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Anti-Chinese violence

Anti-Chinese violence

This scene shows Europeans massing to attack the Chinese miners

Rioting and violence were common on the goldfields. Here we see Europeans massing to attack the Chinese miners.

Riots against the Chinese miners

Chinese miners in Australia were generally peaceful and industrious but other miners distrusted their different customs and traditions, and their habits of opium smoking and gambling. Animosity, fuelled by resentment and wild rumours, led to riots against the Chinese miners.

Legislation was passed which translated anti-Chinese sentiments into law. In Victoria, An Act to Make Provision for Certain Immigrants was passed in 1855. Specific taxes were levied by the Victorian Government against the Chinese for residence on the goldfields and for entry by land or sea. A capitation (poll-tax) of £10 was imposed on each Chinese person to arrive by sea at Victorian ports. To avoid these fees, vessels would land at Port Adelaide and later at Guichen Bay (Robe) in South Australia. Chinese passengers were then led overland across the border to the Victorian goldfields.

In 1857 there was an outbreak of violence against the Chinese at Buckland River in Victoria. The move to form anti-Chinese leagues spread to other Victorian goldfields and New South Wales.