Destinations and dates for migrations of the Chinese Gold Seekers British Columbia1880s 25,0000 California 1882 80,0000 The Rocky Mt States 1882 15,0000 Northern Territory 1880 - 81 4,0001880s 25,0000 Queensland 1877 17,000 New South Wales 1862 42,000 Transvaal South Africa 1894 from North China. 1700 from Canton 1880s 25,0000 Western Australia 1910 - 11 2,0001880s 25,0000 New Zealand 1874 – 1881 5,0001880s 25,0000 Victoria 1858 42,0001880s 25,0000
Living Apart – Chinese miners’ village Arrowtown When the Chinese arrived here, they received a very hostile reception from the European miners. They were segregated to live in their own Chinese camps. Views of Ah Lum’s store today. It would have sold a wide variety of imported Chinese foods.
Living Apart – Chinese miners’ village Arrowtown 2 Two of the cottages in the Arrowtown Chinese area. The cottages were surrounded by extensive gardens and were a close-knit community. Inside one of the cottages showing door and fireplace.
Living Apart – Chinese miners’ village Arrowtown 3 Many Chinese miners would make a comfortable home of a cave. This house is one of those that can be visited in the Arrowtown Chinese village.
The early Chinese who remained Many Chinese were never able to return to China as they hoped and are buried as they had lived in many segregated cemeteries throughout Otago. Because of segregation, Chinese were not allowed to be buried in the conventional cemeteries unless they had done deeds that were favourably seen by the locals. Lawrence Cemetery Wasteland outside the cemetery boundary was given to the Chinese for a fee. Cromwell Cemetery
Moving to the cities As gold gradually became scarce, many Chinese returned to China or moved to the cities. From 1877, or thereabouts, a special area of Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery was set aside for Chinese burials.
Location of Chinese Graves Southern Cemetery Kum Poy Block 26P Plot 13Also Memorial to Choie Sew Hoy (Charles) 3 Mun Goon Block 114 6 6 6 2 Yuet Sheer Long Block 114 5 4 1 3 2 2 Pong One Kay Block 12A Plot 11 5 4 1 Ing Ah Yeaw Block 12A Plot 11 Chinese Section Blocks, X, 114 and 115
Reading Chinese Headstones Both the county and village are often recorded for place of birth. 1 Date of Death 2 These stones shows the age (lonegevity). Some stones show birth year here. 3 1 The central characters offer information about the deceased. 4 4 3 1 4 2 Right: Mun Goon was born in Poon Yue County Tai Bol Village. He was 65 years of age when he died. His headstone was badly damaged and has recently been replaced. 2 3
Reading Yuet Sheer Long’s Headstone 1 The central characters offer information about the deceased. 4 Surname or family name – YUET 4 First given name Sheer Second given name Long Character for ‘elder’ Character is like the English ‘s’. Means ‘belongs to’ Character for ‘Gravestone’ If you read from the bottom up the characters tell us that the “Gravestone belongs to elder Long Sheer YUET”
Reading Yuet Sheer Long’s Headstone 2 These characters show the age or (lonegevity). Date of Death – These are lunar dates. 3 2 3 2 510 Aged 566Age 8 Month ( 14th) 104DayDied Year of the rabbit. (Died 1903)
Burials Chinese prefer to be buried on high ground overlooking the sea or water and ideally facing east. The belief was that the spirit was free to greet the morning sun and to roam the heavens till dusk. The headstone is placed at the head end of the grave. The feet of the deceased point towards the water. Chinese burials are different to European burials as shown in the diagram to the right. If at all possible, shelter from the harsh afternoon sun was desirable. This could be from trees or an embankment.
Restored Headstones Southern Cemetery Dunedin Many headstones in the Chinese portion have been badly damaged. The headstones are significant. They are often the only information we have about a particular individual. In 2002 the New Zealand Government officially apologised to the Chinese for the suffering caused by the poll tax. The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust allocated $25,000 to begin the restoration of the site and the neglected and vandalised Chinese headstones in the Southern Cemetery.
Restored headstones Anderson’s Bay Cemetery These are in what was once waste-land, but is historically significant today. The headstones are at the head end of the coffin. Unfortunately, the view of the sea is obstructed by a small hill. The significance of restoring these headstones was that they belonged to elderly miners, labourers and market gardeners from 1920 to 1950. They were the lost generation that linked the goldfields to the community of today. 48 broken stones were found in the overgrown rubble and the project took 6 years to restore.
Burials today Chinese burials now occur in mainstream cemetery plots among Europeans. These headstone pictured are on elevated ground and face the sea. It is still rare to find Chinese burials on the rows backing this stone with the feet pointing away from the sea. As time moves on and the later generations become less aware of the traditional customs, Chinese burials will become just another burial without any thought of the spiritual wellbeing of the departed.