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Riverboat trade

Riverboat trade

This scene depicts various agriculture pursuits including the cultivation of rice, sugarcane and Chinese turnips. A Murray River paddle-steamer is also shown in the background

Chinese industry contributed much to the development of outback Australia. Depicted here are various agriculture pursuits including the cultivation of rice, sugarcane and Chinese turnips. In the background, a Murray River paddle-steamer can be seen.

Contributing to the development of Australia

The Chinese contributed much to the development of Australia's northern regions. They became bakers, fishermen, tailors, market gardeners and tradesmen in the construction industry. They introduced rice-growing, raised pigs, created the botanical gardens in Darwin and established a Chinatown around the Cavenagh Street area which was razed by the military in the Second World War. The Sue Wah Chin building remains as a reminder of the Chinese contribution to the early commercial life of Darwin.

The Chinese also played a large role in the development of the southern region of the continent. The Murray riverboat captain, John Egge, was a pioneer of early river navigation. In the 1840s Egge had been cabin boy to Captain Francis Cadell on his voyages in the China Seas. Later Cadell took Egge to South Australia, where he became a riverboat captain and store owner, trading along the Murray River from the 1860s to the 1890s. Egge's paddle-steamers were named the Prince Alfred and the Warrego.