Thursday, September 07, 2006

Forgotten Faces: Chinese and the Law

Forgotten Faces: Chinese and the Law at Public Record Office Victoria. "...These superb photographs of Chinese prisoners are portraits of some of the tens of thousands of Chinese who came in the nineteenth century to the Victorian goldfields, a place they called Hsin Chin Shan (New Gold Mountain).
The Chinese left behind harsh conditions at home and usually the Chinee lodges helped to fund their sea voyage to Australia. Many died on the way. The lives and struggles of those who survivied in the strange new land have also been largely forgotten. The majority of the Chinese diggers wanted to return to their families. By 1901 fewer than 8,000 Chinese remained in Victoria.
A very small proportion of the Chinese immigrants committed crimes and were imprisoned. The prison registers and photographs offer a fascinating and rare glimpse into their lives. These and other records held by Public Record Office Victoria give us an insight into their personal, economic and social circumstances."


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