Marriage and Romance
Unknown photographer, Mrs Gertrude Ah Tie, Bendigo, circa 1890.Contributors
Out of respect for the living descendants of this family, please contact the Golden Dragon Museum if you wish to use this image.Copyright
Out of Copyright
Despite anti-Chinese sentiment from some quarters, goldfields romances blossomed.
As the cultures mixed and mingled, some European women chose to marry Chinese men, who, if they had made good on the gold fields, could guarantee a wife a secure and comfortable life. Chinese men had reputations as kind and generous husbands who rarely beat their wives or succumbed to alcoholism.
Family legend has it that the already-married Gertrude Cox fell in love with her soon-to-be husband George Ah Tie when they lived next to each other as neighbours in Bendigo.
It's estimated that 470 marriages took place in Victoria between Chinese men and non-Chinese women in the 19th century, with many more relationships not formalised by marriage.
These marriages, which greatly concerned the authorities at the time, produced a new generation of Victorian children who led inter-cultural and sometimes transnational lives.
This photograph is of Gertrude Ah Tie outside her husband George's fruit and vegetable shop in the Bendigo Arcade, circa 1890. George Ah Tie was a market gardener and businessman who owned six shops in Bendigo.
With thanks to Leigh McKinnon of the Golden Dragon Museum.