Asian Australian History

The National Library Of Australia Is Collecting Chinese Australian Stories For History Compilations

This is an extremely great initiative in preserving Chinese Australian history. The National Library of Australia has done a call out for expressions of interests on oral history for Chinese Australians. They have a few themes which they are interested in.

  1. MIGRATION: THEN AND NOW

This focuses on the waves of migration of the Chinese diaspora from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and other parts of the world. The aim is to get the different perspectives from those who had these journeys of migration. In the 2016 census, 5.6% of Australian residents identified themselves as having Chinese ancestry. The 2016 census found that Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in Australia apart from English.

Edit mediaPortrait of Maud Nomchong of Braidwood, 1800s, nla.cat-vn2055310

2. NEWSPAPERS, A POSTER AND A PHRASE BOOK

This is all about historic documents, materials, books etc, which are marks and milestones in Chinese Australian history. An example of what this means is ( via National Library of Australia):

“We also have a rare government proclamation issued in Chinese language on the Victorian goldfields. In 1863, following a blaze at the Chinese settlement at Spring Creek, the Victorian government arranged for a proclamation to be printed in Chinese, warning of the hazards of fire. Given the rarity of Chinese language skills among the European population on the goldfield, we can be certain that an early Chinese migrant on the goldfields helped write this proclamation and warned other Chinese migrants about potential dangers that could come from fire.”

3. ORAL HISTORIES

This is all about the oral histories of Chinese Australians. Some examples they have include:

  • The story of businessman William Liu, born in 1893;
  • Interviewees include community leaders, politicians, members of the large Kwong, Chin, Fong, Yuen and Tong families and businesspeople, such as Benjamin Ming Tung Chow (real estate developer), King Moo Fong (business owner) and Ron Tong (general manager).

4. ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS

This is where organisations can submit their activities, newsletters etc, and the importance of this section is to track how the Chinese Australian community has mobilised etc. You can make your expression of interest deposits here: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA DEPOSITS

If you know someone or something which should be submitted, you can contact the National Library of Australia at select@nla.gov.au .

Images via (Header image) Edit mediaWilliam Yang, Children Helping Themselves with Desserts, 1990, nla.cat-vn1906572 and Edit mediaPortrait of Maud Nomchong of Braidwood, 1800s, nla.cat-vn2055310 via the National Library of Australia.

To check out the website, please click here: National Library of Australia

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