Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Journey to the West : The Chinese in Wagga

If you could time travel, which period of Wagga's history would you travel to ? I think one of the most exciting times would have been during the 1880s, when the town had a bustling Chinese community on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, down near Hampden bridge.
Historian Sherry Morris quotes a report from 1883 on the Chinese camps ; according to this report, 233 persons lived in the main camp, and businesses included lottery houses, opium shops, and general stores.
Six European wives in the camp apparently caused a great deal of trouble through gossip and violence, to the point of the majority Chinese population signing a petition for the women to be removed from the camp
(Morris, Daily Advertiser, 2/12/95, p. 26).
Wagga City Library's local studies collection has some great resources to get you started in your research. One of these is Golden Threads: The Chinese in regional New South Wales 1850 - 1950, by Janis Wilton. There is also a website : http://hosting.collectionsaustralia.net/goldenthreads/
Local studies also holds a folder, The Chinese in Wagga Wagga, containing information collated from the Golden Threads website, material on the Chinese graves in Wagga, and news items from early Wagga newspapers and much more.
The Chinese community in Wagga Wagga have made and continue to make a significant and welcome contribution to the city.Come down to the library to discover more about the hidden history of our local area!

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