Chinese Immigrants' Contribution to Australia

Published: 2021-06-29 04:30:01
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Category: English

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During the second half of the nineteenth century, a significant number of people seeking careers went to the distant areas where gold was discovered.  It is called Gold Rush.  After California was called ‘gold mountain’, Australia was regarded as ‘new gold mountain’ as the gold was found in Victoria in 1851 (Barwick & Barwick, 2001).  Considering the problems of distance and the amount of potential gold, some Chinese people thought Australia was a preferable alternative place to exploit for their new careers thus they left for Australia.  In addition, some other factors also forced Chinese people to leave their homeland.  The main factor is that two Anglo-Chinese wars destroyed their homeland.  The Chinese civil wars also play a big part of the reason they left.  During that time, the Qing Dynasty was on the way to fall, thus the government was not able to protect people and create a peaceful environment for people.  People who cannot bear the really tough life and chaos caused by wars escaped finally.  Most of these Chinese immigrants who came to Australia were from Fujian Province and Guangdong Province (Ngai, 2015).  They are called ‘Chinese Digger’ later, making up the major of miners in Gold Rush.  This essay will argue that Chinese immigrants in Australia play an important role in Australian development during the Gold Rush of mid-nineteenth century in terms of supply of labour, prosperity of various industries and the development of transportation in Australia.Chinese were shipped to Australia as indentured servants in order to meet the increasing demand of labour.  In the 1840s, the ceased convict transportation to the colony of New South Wales caused a dramatical decrease of labour supplied in Western Australia.  Consequently, a great number of Chinese were imported as indentured labourers to make up the shortage of labour supplied.  During that period, because China was experiencing the Opium, the colony squatters found that China was a new potential labour market with no government intervention.  Thus, they began to import a lot of Chinese labourers under unequal contracts.  It is estimated that about 3500 Chinese labourers were imported during 1847-1853 (Darnell, 2004). These Chinese were ordered as commodity through the business of coolie.  Most of they came from Fujian Province and Guangdong Province under five-year contracts with modest remuneration (Ryan, 1992).  The come of these Chinese indentured servants satisfied the demand of labour in Australia so the colonies were able to have sufficient labour to continue to develop.  Moreover, the Chinese indentured labourers were assigned various jobs such as shepherd and hutkeepers, helping the settlement to exploit in various aspects.  These jobs involved brush cutting, marketing garden, irrigation, digging wells, herding sheep and farming, which contributed to opening up the colony (Fisher, 1990).  Furthermore, they brought the agricultural technique to the pristine land.  Chinese farming which was efficient, complex and dynamic as a consequence of its five-thousands-year history were brought to the settlement, aimed at intensive-labour crops.  They adapted the farming techniques to match the Australian environment rather than simply transferring their techniques, which benefited the later agriculture of Australia (Frost, 2002).

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