2022 Chinese Australian History Online Seminar Session 3: Anti-Opium Legislation and Aboriginal ‘Protection’ in the Chinese Australian Newspapers (1894-1900)

The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 in Queensland has been recognised as one of most stringent policies imposed upon Aboriginal people. Under the 1897 act, any person who supplied opium to an Aboriginal person for non-medicinal consumption was guilty of an offence. There was no provision specifically against Chinese. But as a matter of fact, the Act effectively tied the restrictions of Aboriginal people with anti-Chinese sentiment. Consequently, the control of opium and the ‘protection’ of Aboriginal people received considerable attention within the Chinese Australian community. How did the Chinese respond to settler colonial governance in relation to anti-opium legislation? How did Chinese migrants view Aboriginal dispossession and ‘protection’ under British colonisation? This lecture will use Chinese Australian newspapers published during the late 1890s to bring to light Chinese migrants’ perspectives on the practices of Aboriginal protection invoked in the legislation’s title, and to delineate a distinctly Chinese approach to settler colonial governance prior to federation.

Date:  Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Time: 4pm-5pm  (Sydney time)

Dr Xu Daozhi is currently a research fellow in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, LanguagXu Daozi Bioe, and Literature at Macquarie University. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, Indigenous literature, Asian Australian literature, race and ethnicity, and settler colonialism. She is the author of Indigenous Cultural Capital: Postcolonial Narratives in Australian Children’s Literature (2018), and has published in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Australian Historical Studies, Journal of Australian Studies, Australian Aboriginal Studies, JASAL, Antipodes, etc.