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Lambing flat riots

Lambing flat riots

In this scene, Chinese miners are fleeing from European rioters who are attacking them with spades and picks

The Australian goldfields were dangerous places for the Chinese. Here, Chinese miners are fleeing from European rioters who are attacking them with spades and picks.

Violence against Chinese miners

The worst violence against Chinese miners was in central New South Wales. European diggers were incensed by the Chinese and their apparent wastage of water when extracting gold. A weak police presence was unable to contain the situation. Six anti-Chinese riots occurred at the Lambing Flat camps over a period of 10 months. The most serious riot occurred on 14 July 1861 when approximately 2000 European diggers attacked the Chinese miners. Although they tried to get away from the violent mob, about 250 Chinese miners were gravely injured and most lost all their belongings. After this tragic event, Lambing Flat was renamed Young.

The pressure of public opinion against the Chinese caused the New South Wales Government to pass the Chinese Immigration Restriction and Regulation Act in 1861 to restrict the numbers of Chinese in the colony. Queensland introduced restrictions in 1877 and Western Australia followed suit in 1886.