Asian Australian History

Chinese Miners In Australia Need To Be Seen As Heroes And Not Just Victims

In light of the upcoming release of SBS’s mini-series “New Gold Mountain” – set in the Bendigo Goldfields in 1855, focuses on the plight and the resilience of the Chinese miners at that time. We wrote on this earlier last month – please click here to check out further details on it.

What is awesome about the series is that it positively represents a part of Chinese history which has been forgotten by Australian history – obviously for racist reasons. But now it is coming out in the forefront and in many ways it pays homage to all those who came before us who showed determination and resilience in a time when things were difficult. Many young men were separated from their families in China and faced physical racial attacks, targeting and profiling.

Much of the history talks about the racism, the lynching and the riots the Chinese faced, and its time we represent them as heroes and doing things which challenge the norm. This is the aim of Corrie Chen, who directed “New Gold Mountain”. She wants

Chinese Australian textbooks to be re-written to portray Chinese miners not as victims, but as heroes.

Ms Chen says stories of Chinese miners during the Australian gold rush have long been told, but rarely from a Chinese perspective.

So when the opportunity came up to direct the historical drama, she admits it felt like a “dream come true. (via SBS Chinese)

Here is more of what she said in an interview with SBS Chinese:

The use of New Gold Mountain is obviously the direct translation of the Chinese title. I think it has a contradiction and dichotomy of feeling just enough like ‘Chinglish’, but also capturing the ambition and volatile nature of [people at] that time,

I think what was quite revealing to me, doing the research for this show, is how much everything feels exactly the same, in how the Chinese are spoken about and treated at that time, 

Even though Chinese people have been a part of Australian history since the 1800s, we are still invisible and still spoken of as if we’re a temporary group of people that are just passing through Australia for an education and leaving.

“New Gold Mountain” will premier on SBS on October 13 at 9:30pm (AEST), and will be available on SBS On Demand following the finale on October 21.

Images via SBS Chinese

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