Telling the stories of Chinese–Australian families: Melbourne Chinese Studies Group, April 2010

Announcing the next Melbourne Chinese Studies Group seminar…

Topic: Three approaches to telling the stories of Chinese–Australian families – a panel of papers from Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria Inc (CAFHOV)
Speakers: Sophie Couchman, Robyn Ansell, Barbara Nichol
Date: Friday, 9 April 2010, 6pm
Admission: $2. All welcome
Venue: Jenny Florence Room, 3rd Floor, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets)

The Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) is a group of people who gather on the first Saturday of very month to discuss issues related to their research into Chinese–Australian family history. These were the papers presented by members of the group at the Dragon Tails conference held last year in Ballarat.

Sophie Couchman – ‘Remembering Chinatown’: The history behind a self-guided audio tour of Melbourne’s Little Bourke Street
Since the early work of labour historians in the 1970s our knowledge of the history of Chinese in Australia has expanded enormously. The challenge is to bring these understandings to the broader Australian public. This paper explores the difficulties and joys of practically applying current perspectives in Chinese–Australian history to a commercial product aimed at the general public.

Robyn Ansell – The wives of Hin Yung and Ah Whay
The Irish-Chinese connection is illustrated by this transition across one generation – from shame to sobriety, from goldfield survivor to pillar of the community. Creswick and Maryborough are the setting of the story.

Barbara Nichol – Chinese restaurant children: negotiating Australian lives
We love stories of those valiant pioneers who tamed the bush, but what about the people who pioneered the urban landscape? The early post-federation stories of Melbourne’s Chinese restaurant families will be the focus of this paper. ‘Restaurant children’ recognised the importance of fulfilling the obligations of their Chinese heritage, yet at the same time were negotiating their futures as Australians. They tend not to be described as ‘pioneers’, yet in many ways their struggles were just as valiant and the obstacles they negotiated were no less daunting.

Talk followed by an informal, inexpensive meal in a nearby Chinatown restaurant.

[Wish I could be there, but I’ll be a bit occupied elsewhere.]

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