North Queensland's Chinese family landscape: 1860-1920

Robb, Sandi (2019) North Queensland's Chinese family landscape: 1860-1920. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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This thesis outlines the Chinese Family Landscape, which developed across North Queensland in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It specifically focuses on women and the role that women and family played in the Chinese Diaspora, and the contribution they made to longevity and renewal of settlements such as Chinatowns, precincts and String Communities. This thesis is set within the framework of the historical pattern of settlement across the colony of Queensland, with a focus on North Queensland. It is firmly embedded in the broader global Chinese Diaspora, and confirms the importance of established links between destination countries and the ancestral village, China. By statistically and geographically mapping the presence of women as wives, lovers and friends of Chinese men across North Queensland, new understandings and interpretations of Queensland's Chinese experience have emerged. This indicates that a gender integrated approach to Chinese settlement patterns is important as a means to understand urban and social development of colonial Chinese settlements.

A female presence in the Chinese settlement experience led to generational renewal of Chinatown's, and establishment of an Australian born, intergenerational Chinese presence within the Australian community. The politics of the private sphere, highlighted by a female approach to domestic affairs emerged through the application of "soft economics", which played out from an increase in male status due to the presence of a wife, to the strategic formation of companies via the marriage of Australian born sons and daughters. The presence of women in the community enabled the network of translocal and transnational kinship and family linkages to establish and grow but more importantly, enabled a Chinese presence to take root and prosper in a foreign land. The river of money and ideas, which flowed back to the village in China, from families moving between the two worlds, impacted on those who remained in the ancestral village in ways which are only just beginning to be understood in Queensland.

Woman's participation in community formation, renewal and longevity emerges as an essential element in the North Queensland Chinese settlement experience and challenges the long held popular narrative of a single male gold-seeking sojourner, who was confined to the Palmer River Goldfields. A holistic approach to a gender integrated narrative should be included in future investigations with North Queensland's Chinese Family Landscape providing a starting point for this process.

Item ID: 63076
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: North Queensland, Chinese, migration, Chinese Diaspora, settlement, Chinese men, Chinese women, marriages, wives, Aboriginal Australians, colonies, Chinatown
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Sandi Robb.
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 02:54
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210302 Asian History @ 35%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 35%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200211 Postcolonial Studies @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
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