Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The sketch by our artist, represents the arrival of a batch of Chinese immigrants, gives a graphic impression of a scene which, since it has become a matter of such frequent occurrence, has long ceased to be a novelty to colonial residents. Some years ago, and more especially during the height of the gold fever,the Chinese element constituted a pretty, large item of the colonial population, there being then between 40,000 and 60,000 of them who had found their way to Victoria, attracted hither by the same cause as led to such an extensive immigration from various parts of Europe. The subsequent reaction, however, tended to check the streamcof immigration from China, as it did that from other sources, and the
Chinese population in the colony is now estimated at from 20,000 to 25,000. The district of Kwung Tong seems to be the source of supply, and they arrive in the colony at the rate of about 2000 per annum. The majority of them pay their own passage to the colony, and with regard to those who are not in a position to do so, an arrangement is effected with merchants and shippers by which the cost of thoir introduction into the colony is defrayed out of their earnings en the gold-fields, or by what ever means a livelihood is obtained. The residents in the metropolis, exclusive of those finding employment in the Bay as fishermen, number about 200. It will thus be seen that by far the greater number is absorbed by tho gold-fields, which afford a lucrative employment. In addition to gold digging, at which, from their patient plodding, habits, the Chinese are remarkably successful; a considerable number of them are engaged in agricultural and horticultural pur suits, some of them having taken up land under the 42nd clause' of the Amending Land Act, which they have turned to good account.In addition to miners and market-gardeners, a number obtain a livelihood as hawkers of all sorts of conceivable commodities. The expense of living among thorn is small compared with that even of the poorer class of Europeans, being commonly rather under than above £80 per annum for eaoh adult ; not that a Chinaman is indifferent to the value of good living and display, for with prosperity comes a change, and the food of which European would rather not think, i« discarded for pork, game,poultry, while the outward person is adorned with a display of jewellery and trink«t a which are not nilsham. There is no recognised medium of exchange, between the residents in the colony and China. On returning home they carry the gold with them. The mercantile portion remit gold or sovereigns ; so that the only exchange is by drafts on account of shipments. During the last eighteen months the immigration from China to Victoria has greatly increased ; and from advices lately received we are warranted in believing that it is likely to do so for some time.

Looking at the matter from a moral point of view, it is questionable whether on addition to the Chinese population of the colony be desirable. It is undeniable that their residence amongst us has tended to the increase of crime, and that, too, of a nature which more than any other ends to weaken the moral tone of a country, and is sure to lead to the physical deterioration of races.
The Australian News for Home Readers Thursday 20 September 1866

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