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Market gardens and musicians

Market gardens and musicians

On the right of this scene, workers are tending a Chinese market garden; in the centre, musicians are playing traditional Chinese instruments and on the left, fresh produce is being sold

On the right of this scene, workers are tending a Chinese market garden; on the left, fresh produce is being sold and in the centre, musicians are playing traditional Chinese instruments.

Chinese primary producers

Between 1900 and 1914 a large number of Chinese people in eastern Australia were primary producers. Market gardens were concentrated in and around the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Perth. In 1901, there were 799 Chinese storekeepers in New South Wales, more than half of whom operated in the Sydney area, usually as greengrocers. Chinese market gardens provided a comfortable return to their owner-operators for the investment of hard work and knowledge attained over thousands of years.

Market gardeners mostly sold their fresh produce at the large fruit and vegetable markets. Venues included the Victoria markets in Melbourne and the Belmore markets in Sydney. The suppliers weren't, however, limited to these large markets and many set up stores in the suburbs and country towns that surround the major cities, or sold their produce door to door.