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Vendors and cooks

Vendors and cooks

This scene depicts the many odd jobs Chinese people performed including working as nannies, labourers, shearers and cooks

Many people of Chinese origin had difficulty finding regular work. They performed odd jobs to 'get by', including looking after European Australian children and working as shearers' cooks.

Searching for work

Many Chinese people found that to survive it was best to find the sort of temporary employment not generally wanted by European Australians. Working on stations, as household and shearers' cooks, was quite common. Before and after the gold rush, many Chinese people took on labouring jobs such as clearing the bush, fruit-picking, building, tin-mining and working on the railways.

These positions were often underpaid and did not require the ability to speak English. Anti-Chinese sentiment also made it difficult to find stable work, and many turned to begging.