Chinese Immigration in Australia By josh taylor

Why did they come?

The Chinese arrived in Australia in hope of finding gold during the gold rush in around the 1860s. As many as 40,000 Chinese people migrated from china and this number was not peaked until the white Australia policy was demolished. Many Chinese men came as Indentured labourers or convicts. They worked as shepherds of irrigation experts for private land owners. They also worked as rural labourers, cooks and gardeners. Although many Chinese people came not very many people at all stayed after the gold rush

Where Did they come from?

The Chinese people began their journey from the Sze zap and Guangdong provinces where many of the miners came from. From there's provinces they traveled on overcrowded boats to Hong Kong. From here they waited and were lured into gambling by the ships company to aim to get them into more debt. Then when their boat arrived they embarked on the long journey to Australia.

Where did they go?

Most of the Chinese immigrants lived in Victoria and by 1861 they made up around 7% of the Chinese culture. Many Chinese people also went to Sydneyor Queensland as well as the Northern Territory as they were also popular goldfield locations.

What jobs did they do?

Before the gold rush when they worked as shepherds or irrigation experts. During the gold rush they worked as diggers trying to strike it rich. After the gold rush many Chinese started up grocery stores or other markets. Mining still remained the most popular industry for Chinese Australians but many people stopped mining and became merchants or hawkers. Later in furniture manufacturing became a very popular career choice for man Chinese people. The Chinese started up among small businesses that produced household good or other small Items.


In the 1850s Chinese immigration was restricted due to government policies. In 1901 the immigrant restriction act was bought into place. But in 1970 the restriction was lifted and Australia developed a much stronger connection with china. Because of these restrictions the Chinese were mostly unwanted in Australia up until the restrictions were lifted. The Australian government also charged a £10 fee for entry into Australia per person to prevent masses of Chinese flowing into Australia.

Where they welcomed?

To begin with there was a lot of racism and discrimination towards the Chinese miners because of the massive influx of Chinese immigrants. There was a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment widespread through the goldfields. Many people started riots to drive the Chinese out out of the goldfields. Much of the hatred towards the Chinese was fuelled by the Chinese success at finding gold. On one occasion about 120 miners attacked the Chinese. They stole their gold and burnt down their tents. Although they were heavily discriminated because of their looks they were still thought of as very adaptable and hard working people as well as being very honest. Because of the way they looked the Chinese were blamed for many things that they did not do such as disease outbreaks and disasters in the goldfields.

Contribution to society

The Chinese were very industrious and they bought new techniques and ideas to the goldfields. With the miners came many Chinese entrepreneurs who provided goods and services to many other miners on the goldfields. The Chinese provided many labour benefits to the Australian community especially in the Northern Territory and Queensland. The Chinese did not only contribute in the workplace but also in cultural aspects of life. They bought over and celebrated many Chinese festivals and traditions. Because of this their different traditions and festivals resentment rose between the Chinese settlers and European settlers.


Gold rush Colony n.d., Chinese on the Australian golf fields, Mojo town, New South Whales, accessed 15 November 2016, <>.

Immigration museum, Melbourne n.d., Origins: history of immigration from china, accessed 14 November 2016, <>

La Trobe university n.d., Chinese heritage of Australian history, accessed 17 November 2016, <>.

my place for Teachers n.d., Anti-Chinese sentiments, Education services Australia, accessed 18 November 2016, <>.

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