State Library of South Australia

The Celestial Question: Early Chinese arrivals and settlers

Date: 7 September 2018 to 21 September 2018

Time: 1 to 2:30pm

Location: Bronwyn Halliday Learning Studio (in the Hub)

Note: Free entry, bookings essential. 2 sessions available.

Early Chinese arrivals and settlers PRG 326 4 86 6

A Live & Learn program | Be intrigued by stories and images of our Chinese heritage from our South Australian collections, be hands-on with some special collection items and visit the Mortlock and Spence Wings.

Discover the early history of the Chinese in South Australia. Mr Sang is believed to be the state's first Chinese settler. Very few followed him until gold fever struck Australia in the 1850s. To beat Victoria's poll tax, thousands of Chinese immigrants passed through South Australia, walking hundreds of miles to the gold diggings in Ballarat.

By the late 1870s there were a hundred Chinese South Australians and by Federation, almost 300, living mostly in Adelaide. Called Celestials, they worked as market gardeners, labourers, shopkeepers, carpenters, restaurateurs and herbalists. They often intermarried, raised families, went to Temple or Church, and somehow survived discrimination. Some went on to become highly successful merchants and entrepreneurs.

This program includes a close look at relevant special items from our collections and concludes with a short tour of the Library.

Image caption: Early Chinese arrivals and settlers [PRG 326/4/86/6]

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Phone: 8207 7239

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