Getting on with it, living together
Detail, Chisholm Vases, circa 1890. Loaned by Mrs Norma Dalton & Family. Image by Jary Nemo.Contributors
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Copyright in photograph with Jary Nemo.
Although there was conflict, intermingling and sharing of cultures also took place on the goldfields.
Petitions and letters to newspaper show that some Europeans, at least, objected to the unfair way Chinese people were treated on the goldfields.
'The Chinese', wrote one journalist in the Argus newspaper in 1862, 'are a valuable addition to our labourers on the gold-fields.'
In regional Victoria the descendents of Donald Chisholm tell an interesting story of how his family came to own two magnificent Japanese Satsuma vases.
Chisholm opened a drapery and tobacco store in 1866 in Ararat where his business prospered off the back of the gold rush.
Ararat was founded in 1857 after Chinese walking overland to the goldfields discovered a promising lead and started a gold rush. Members of Ararat's Chinese community remained living there up to the early 20th century.
Family legend has it that the vases were given to Donald by Chinese miners returning to China as a 'thank you' for the assistance he had given them in hard times, particularly by providing credit in his store when none was available to them elsewhere in town.