Points of Departure
Inset, Chart of the world showing tracks followed by vessels with sail and auxiliary steam power, Great Britain Hydrographic Office, 1888.Contributors
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Most who left for Australia seeking gold came from the 'four counties' region (See Yup) 100-200 km south-west of Guangzhou (Canton), but a number also departed from the 'three counties' region (Sam Yup) very close to Guangzhou itself.
See Yup and Sam Yup locals may have been neighbours but they spoke different Cantonese dialects and didn't always understand or like each other. Present also was an ethnic sub group of Cantonese residents called Hakka who not only spoke a different language, but were at war with Cantonese speakers at times in the 19th century.
Other goldseekers included people from Macau, Hokkien-speakers from Fujian Province who departed from the sea port of Amoy (now known as Xiamen) further up the coast to the north of Hong Kong, and a small number of voyagers from Shanghai, further north again. These groups, who were diverse and not necessarily in harmony with each other, sometimes brought their grievances to the gold fields.
At least 14 different dialects were spoken by Chinese voyagers to Victoria in the 19th century, reflecting their diverse home villages and cultural backgrounds.