1. Themes
  2. A to Z
  • Click to view this Transcript


Disturbances with the Chinese at Bendigo
12 October 1854
Published Source
Australian National Dictionary Centre, The Gold Rushes and Australian English: a resource for researchers, teachers and students, Australian National University, 2005, http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/res/aus_words/gold/index.php. Details
This material is provided by the Australian National Dictionary Centre, a joint project of the Australian National University and Oxford University Press Australia.


  1. Click to view this transcript




DISTURBANCES WITH THE CHINESE.—From time to time there are altercations constantly arising between the Europeans and the Chinese here. It would seem that there are faults upon both sides. The Chinese are inveterate pilferers, and are constantly filching the washing-stuff of other people. They take no trouble to form waterholes for themselves, but make free with those of the other diggers, no matter at what trouble the latter have been in providing them. Besides this, by their method of working they spoil the ground, converting it into a mud lake, of which not one-half is properly wrought. They are generally impertinent, and often very exasperating. On the other hand, the Europeans are often guilty of the most scandalous outrages upon the Chinese, against whom they certainly have a very strong antipathy. This is a very undesirable state of things, and it seems difficult to provide a remedy, for the ignorance of these foreigners of our language prevents us from properly understanding their complaints and doing them justice, and at the same time often shields them from the punishment they in all probability deserve. If things go on as they do, it is by no means unlikely that there will be a very serious broil. The diggers may not be induced to adopt Mr. Denovan’s suggestion in cold blood, but when mutual injuries have been inflicted there is no telling where they may stop. Besides, to speak the truth, there is a strong feeling against the Chinese population on the part of intelligent men, who question the usefulness of these foreigners as colonists, and have strong objections to urge against them on the score of immorality. The immigration of the Chinese is likely to be a subject which will call for the interference of the Legislature. In the meantime all offences against the law and infractions of the private liberty of these foreigners should be severely punished, and those who foment the disturbances should be held responsible. Perhaps this is a fitting time for me to do justice to Mr. Denovan, upon whom, in reference to this question, I was somewhat unsparing in my strictures. A better acquaintance with him has led me to regret the tone of my remarks, though I must still contend for their general correctness. Mr. Denovan is a young man, a digger, enthusiastic in his views, and often imprudent. He is honest and straightforward however, has a good moral character, and is very much respected and liked by the diggers. On Friday a collision took place between the diggers at Iron Bark and a party of a hundred Chinese who had just arrived from Forest Creek. The diggers were averse to their locating themselves at Iron Bark, and attempted to drive them off. Three of the Chinese were brought into the hospital very much bruised, and several Europeans have been arrested. Last night there was another altercation at the White Hills between the Celestials and the diggers. The police were sent for, and the disturbance was soon quelled.