 8 August 2008. Since then I’ve published 200 posts (at January 2024).

‘Entrance to the Pearl River, on the way to Canton’ by Baron von Reichenau (National Library of Australia, MAP Braga Collection Col./148,

I blog intermittently, when work and family life permit me the time. Posts are often on research tips and discoveries I’ve made, talks I’ve given, events I’ve attended, and interesting things I’ve read. Sometimes I write up little bits of research work that don’t yet have another home.

The blog’s name comes from 虎門 – the Bocca Tigris, or Bogue, or Humen, or Fu Mun – a narrow strait at the entry to the Pearl River in Guangdong, China. Shipping from Macau and Hong Kong passed through the Bocca Tigris on its way to Canton, and it was the site of major battles during both the First and Second Opium War.

While neither of those things seems to have particular relevance to my work on Chinese Australian history, I’m also born in the year of the tiger, so it somehow had a nice ring to it.

The Tiger’s Mouth was selected for preservation by the National Library of Australia and has been archived by the NLA since 2011.

Here are some of my favourite early posts:

And my favourite post of all – a guest post by my then seven-year-old in October 2017 – ‘How I found Dolly Denson’ by Parker Bagnall.

You can see more of my favourite posts in this retrospective post on the 10th anniversary of the Tiger’s Mouth.