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Rioting and violence were common on Australian goldfields. Here, Chinese miners are depicted fleeing from attackers.

Stitched panels of the Harvest of Endurance scroll featuring ‘Anti-Chinese violence’ and ‘Lambing flat riots’.

Violence against Chinese miners

Central New South Wales was the scene of some of the worst violence against Chinese miners. European diggers feared economic competition and misunderstood Chinese mining methods and cultural practices.

As frustration grew, attacks on the Chinese miners increased. A weak police presence was unable to contain the situation. Several anti-Chinese riots occurred at the Lambing Flat camps (around the present-day town of Young) over a period of 10 months, between 1860 and 1861.

One of the most serious riots occurred on 30 June 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. Some Chinese miners later petitioned the colonial government for compensation.

In November 1861 the New South Wales Government passed the Chinese Immigrants Regulation and Restriction Act to restrict the numbers of Chinese in the colony.

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