Sydney’s Chinese Ghosts: the NSW Royal Commission into Alleged Chinese Gambling and Immorality 1891
The Rare Books Library at the University of Sydney holds a copy of the 1891 NSW Royal Commission into Alleged Chinese Gambling and Immorality, a rare and valuable document which invites us to view life in 19th century Sydney through Chinese eyes. The stated aim of the commission – as Shirley Fitzgerald explains - ‘was to establish the extent of bribery and extortion within the Chinese gambling community, and between gambling syndicates and the police.’ Ostensibly a tool of the state to enact surveillance on Chinese urban life at a time of heightened anti-Chinese xenophobia in the city, Sophie invites us to read the Commission against the grain, excavating the Chinese lives evidenced in its pages. What can the Commission tell us about Sydney’s Chinese ghosts?
Speaker: Sophie Loy-Wilson is a lecturer in Australian history at the University of Sydney. She is the recipient of an ARC DECRA Grant for her project Chinese Business: social and economic survival in white Australia, 1870-1940.
Please note – this lecture is being videoed and the video will be available on the Library’s YouTube channel.