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Hidden dragons : the archaeology of mid to late nineteenth-century Chinese communities in southeastern New South Wales

Smith, Lindsay Maxwell

Description

Alluvial mining for gold was from fi rst to last the almost sole cause of attraction for Chinese immigrants in the Australian Colonies during the mid to late nineteenth-century. The primary goal that drew thousands of predominantly Cantonese speaking Chinese to the goldfields during that time was the fulfilment of group duty rather than the pursuit of individual success. Gold was a means to fulfil the social responsibilities of filial piety, to pay homage to one's ancestors, glorify the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorSmith, Lindsay Maxwell
dc.date.accessioned2016-11-09T02:14:21Z
dc.date.available2016-11-09T02:14:21Z
dc.date.copyright2006
dc.identifier.otherb2281043
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/110194
dc.description.abstractAlluvial mining for gold was from fi rst to last the almost sole cause of attraction for Chinese immigrants in the Australian Colonies during the mid to late nineteenth-century. The primary goal that drew thousands of predominantly Cantonese speaking Chinese to the goldfields during that time was the fulfilment of group duty rather than the pursuit of individual success. Gold was a means to fulfil the social responsibilities of filial piety, to pay homage to one's ancestors, glorify the lineage and elevate the status of the family. Initial arrivals in Australia, and NSW, in the 1850s and 1860s were extremely well organised through group employment arrangements, usually under the direction of a 'headman'. During those years, large groups, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, traversed the land to newly discovered goldfields. On their arrival at a new location with their limited possessions, such groups established temporary tent camps, and new arrivals were naturally attracted to existing settlements. As the Chinese population became settled their calico tents were abandoned in favour of more durable huts, usually made from local material. Those settlements functioned as homogenous and segregated communities, with many persisting as permanent villages for up to 40 years, albeit in an ever-diminishing capacity, until the end of the nineteenth-century. Although almost ignored by history and lost to memory, these now largely hidden Chinese goldfield settlements tenaciously endure in the rural Australian landscape as evidence of the resilient community structure of the world's longest continuous civilisation. Archaeological investigations have allowed this structure to be seen in the physical and symbolic characteristics of several of those settlements in southeastern NSW, in their locations across the landscape, their composition and in their material culture remains. This thesis is the first to investigate and combine all of the elements that comprised mid to late nineteenth-century overseas Chinese settlements in rural Australian locations, and to compare them with each other at regional, national and international levels. It contends that such settlements in rural southeastern NSW conformed to a highly codified hierarchical pattern of community organisation in both a physical and perceived landscape. It asserts that the physical landscape was imprinted with traditional material elements of Chinese community organisation and the perceived landscape was imbued by its occupants with the symbolic animistic elements of Chinese culture, including dragons, which were seen as integral to the welfare of such communities. This hierarchical pattern of community organisation, it is argued, was not only repeated throughout the study area and at similar mid to late nineteenth-century Chinese settlements elsewhere in Australia and overseas, but was also distinct and separate from contemporary British-based rural settlements. The establishment of such settlements in the 1850s and 1860s, their consolidation during the 1870s and 1880s, and their gradual demise, with the resultant movement of remnant Chinese communities into the predominant British settlement infrastructure of rural southeastern NSW towards the end of the nineteenth-century is also evident in the archaeological record.
dc.format.extent2 v.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subject.lccDU122.C5S65 2006
dc.subject.lcshExcavations (Archaeology) Australia New South Wales
dc.subject.lcshChinese HistoryAustralia New South Wales
dc.subject.lcshEthnoarchaeology Australia New South Wales
dc.subject.lcshGold mines and mining HistoryAustralia New South Wales
dc.titleHidden dragons : the archaeology of mid to late nineteenth-century Chinese communities in southeastern New South Wales
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorFarrington, Ian
dcterms.valid2006
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2006-06
local.contributor.affiliationSchool of Archaeology and Anthropology
dc.date.updated2016-11-01T00:09:36Z
dc.description.tableofcontents[v. 1]. Text -- [v. 2]. Appendices
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