ACIAC Chinese Australian History Seminar Series (Lecture 2)

From Gold to Artisans 1851 to 1881

Michael seminar 2


Date: Friday, 3 July, 2020

Time: 2.00 - 3.00 pm AEST

Live webinar via ZOOM

RSVP Essential. Please RSVP HERE to receive your webinar link.


The gold rush period of Australian history looms large for many reasons, not least because it brought among many others the largest group of non-British arrivals to the Australian’s colonies – the Chinese. Since that time the Chinese as goldminers and the associated restrictions and events such as the Lambing Flat riots have dominated popular histories almost to the exclusion of anything else. Here the “anything else” – which ranges from home villages to opera and from bank notes to tin mining and much in between – will be discussed in order to add much needed context to this gold dominated history. As in the previous lectures much consideration is also given to the reflective nature of history and it is hoped to consider why so much has been whitewashed from this history and what modern perspectives are striving to add back in.

Biographymichael headshot image

Dr Michael Williams is a graduate of Hong Kong University, a scholar of Chinese-Australian history and a founding member of the Chinese-Australian Historical Society. He is the author of Returning Home with Glory (HKU Press, 2018), which traces the history of peoples from south China’s Pearl River Delta around the Pacific Ports of Sydney, Hawaii and San Francisco. Michael has taught at Beijing Foreign Studies and Peking Universities and is currently an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University. His current research includes the Dictation Test, early Chinese Opera in Australia and a history of the Chinese in Australia.

Seminar Series

  • Background: Mirroring the Past      [Watch Online (opens in a new window)]
  • Before there was gold                     pre-1788 to 1851   [Watch Online (opens in a new window)]
  • From gold to artisans                        1851 to 1881
  • Merchants and the Qing                    1881 to 1911
  • A white Australia tested                     1911 to 1936
  • Wars and Revolutions                        1936 to 1972
  • One (multicultural) Nation                  1972 to 2020