ACIAC Chinese Australian History Seminar Series (Lecture 3)

Merchants and the Qing (1881 to 1911)

Michael smeinar 3 web


Date: Wednesday, 12 August, 2020

Time: 4.00 - 5.00 pm AEST

Live webinar via ZOOM

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


In this period white Australians steadily define Australia in ways that limit the presence and participation of people from China. Nevertheless this is also the period when Chinese Australian merchants build domestic and international trading networks that will make some of them extremely wealthy. At the same time Chinese workers are increasingly resented by white workers and this, combined with growing white nationalism, leads to the Dictation Test and an effort to restrict the entry of all Chinese people among other non-whites into the new Commonwealth. But it is the politics of the reform and the overthrow of the Qing Empire that sees an increasing sense of “Chineseness” that also greatly influences the Chinese in Australia and elsewhere in what is increasingly seen to be the “Overseas Chinese” community.

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 Adjunct Professor of the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture 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 [Watch Online (opens in a new window)]
  • 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