In January 2016 I took up an appointment as ARC DECRA Research Fellow in History in the School of Humanities & Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities & the Arts at the University of Wollongong. DECRAs are a three-year fellowship, but being part-time (0.8 FTE), my fellowship stretched to 3.5 years.
My DECRA project is/was a transnational, comparative study titled ‘Chinese seeking citizenship in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, 1860 to 1920’. It’s an exploration of the history of Chinese naturalisation in the British settler colonies, which intertwines biographies and case studies with analysis of naturalisation law and policy. In essence I have been thinking about how, why and in what circumstances Chinese migrants became British subjects in New South Wales, New Zealand and British Columbia, and what it meant for them. I’ve presented on my DECRA research at various conferences and will be working on completing my databases and publishing in the future.
Being a DECRA fellow has also given me the opportunity to continue my earlier work on Chinese Australian women and families, and to embark upon the exciting adventure of running the Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour. Sophie Couchman and I have run the tour on three occasions, with about about fifty guests in total, each time collaborating with Selia Tan Jinhua from Wuyi University.
Now my DECRA has finished, I will continue on at UOW as an Honorary Fellow. I’m very lucky to have had the chance to work with such a fabulous cohort of historian colleagues at UOW – most particularly, Julia Martínez, without whom I would never have imagined that a DECRA could be within my reach.
Listed below is an assortment of things I’ve done during my fellowship and some photos that show the glamorous side of life as a jet-setting transnational historian.
2019 Tim Sherratt and Kate Bagnall, ‘The people inside’, in Kevin Kee and Timothy Compeau (eds), Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, DOI: 10.3998/mpub.9964786.
2018 ‘Potter v. Minahan: Chinese Australians, the law and belonging in White Australia’, History Australia, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 458–474, DOI: 10.1080/14490854.2018.1485503.
2018 ‘Writing home from China: Charles Allen’s transnational childhood’, in Paul Longley Arthur (ed.), Migrant Lives: Australian Culture, Society and Identity, Anthem Press, London.
2017 ‘“To his home at Jembaicumbene”: Women’s cross-cultural encounters on a colonial goldfield’, in Jacqueline Leckie, Angela McCarthy and Angela Wanhalla (eds), Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters in Asia and the Pacific, Routledge, Abingdon & New York.
Peer-reviewed publications (in progress)
‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: From absence to presence’, Global History Review 全求史評論, vol. 16 (in Chinese).
Sophie Couchman and Kate Bagnall, ‘Memory and meaning in the search for Chinese Australian families’, in Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton (eds), Remembering Migration: Oral Histories and Heritage in Australia, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Special issue in memory of Barry McGowan, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, vol. 8.
Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong
Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez, ‘Chinese Australian women, migration and mobility’, in Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong
‘Example or exception? Ham Hop and the Poon Gooey case’, in Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong
Kate Bagnall and Tim Sherratt, ‘Missing links: Data stories from the archive of British settler colonial citizenship’, Journal of World History (submitted to special issue by invitation from Antoinette Burton)
‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: From absence to presence’, Journal of Biography and History
Kate Bagnall and Peter Prince (eds), Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality in Australia and New Zealand before 1948 (edited collection)
‘Chinese naturalisation in colonial New Zealand and Australia’ (book chapter)
‘Paragraph (m): Chinese wives, migration law and White Australia’ (journal article)
‘Women and the Chinese family in colonial Australia and New Zealand’ (journal article)
Tiger’s Mouth blog posts
- The first NSW Certificate of Domicile, 1902, 3 January 2016
- Willie Sheen – born at sea, died by drowning, 11 January 2016
- Building a DIY Trove list exhibition, 7 February 2016
- Chinese New Year in Sydney, 1910, 7 February 2016
- Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions conference, 14 March 2016
- Research Week 2016, 12 April 2016
- PhD scholarship in overseas Chinese history, 16 May 2016
- In memoriam, 16 June 2016
- Canada research trip, July 2016, 22 July 2016
- 5 things I liked about the BC Archives, 26 July 2016
- Confusions of citizenship, 30 July 2016
- The curious case of Ernest Sung Yee, 14 September 2016
- Duped!, 25 October 2016
- Emma Tear Tack nee Lee Young – Guest post by Gill Oxley, 26 October 2016
- Top 3 tips for Chinese Australian family history research, 10 November 2016
- Naturalised Chinese in British settler colonies of the Pacific Rim, 1860 to 1920, 23 November 2016
- 2016 in review, 22 December 2016
- Beyond the paywall, 16 February 2017
- Finding your Chinese roots, 22 February 2017
- ‘Can a Chinaman get naturalised?’, 1 March 2017
- Sam family featured at the National Archives, 7 March 2017
- Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour 2017, 25 April 2017
- Chin Sheng Geong and George Ah Len, 16 June 2017
- Immigration Restriction Act instructions, 1901 to 1919, 21 June 2017
- Form 21 certificates, 1902–1908, 31 July 2017
- The Four Counties apply for naturalisation, 1857, 13 August 2017
- New guide to researching Immigration Restriction Act records, 13 August 2017
- Revealing the Real Face of White Australia: new project and transcribe-a-thon, 25 August 2017
- 2017 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour, 26 October 2017
- ‘How I found Dolly Denson’ by Parker Bagnall – Guest post by Parker Bagnall, 30 October 2017
- ‘Conversion and perversion’, 1839, 8 December 2017
- Communication and collaboration in the digital age, 12 December 2017
- 2017 in review, 1 January 2018
- ‘Kung he fat soy’, Otago, 1884, 15 February 2018
- Post for International Women’s Day: Minnie Alloo of Dunedin and the Women’s Suffrage Petition, 8 March 2018: now linked to from the NZ Women’s Suffrage Petition web page for Minnie Alloo
- Looking for love (or a wife, at least), 12 March 2018
- 2018 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour, 23 March 2018
- All for a White Australia but…, 4 April 2018
- “The prevalence of this prefix”, 1898, 7 June 2018
- Chinese Australian families and the legacies of colonial naturalisation, 8 July 2018
- Ten years of the Tiger’s Mouth, 8 August 2018
- Canada research trip, August 2018, 31 August 2018
- 2018 in review, 31 December 2019
- Were Chinese women naturalized in British Columbia?, 26 January 2019
- ‘A Chinese New Year’s Day’, Sydney, 1899, 5 February 2019
- Wellington research trip, May 2019, 24 May 2019
2019 ‘Cantonese connections: The origins of Australia’s early Chinese migrants’, Traces, issue 6, pp. 43–45.
2018 ‘Chinese Australians in print’, Unbound: The National Library of Australia Magazine, September 2018.
2018 ‘The murderer and the missionary: Gazettes and newspapers in Trove uncover Chinese-Australian history’, Trove blog, 18 January.
2017 ‘A new perspective on Australia and China’ (review of Australians in Shanghai by Sophie Loy-Wilson), History Australia, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 666–67.
2017 ‘Early Chinese newspapers: Trove presents a new perspective on Australian history’, Asian Library Resources of Australia (ALRA) Newsletter, no. 70, July.
2016 ‘Women, history and the shifting patterns of Chinese Australian life’, in John Young, Modernity’s End: Half the Sky, exhibition catalogue, Willoughby City Council, March, pp. 14–19.
Three research databases are still in preparation:
- Naturalized Chinese in British Columbia to 1914 (data extracted from BC Archives records; with data entry by Karen Schamberger, Sophie Couchman and Tracy Olverson)
- Naturalized Chinese in New Zealand to 1908 (data extracted from Archives NZ records)
- Naturalized Chinese in colonial New South Wales (data extracted from State Archives NSW records; with research and data entry by Naomi Parry)
2017 Real Face of White Australia transcription project and website (with Tim Sherratt), <https://transcribe.realfaceofwhiteaustralia.net>.
2016 The Chinese in New South Wales: A History in Pictures to 1940, <http://baibi.github.io/chinese-in-nsw-in-pictures/>.
(in preparation) James Minahan’s Homecoming LODBook project (with Tim Sherratt) – a new form of digital publication combining historical narrative and structured data.
Keynotes and invited lectures
2019 ‘The Real Face of White Australia: Seeing the People Inside’, Digital Histories Research Seminar, Australian Centre for Public History, University of Technology Sydney, 9 May.
2019 ‘Writing women into Chinese Australian history’, Department of History / Gender Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong, 21 March.
2018 ‘Gold Mountain guests: Cantonese settlers across the southern colonies’, public lecture, Global Dunedin Lecture Series, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand, 10 June.
2018 ‘“All the rights and capacities”? Chinese naturalisation and colonial mobility’, keynote lecture, Amidst Empires: Colonialism, China and the Chinese, 1839–1997, Flinders University, Adelaide, 29–30 January.
2017 ‘Australia and China: Before and below the nation’, keynote and public lecture, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Symposium on the Future of Australia-China Relations, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney, 24 October.
2016 ‘Communities in the Qing era: The Chinese in Australia’, public lecture, National Library of Australia, 24 January.
( * invited)
2019 ‘From Hong Kong to Sydney: The voyage of the Glamis Castle, 1881’, ‘All Roads Lead to Hong Kong’: Hong Kong History Project Conference, University of Hong Kong, 5–7 June.
*2018 ‘White women and the transnational Chinese family in colonial New South Wales’, 2018 International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies: International Migration Research from a Gendered Vantage Point, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 8–9 December.
2018 ‘White women, Chinese men: Interracial intimacies in colonial New South Wales’, 2018 International Federation for Research on Women’s History Conference, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, 9–11 August.
2018 ‘Chinese Australian families and the legacies of colonial naturalisation’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Australian National University, 2–6 July.
*2017 ‘Communication and collaboration in the digital age’, Related Histories: Studying the Family, National Library of Australia, 29 November.
2017 ‘Chinese restriction, naturalisation and mobility in colonial and post-Federation Australia’, Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality in Australia and New Zealand, University of Wollongong, 28 November.
2017 ‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: A case study approach’, International Conference on Chinese Women in World History, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 11–14 July.
2017 ‘Naturalisation and Chinese restriction in colonial Australasia’, Entangled Histories: Australian Historical Association Conference, University of Newcastle, 3–7 July.
*2017 ‘Naturalised Chinese in colonial Australia’, Beyond the New Gold Mountain: Chinese Community Council of Australia (Victoria) 2017 Conference, RMIT, Melbourne, 24 June.
2016 ‘Naturalised Chinese in British settler societies of the Pacific Rim, 1860 to 1920’, Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions, University of Wollongong, 23–25 November.
2016 ‘Potter v. Minahan 1908: a legal challenge to White Australia’, 9th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO), Richmond BC, Canada, 6–8 July.
*2016 ‘A culture of suspicion: Chinese at the border of White Australia’, The Commonwealth Department of Immigration—Then and Now, La Trobe University, 19 February.
Community talks and outreach
2019 ‘Tracing the origins of Chinese Australian ancestors’, webinar, Society for Australian Genealogists, 15 April.
2018 ‘Researching Chinese Australian families’, Sailing into History: NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Annual Conference, Bateman’s Bay, 15–16 September.
2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families’, U3A Wollongong, 23 October.
2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families – 8 sources to know’, Deniliquin Family History Expo, Deniliquin Genealogy Society, Deniliquin, 14 October.
2017 ‘Women and the records of White Australia’, Real Face of White Australia Transcribe-a-Thon, Museum of Australian Democracy, 9 September.
2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families’, Family History Month workshop, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 August.
2016 ‘From Canton to the colonies: Chinese women in nineteenth-century New South Wales’, History Week talk sponsored by Wollongong City Libraries, Corrimal District Library, 7 September.
2016 ‘Researching Chinese Australian family history’, 2-hour seminar, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, 30 April.
2016 ‘Women, history and the shifting patterns of Chinese Australian life’, opening of John Young Zerunge’s Modernity’s End: Half the Sky exhibition, Incinerator Art Space, Willoughby City Council, Willoughby, 2 March.
2017–2019 ‘Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour’
I organised and hosted, with Sophie Couchman, an annual history and heritage study tour to Hong Kong and Guangdong for 15–20 guests; participants included Chinese Australian family historians, writers, heritage practitioners and postgraduate students
Our first tour was held from 22 to 31 March 2017:
Our second tour was held from 14 to 24 January 2018:
Our third tour was held from 6 to 17 March 2019: 2019 brochure (pdf, 1.7mb)
Teaching and supervision
Higher Degree Research supervision
Emma Bellino, PhD, School of Humanities & Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong – ‘Marriage, women’s nationality, and Australia’s Asian communities in the early twentieth century’ (commenced 2017; UOW PhD scholarship tied to my DECRA fellowship)
2019 ‘Theory & skills – Working with digital archives: The Chinese in Australia’, History Honours HIST470, University of Wollongong, 12 April
2019 ‘The Chinese diaspora in Australia’, CCGL9056 How We Move: Migration, Border Crossing, and Identity, University of Hong Kong, 20 March
2018 ‘Developing a research project: Charlie Allen’s transnational childhood’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 17 September
2018 ‘Theory & skills – Working with digital archives: The Chinese in Australia’, History Honours HIST470, University of Wollongong, 4 May
2017 ‘The archives of White Australia’, Exploring Digital Heritage 10154.1, University of Canberra, 15 August
2017 ‘Doing history in the digital age’, Making History HIST355, University of Wollongong, 29 August
2017 ‘Developing a research project: Charlie Allen’s transnational childhood’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 22 August
2017 ‘Doing history in the digital age’, UOW Discovery Days, University of Wollongong, 10 February
2016 ‘Historical research in the digital age’, Making History HIST355, University of Wollongong, 6 October
2016 ‘Using sources: The curious case of Ernest Sung Yee’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 7 September
Grant and publication review
University of Sydney Press; Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History; Australian Historical Studies; Journal of Australian Studies; History Australia; New Zealand Journal of History; Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand; Australasian Journal of Irish Studies; Limina
ARC Discovery Project, 2018; Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund Standard Grant, 2018
Other professional and outreach activities
Conference and event organisation
2017 Convenor, Subjects and Aliens Symposium, University of Wollongong, 28 November.
2017 Co-organiser with Tim Sherratt, Real Face of White Australia Transcribe-a-Thon, Museum of Australian Democracy, Canberra, 9–10 September.
Professional presentations and activities
2019 Presented on ‘Collaboration and communication: Engaging with public audiences’, Early Career Convivium, School of Humanities, University of Hong Kong, 20 March
2017 Co-organised (with Claire Lowrie) and presented at the ‘Invited Workshop on Digital Humanities and ARC Linkage Projects’, University of Wollongong
2017 Participated in the invitation-only ‘Under the Southern Cross’ Chinese Australian history book project workshop, University of Technology Sydney
2017 Social media and blog manager for the UOW Colonial and Settler Studies Network
2016 Presented on my DECRA project at the UOW Research Week ‘History Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers’ event, University of Wollongong
2016 Participated in an invitation-only workshop on the ‘Cantonese Pacific in the Making of the Modern World’, University of British Columbia
2016 Participated in the invitation-only ‘Whisper Workshop 2016’ (linking university researchers with creative and cultural industries), Australian National University
2016 Spoke about my career path from PhD to DECRA at the ACHRC Humanities in the Regions symposium ‘Humanities in the Regions: Building Capacity Through Connectivity and Knowledge’, University of Wollongong
2016 Spoke on my DECRA project at the UOW LHA Early Career Research Presentations with the Vice Chancellor, University of Wollongong
2017 Co-ordinator and contributor to ‘Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between Australia and China’, a historical photographic exhibition on display at the Feminist Research Network Symposium, University of Wollongong,
2017 Contributor to ‘Chinese Fortunes’, on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (January to July 2017); Immigration Museum Melbourne (August 2017 to March 2018)
- Fundamentals of Higher Degree Research Supervision, University of Wollongong, October 2018
- Project Management – Introduction, University of Wollongong, May 2016
2018 Historical advisor assisting John Jarratt, Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 9, Episode 4, broadcast on SBS TV, 8 May.
2017 Interview with Siobhan Heanue, ABC News Canberra, broadcast on ABC TV evening news and ABC News 24 late news, 3 September.
2019 Podcast interview with Valerie Khoo, New Stories, Bold Legends: Stories from Sydney Lunar Festival, February.
2018 Interview with Keri Philips, ‘Chinese immigration to Australia’, Rear Vision, ABC Radio National, 2 September.
2018 Historical advisor to Jane Lee, ‘William Ah Ket: the first Chinese-Australian barrister’, The History Listen, ABC Radio National, 28 August.
2017 Broadcast of ‘Australia and China: Before and below the nation’, recorded at the University of Sydney, 24 October 2017, Radio National Big Ideas, 11 December.
Print and online
2018 Quoted in Jason Fang, ‘200 years of Chinese-Australians: First settler’s descendants reconnect with their roots’, ABC News online, 10 June.
2018 Quoted in Isabella Kwai, ‘200 years on, Chinese-Australians are still proving they belong’, New York Times, 7 May; also published as Isabella Kwai, ‘Years on, Chinese Australians are still proving they belong’, Straits Times, 8 May.
2017 Featured in 45 Years, 45 Stories: Celebrating 45 Years of Australia–China Diplomatic Relations, Australian Government.
2017 Quoted in Siobhan Heanue, ‘White Australia Policy: Documents reveal personal stories of life under Immigration Restriction Act’, ABC News online, 4 September.
2016 Katherine Crane, ‘Q & A with Kate Bagnall: Authors at the National Library’, National Library of Australia blog, 15 January.
I drove up and down the highway between Canberra and Wollongong and Sydney a lot, but here’s a list of the more distant places I travelled to:
- July 2016: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – workshop, conference and archival research
- March 2017: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2017 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour, fieldwork and archival research
- June 2017: Adelaide and Melbourne – archival research and conference
- July 2017: Newcastle – conference
- July 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – conference
- August 2017: Byron Bay – meeting
- October 2017: Deniliquin – family history conference
- January 2018: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2018 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour and fieldwork
- January 2018: Adelaide – conference
- June 2018: Wellington and Dunedin, New Zealand – archival research and public lecture
- August 2018: Vancouver, Ottawa, and Victoria BC, Canada – conference and archival research
- December 2018: Jiangmen, China – conference and fieldwork
- March 2019: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2019 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour and presentations at the University of Hong Kong
- May 2019: Wellington, New Zealand – archival research and meetings
- June 2019: Hong Kong, Guangdong (Zhuhai and Guangzhou), Macau – conference and fieldwork
Finally, some thanks.
To my research assistants: Karen Schamberger, Naomi Parry, Sophie Couchman and Tracy Olverson.
To my co-authors and collaborators: Sophie Couchman, Julia Martínez and Tim Sherratt.
To the staff at: the National Library of Australia and Trove, National Archives of Australia, State Archives NSW, State Library NSW, Archives NZ, Hocken Library, National Library of New Zealand, Digital NZ, NZ Presbyterian Archives, HK Public Record Office, Wuyi Qiaoxiang Culture Research Centre, British Columbia Archives, Vancouver City Archives, City of Victoria Archives, Library Archives Canada, UBC Library, China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, University of Wollongong Library.
To those who have offered me opportunities, shown me kindness, and helped, encouraged and supported me along the way over the past four years, especially when I’ve been far from home:
Tony Ballantyne, James Beattie, Emma Bellino, Dorry Chen Meixian, Chen Ruihuai, Georgine Clarsen, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shawn Graham, Guo Feixiang, Min Guo, Ben He Zhibin, Carrie Huang Qiaoyi, Di Kelly, Nicki Kemp, Alastair Kerr and Lynn Smith, Tseen Khoo, Vivian Kong, Mei-fen Kuo, Elizabeth LaCouture, Catherine Ladds, Amy Li Dongmei, Sophie Liang Lu, Claire Lowrie, Sophie Loy-Wilson, Jane McCabe, Vera Mackie, Laura Madokoro, Megan Neilson, Amy Nichol, Jonathan O’Donnell, Lachy Paterson, Jayne Persian, Jason Petrulis, David Pomfret, Peter Prince, Kim Rubenstein, Frances Steel, Selia Tan Jinhua, Angela Wanhalla, Howard Wilson, Dawn Wong, Tori Wright, Simon Ville, Henry Yu, Angel Zhao Ruizhu.