Chinese migration: Why did the community migrate to Australia?
Migration is the movement of people from one place to another with the intention of settling, permanently or temporarily at a new location. The movement is often over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible.
News of a gold rush in Australia had reached southern China by the early 1850s, sparking an influx into Australia in Chinese migration.
Approximately 7,000 Chinese people are believed to have come to work in the gold areas of Araluen in southern NSW. The Chinese miners often worked under the leadership of a leader in organized organizations of 30 to 100 males, resulting in very effective gold-digging attempts.
Many Chinese immigrants came to Australia as indentured labourers working as shepherds, rural labourers, cooks and gardeners. In 1853, the first boatload of Chinese miners arrived in Victoria. Jealousy arose sometimes due to the success of the Chinese miners and this caused a rise in conflicts between the workers.
The life of Chinese immigrants wasn’t always easy. They went through many disastrous experiences before arriving in Australia, during their journey to Australia and after having arrived in Australia.
Many Chinese people left China and decided to come to Australia as they didn’t have the ‘perfect, ideal life’ as we know today. They often weren’t provided with basic necessities and facilities by the government to be able to live sustainable and efficient lives. They encountered many problematic issues with their economy which was due to more than one reason, however, some include their rapidly aging population, a falling birth rate, a tightening Federal Reserve and a slowing global economy. Furthermore, another experience that was faced by the immigrants that caused the international migration to Australia was that they strived to provide a better future for their families.
Their experiences during their voyage to Australia was not easy either.
They travelled long distances over a really long time period. The boats they often came in were not hygienic and safe and this led to many of them suffering from diseases and injuries.
When the Chinese immigrants arrived in Australia they still had to undergo unpleasant experiences. In a few goldfields, the Chinese miners were attacked because the European miners were jealous of how successful they were because they worked so hard.
Hardships they might have endured?
Chinese immigrants were struggling to discover a way to earn a living wage. The vast majority of this first group were young and male, many of whom had little formal education and work experience. They had to discover jobs that needed little English facility and those necessary abilities that could be learned rapidly. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the railroad companies were expanding at a breakneck pace, straining to span the continents as cheaply as they could. The job was extremely hard, the pay was small, and at a very high price employee were wounded and murdered. It represented an opportunity to join the workforce for Chinese employees, however, and they accepted reduced salaries. More than 10,000 Chinese employees blasted tunnels, constructed roadbeds and laid hundreds of kilometres of track, often in freezing cold or heat. In a multitude of sectors, Chinese immigrants discovered a job, from making shoes and sewing clothes to rolling cigars.
However, since language obstacles and racial discrimination prevented them from many established trades, they often developed possibilities for themselves and set up fresh companies.
Chinese's big influx to the colony triggered excellent alarm among Victoria's politicians and miners. It was stated in the Victorian parliament that having so many Chinese in the colony who were loyal to an overseas emperor who could command them at any time to rise up.
Industries they worked in:
The Chinese labourers were allocated countless employment upon arrival in Australia that helped open up the increasing settlement. Clearing the bush, digging wells and irrigation ditches, and working on the new estates as shepherds included as jobs. Many fresh immigrants had also begun market gardens.
Chinese towns and benevolent societies, often based on clan or district connections, created rapidly across Australia to help the Chinese population. Chinese miners followed as gold and other minerals were found in Queensland, Northern Territory, and Northeast Tasmania. Chinese businessmen went along with the miners to help supply products and services to the developing Chinese people. As mining became less lucrative, Chinese miners became increasingly engaged and successful in market gardening, storekeeping, furniture making, banana growing and wholesale, fishing, and pearl diving. The contribution of Chinese labour to the growth of Australia was particularly important.
What contributions did the Chinese people make:
The Chinese people contributed by offering accommodation, medicinal herbs, fresh food, groceries, restaurants, noodle houses, tobacconists, butchers, clerks, carpenters and interpreters. They contributed Chinese goods such as tea, silk, vegetables, herbs, ginger and other spices as well as opium, which they sold to non-Chinese descent. created their own replicas of their homes as what we call now Chinatown. These towns in Australia symbolise the change of attitude in Australia and are a great part of our Australian society and heritage. However their major contribution, however, was in opening up the country.
The story of a Chinese immigrant, Ai Ling Zhou
Ai Ling Zhou migrated to Australia in 1987 because she was disappointed in China’s university system, where at the time she was studying material science engineering. Chinese university graduates were appointed jobs and sent to workplaces by the government, meaning they had no say in want job opportunities they could take. Ai Ling felt very oppressed by this system and saw Australia as a gateway to many new opportunities.
Thus in 1987, she took a flight down to Sydney, Australia. For her adjusting to Australia’s culture was the hardest as she found that her Chinese degree had no value and was regressed into working a measly waitress job and studying English, deprived of her engineering abilities. However, after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, many Chinese Australians were offered visas and permanent residency. This made Ai Ling feel as if she was back on her feet as this pushed her to complete her post-graduate study of economics in 1994. Her contributions have helped Australia open itself to the international market and she is currently a lecturer at Macquarie Unversity. She is extremely glad to have her second try at life in a country like Australia so that she and her son can never experience the life she previously had in China.
For our mural design to represent our chosen ethnic group China, we have made the main colour red as it is their national colour. We felt that it was necessary to include the rich culture of China and we’ve done so by illustrating a Chinese woman adorned with a Hanfu ( a traditional Chinese dress) and intricate Chinese jewellery. Not only did the Chinese contribute their clothing and understanding of silk, but they also brought along with them their gambling games such as mahjong and opium, which may have had negative connotations but nevertheless shaped Australia forever. The red lanterns in the background are reminiscent of Chinese traditions such as Chinese New Year and the ever-popular Chinatowns.
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