Getting Chinese Gold off the Victorian Goldfields

Nicholas Guoth, Paul Macgregor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The discovery of gold in Victoria, Australia, in 1851 drew prospective miners from throughout the world to try their luck at the new diggings. One group were Chinese who came mostly from the villages of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. The Chinese in Victoria were both a transient and resident population. For the Chinese miners, the gold they won was either returned by them to their villages in China, for them by others to the same destinations, or used to pay for goods on the goldfields. Much of these goods were imported from China via Hong Kong, so payment for them was another way in which Chinese-won gold in Victoria was remitted to China. This article investigates the mechanisms for the flow of gold by and for the Chinese in Australia. From the Chinese diggings to Melbourne and thence to China, the transmission of gold involved a complex process that included numerous individuals and firms, both Chinese and European. The article interprets a combination of banking and government records, shipping and commercial intelligence in newspapers, and archives relating to various Chinese and European merchants, to map this movement of gold found by the Chinese on the goldfields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-150
    JournalChinese Southern Diaspora Studies
    Volume8
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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