Ten years ago today, on 8 August 2008, I published my first post on the Tiger’s Mouth. An auspicious day for the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and an auspicious day to start a blog, I reasoned! Since 2011 the National Library of Australia has been archiving the Tiger’s Mouth in Pandora.
The blog’s name comes from the Bocca Tigris, or Bogue, or Humen (虎門), 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. I’m also born in the year of the tiger, so it somehow ‘the Tiger’s Mouth’ seemed an appropriate name for a blog full of my thoughts and random bits of research on Chinese Australian history.
Back in 2008 when I started the blog I was working in the Web Content team at the National Archives in Canberra. Today I am in Vancouver on the first day of a three-week conference and research trip funded through my ARC DECRA fellowship. I don’t think the me of ten years ago could have imagined that I would be here doing this, but here I am – 176 blog posts later.
To mark the occasion, here’s a selection of some of my favourite posts:
- A Carlton boy’s big idea, 8 August 2008
- Dictation Test is 50 years dead, 2 October 2008
- ‘A pathetic story’, 12 July 2009
- Who is an Australian? (c.1908), 26 January 2010
- Looking like a pak ah pu ticket, 29 March 2010
- Invisible Australians: A beginning, 15 July 2010
- An indecipherable name and Rev. Dr Fullerton’s marriage shop, 19 July 2010
- Birth certificate registers, 5 December 2010
- LJ Hooker’s Chinese roots, 23 January 2011
- ‘Faat tay’ – new year prosperity cakes, 1 February 2011
- The real face of White Australia, 22 September 2011
- Where are the women?, 28 September 2012
- Assumed identities and false papers, 29 November 2012
- An old goldminer and her Chinese companion, 1901, 9 January 2013
- The trouble with spelling Chinese names, 12 February 2013
- Man Sue Bach, 1790–1862: the ‘oldest Chinese colonist’ in NSW, 23 February 2013
- A mother’s struggle, 21 March 2013
- Celestial City: misunderstanding the administration of immigration restriction, 29 August 2014
- Ham Hop and the Poons of Yueshan, 11 January 2015
- An Australian shovel in Shiquli, Xinhui, 14 January 2015
- Launch of ‘The Chungking Legation’ exhibition and book, 7 December 2015
- Building a DIY Trove list exhibition, 15 January 2016
- In memoriam, 16 June 2016
- The curious case of Ernest Sung Yee, 14 September 2016
- Finding your Chinese roots, 22 February 2017
- Chin Sheng Geong and George Ah Len, 16 June 2017
- Form 21 certificates, 1902–1908, 31 July 2017
- ‘Conversion and perversion’, 1839, 8 December 2017
- Communication and collaboration in the digital age, 12 December 2017
- Chinese Australian families and the legacies of colonial naturalisation, 8 July 2018
Here are rundowns of the two China tours I’ve organised with Sophie Couchman:
And here’s my favourite post of all – a guest post by my then seven-year-old from October 2017 : ‘How I found Dolly Denson’ by Parker Bagnall.
Thank you, Kate, for the wealth of information you’ve provided to those like me researching a Chinese-Australian family connection. In my case, this was for a nephew whose ancestry traces back to Olive Lavine Moore (born Sydney 1897), the child of Mary Agnes Moore and “Ah Chee” or perhaps Ah Sec Chi. Tracing the family story, including travels to China and the varying stories of the children after the early death of their mother, has been a rewarding and enriching experience. Keep up the good work!