Red Tape Gold Scissors: The Story of Sydney's Chinese

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 248 pages
Author: S. Fitzgerald
Year: 2008
ISBN: 9781920831615
Other: b&w & colour photos, sketches, appendix, index
Publisher: Halstead Press

One of the few free settlers attracted to Australia in 1818 was Mak Sai Ying, who has descendants living in Sydney today. He brought land, married, and took up a pub licence. Since then Chinese people have had a colourful and conspicuous place in Australia's oldest city. The exotic spectacle of Chinese festivities drew crowds of other races. But it was by providing plainer things such as fruit, vegetables and furniture, that the Chinese came into the domestic lives of the general population.

Success in work and commerce made them a target of business jealousy, racist agitation in the labour movement, and discriminatory measures including the White Australia Policy.

In their newspapers, Chinese speakers and English speakers sneer at each other's racial inferiority. At the same time some white Australians and Chinese Australians earnt mutual respect. Quong Tart, with his celebrated chain of tea rooms, was a favourite Sydney character. Inspector General of Police, Edmund Fosbery, preferred common sense to prejudiced stereotypes.

Shirley Fitzgerald's popular and scholarly book traces the feats and fortunes of Australia's largest Chinese community; the highs and lows, the endless comings and going, commerce, primary production, culture, religion and politics.

Part 1. Coming and Going
 - Approaches
 - Ports of Call
 - Sandalwood and Silk: The Traders
 - Tentative Travellers
 - Workers for the Colony
 - Slow Boats from China
 - News of Gold
 - Nervous Twitches in the Town
 - The Men of the 'Glamis Castle'
 - Who Paid the Ferryman?
 - An Umbrella Against the Deluge
 - Tightening the Screws
 - Slipping Through the System
 - Twists and Turns
 - All in the Game
 - Closed Doors
 - Turning the Tide
 - Shipping out the Gold
 - Deconstructing White Australia
 - Shifting Sands
 - Last Journeys
Part 2. Staying
 - On Cockatoo Island
 - Guests of the Government
 - Settling In and Spreading Out 
 - A Little Confusion
 - The Royal Commission
 - The Commission Visits The Rocks
 - Violence in the Streets
 - The Furniture Makers
 - Richer and Poorer
 - The Haymarket
 - The Market Gardeners
 - Taking on the Bureaucracy
 - The Christian Missions
 - Presbyterians and Anglicans
 - Resistance and Accommodation
 - A Changing Mission
 - Federation Style Meets Feng Shui
 - The Eyes of the Beholders
 - Preoccupations With China
 - The Yee Hings and the Chinese Masonics
 - The Kuomintang Moves House
 - Australian Security Stirs the Pot
 - Socialising and Solitude
 - Rents, Rates and Rascals
 - Relocating Chinatown
 - The Men from Customs Stage a Raid
 - More Preoccupations: Japan and 'White China'
 - No Cracks in the Wall
 - Unity, the Unions and the CYL
 - The Sesquicentenary
 - Into World War II
 - Preoccupied Again: The People's Republic
 - Repudiation: Severing the Links
 - Investing in Sydney
 - The Community Gathers Strength
 - A Place in the City
 - Today's Chinatown
 - To Sail, To Stop
Part 3. Voices
 - Remembering the Chinese
 - Speaking on the Record
 - Cultural Complexities
 - Clans, Tongs and Villages
 - Old Men
 - Grandmothers, Mothers and Aunts
 - Glimpses of Childhood
 - Thoughts on 'Home'
 - Neither One nor the Other
 - Making It
 - Life at the Top
 - A Political Life
 - On Being a Mandarin
 - Beyond Chinese

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Red Tape Gold Scissors: The Story of Sydney's Chinese

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