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Multicultural heritage: Chinese in South Australia 1850s-1914

This guide shows the wealth of information available about Chinese, Scottish and German people in early South Australian history.

Newspaper articles

To find further South Australian newspapers articles between 1837 and 1954 see the Manning Index of South Australian History and the Trove database


8 May 1888

p.6 cols. E, F. 'Australia's attitude towards the Chinese immigration.' Lecture at the Adelaide Town Hall: meeting of the Australian National Union.

p.6 cols. F, G. 'Chinese passengers on board the Menmuir.' Protest against the landing of Chinese.

15 May 1888, p.6 col. F. 'The Chinese question.' Letters to the Editor.

19 May 1888, p.4 col. G. 'The situation in respect of the Chinese question is becoming increasingly difficult.'

31 May 1888

p.6 col. B. 'The Chinese question': Sir W.W. Cairns on the subject.

p.6 cols. B, C. 'Deputation from the Ministerial Association.' 'This Ministerial Association deprecates the hasty action now being taken against Chinese people immigrating to these colonies, and is grieved at the tone of language used towards them by many Australian colonists.'

2 June 1888, p.7 col. B. 'Meeting of the Workingmen's Association.' Special meeting of the Port Adelaide Workingmen's Association was held to consider the Chinese question. Motion carried: 'That no member of this Association be allowed to deal with the Chinese.'

4 June 1888

p.6 col. A. 'The Rev. W. Gray on the Chinese question.'

p.6 cols. C, D. 'The Chinese question: A letter to a clergyman by the Hon. Dr. Campbell, M.L.C.'

5 June 1888, p.5 col. D. 'Mr Way Lee on the Chinese question.' Letter to the editor.

13 June 1888

p.5 cols. F, G. 'Chinese Conference.' Meeting of the delegates. SA delegates: T. Playford and C.C. Kingston.

p.5 col. G. 'The first meeting.' (Intercolonial Conference on 'Chinese question')

14 June 1888, p.5 cols. E-G. 'The Chinese Conference: the second day.'

15 June 1888

p.4 cols. E, F. 'Editorial: Intercolonial Conference on the Chinese question.'

p.5 cols. E-G. 'The Chinese Conference: conclusion of the sittings.' Abolition of the Poll Tax. Draft of the Chinese Bill.

27 November 1900, p.7 col. B. 'The Chinese and Australia: a Chinaman's views.'

27 December 1983, p.3. 'Coorong 'dig' unearthing wealth of S.A's goldrush history.'

8 April 1989, p.8. 'Harvesting fruit of Chinese endurance.'

26 January 1994, p.30. 'Chinese New Year. Gold started the rush.'

The Bunyip

7 June 1881, p.2 col. A. 'Chinese immigration.'


4 April 1863, p.2 col. F. 'Guichen Bay.' The unexpected arrival of the ship Independence from China, with 123 celestial emigrants.

19 May 1888, p.4 col. G. 'The Chinese question.'

21 November 1946, p.12. 'Robe saw S.A's Oriental invasion.'

Christian colonist

19 February 1886, p.5. 'The Chinese class.'

Garden and field

1 May 1878, p.183 cols. A-C; p.184 col. A. 'Some suburban gardens': John Chinaman, in Norwood.

Kapunda Herald

21 January 1879, p.2 cols. F, G. 'The Chinese question.'

Labour advocate

5 January 1878, p.4 col. D. 'The introduction of Chinese labour.' Port Augusta Railway contractors to employ Chinese labour.

16 February 1878, p.4 cols. B-D. 'Immigration.' Support for poll tax to be paid by Chinese


12 April 1856, p.3 col. C. 'A caravan.' Description of a Chinese caravan leaving Adelaide for the Victorian goldfields.

21 June 1856, supp. p.3 col. G. 'Chinese fracas at Glen Osmond.'

7 February 1857, p.8 col. B. 'Robe Town.' Chinese arrivals in Robe.

16 May 1857

p.1 col. F. supplement. 'The influx of Chinese.' Letters to the editor.

p.5 col. G. 'Chinese immigration.'

p.6 col. F. 'The Chinese immigration.'

7 December 1878, p.6 col. F. 'The Chinese question.' Meeting at Port Adelaide.

21 December 1878, p.11 cols. E, F. 'The Chinese question.' Meeting at Port Adelaide, mainly of members of Seamen's Union and Working Men's Association.

5 June 1880, p.21 col. E. 'Chinese as colonists.'

31 July 1880

p.24 col. A-D. 'Chinese Immigration Bill.' 

p.30 col. D. 'Anti-Chinese meeting.'

7 August 1880

p.21 cols. A-E. 'The Chinese question.'

p.25 cols.B, C. 'The Chinese Immigration Bill.'

11 September 1880, p.36 cols. B, C. 'The Chinese at home and abroad.' Lecture on the Chinese.

25 September 1880

p.27 col. C. 'Chinese Immigration Bill thrown out by an overwhelming majority in the Legislative Council.'

p.31 cols. D, E; p.32 col. A. 'Lecture on the Chinese.'

18 June 1881

p.25, col. E. 'Chinese and legislation in the colonies'

p.26, col. D. 'Parliamentary notes: the Chinese Immigration Bill.'

30 July 1881, p.10 cols. C, D. 'Gardens in the North: Chinaman's garden, Laura.'

13 August 1881, p.25 col. C. 'Chinese Immigration Bill.'

3 Dec 1887, p.25 cols. C, D. 'The Anti-Chinese meeting.'

14 April 1888, p.25 cols. B, C. 'The Chinese in Australia.'

5 May 1888, p.24 col.E; p.25 col. A. 'The Chinese question.'

12 May 1888, p.29 col. E. 'Mr Way Lee and Chinese immigration.'

16 June 1888, p.24 cols. D, E; p.25 col. A. 'The Chinese Conference.'

30 June 1888, p.25, cols. A-C. 'The Chinese Conference and Bill.' Attempt to establish uniform legislation in colonies to restrict influx of Chinese.

7 July 1888, p.29 cols. D, E; p.30 col.A. 'The Chinese Bill.'

25 August 1888, p.25 col. E; p.26 col. A. 'The Chinese Restriction Bill.'

22 September 1888, p.25 cols. B, C. 'The Chinese Bill.'

11 May 1889, p.25 cols. B, C. 'The Chinese in Australia.'

14 March 1896, p.30 cols. B, C. 'The Premiers' Conference: interview with Mr Kingston.' "They emphatically declared for preserving Australia as a white man's their unanimous agreement to a resolution that the provisions of the Chinese Immigration Restriction Act should be extended to all coloured races."

21 May 1898, p.42 cols. D, E. 'A Chinese leper found in Hindley-Street: removed to quarantine.'

11 June 1898, p.13 cols. D. 'The hard case of Ah Sung Wah Lee.' A poem.

Port Adelaide News

7 December 1878, p.2 cols. B, C. 'The Chinese question.' A meeting in Town Hall, Port Adelaide.

21 December 1878, p.5 cols. B, C. 'The Provincial Press on the Chinese question.'

Port Augusta Dispatch

5 January 1878, p.4 cols. A-D. 'Chinese labor.'

14 December 1878, p. 4 col. B. 'A meeting on the question of restricting Chinese immigration.'

10 January 1879, p.5 col. B. 'The Chinese.' A letter to the Editor.

23 July 1880, p.3 col. D. 'Chinese Immigrant Regulation Act.'


17 April 1847, p.2 col. A. 'Legislative Council.' Captain Bagot felt certain that the introduction of the Chinese was a subject of great importance to the colony.

4 September 1852, p.3 cols. B, C. 'Legislative Council.' Discussion about importation of Chinese and Indian labour to the colony.

6 May 1857, p.3 col. G. 'Chinese immigration.' Letter to the editor.

13 May 1857, p.2 col. D. 'Chinese immigration.' Statistics for 17 January to 3 May 1857: 10,154 Chinese.

14 May 1857, p.3 col. C. 'Chinese immigration.' Letter to the editor.

2 June 1857, p.2 cols. C, D. 'The Chinese immigration.'

24 September 1880, p.5 col. D. 'The Chinese on the Port Augusta Railway.' A report from Mr R.C. Patterson, the Chief Assistant Engineer.

8 November 1900, p.5 cols. G, H. 'From a Chinaman's point of view.' By Y.S.W. Way Lee; includes 'How South Australia acts.'

Newspapers articles online

You can read digitised newspaper articles about the Chinese in South Australia online through the National Library of Australia's Trove database

Research notes

Books and pamphlets

Periodical articles

Archival resources

Other resources

Acts of the Parliament of South Australia

No. 3 1857. An Act to make provision for levying a charge on Chinese arriving in South Australia.

No. 14 1861. An Act to repeal an Act, No. 3 of 1857-8, entitled. 'An Act to make provision for levying a charge on Chinese arriving in South Australia.'

No. 213 1881. The Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act.

No. 439 1888. Chinese Immigration Restriction Act.

No. 474 1889. An Act to amend the 'Chinese Immigration Restriction Act, 1888.'

No. 494 1890. An Act to further amend the 'Chinese Immigration Restriction Act, 1888.'

No. 534 1891. An Act to continue the 'Chinese Immigration Restriction Act, 1888.'

No. 672 1896. 'The Coloured Immigration Restriction Act.'

Acts of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia no. 17 1901. 'Immigration Restriction Act.'

Parliamentary Papers, South Australia

No. 30. 1857-58. Chinese emigration. Correspondence relative to the conveyance of Chinese immigrants into Victoria by steamers, via the River Murray.

No. 173 1861. Petition against Chinese Immigration Tax. on behalf of South Australian Chamber of Commerce.

No. 198 1861. Petition against Chinese Immigration. 146 signatures from residents in the City of Adelaide and vicinity.

No. 156 1880. Chinese in Australasian colonies.

No. 28 1881. Intercolonial Conference Sydney, January 1881. Appendix A: South Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania agree to a Bill copied from the Queensland Act 'to regulate the immigration of Chinese and to make provision against their becoming a charge upon the colony.'

No. 52 1888. Conference on Chinese question. Proceedings of the Conference held in Sydney in 1888.

No. 55 1888. Petition against Chinese Immigration Restriction Bill. from 118 European and Chinese residents of South Australia.

No. 128 1891. Petition re Chinese Immigration. from Y.S.W. Way Lee, on behalf of Chinese in South Australia.

No. 142 1891. Petition re Chinese Immigration. from Y.S.W. Way Lee, on behalf of Chinese in South Australia