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Memento : Issue 22
Whether they struck it rich or not, many Chinese men stayed in Australia. Some brought their wives and children from China while others married women of European, Indigenous or Asian descent here. They settled in all corners of the country -- around the tin mines of Tasmania, in metropolitan Sydney, on remote stations in outback Queensland, and in the pearling town of Broome. After Federation in 1901, one of the first laws passed by the new nation was the Immigration Restriction Act. The Act aimed to limit the numbers of non- European migrants to the country, and brought in the infamous Dictation Test. By Federation, people of Chinese descent in Australia saw themselves as part of a white nation. Yet the Act also limited the freedom of Australian-born Chinese to travel in and out of the country. Documents held in our collection reveal how Chinese people negotiated the restrictions placed on their lives by the Immigration Restriction Act in their dealings with the government. Files containing birth certificates, baptismal certificates, photographs, school reports, personal letters and correspondence tell us of their heartaches and hardships as well as their achievements. For Chinese-Australians researching their heritage as well as those interested in Australia's multicultural past, our collection is a gold mine. Chinese gold Mrs Emma Duck and her four children Australia has been home to Chinese people since the early 1800s, becoming an even more popular destination when gold was discovered in the 1850s. Chinese men came to make their fortune, or just a living, many fleeing from their drought and war-stricken villages in southern China. NAA: A1, 1917/5576 Yong Choo Nelly Mullum Henry 14 memento january 2003