The Library is actively looking for stories from the Chinese Australian communities to add to our collection. If you have books or newsletters from the community you’d be happy to donate, you can donate them here.

Get in touch with us today to contribute to our oral history collection and tell your story and experiences.

Australia’s connection with China 

Australian society has greatly benefited from Chinese migrants from all over the world since the 1840s. Australia now has very strong and vibrant Chinese communities. In a recent census, 5% of the Australian population identified as having Chinese ancestry. It’s important to tell the story of those who have migrated here and their experiences of this country. We have been collecting these stories for decades but we would love more. 

What is the Library looking for? 

  • Oral histories 
  • Books
  • Newspapers or newsletters
  • Manuscripts
  • Pictures
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Electronic publications
  • Websites
  • Ephemera 

 We are looking for items by and about the Chinese Australian community. 

Electronic publications 

You can deposit your electronic publications with the Library using the National edeposit service. The Library’s National edeposit collection includes the newsletter of the Chinese Australian Historical Society, the newsletter of the Australia China Friendship Society (Western Australia) and the Australian Chinese Daily (澳洲新報). 

What sort of things has the Library collected in the past? 

The Library has collected some amazing and rare items. These include: 

  • A copy of the Chinese Advertiser, the first Chinese Australian newspaper. This newspaper was produced from the Ballarat goldfields from 1856.  There is good reason to believe this was the first newspaper in the world published bilingually in Chinese and English.
  • A rare government proclamation issued in Chinese language on the Victorian goldfields in 1863.  The Victorian government printed a proclamation in Chinese, warning of the dangers of fire. 
  • A rare 19th-century Chinese-English phrase book, The Self-educator, written by Sun Johnson (孫俊臣). This gives translations for everything from buying groceries and obtaining medicine through to writing cheques. The selected phrases provide a wonderful insight into the types of conversations Chinese Australians were having at this point in time. 
  • Oral history collections featuring the voices of Chinese Australian people.  Such as the story of businessman William Liu, born in 1893. He describes his return to Australia in 1909 from Hong Kong. He speaks of his studies, the White Australia Policy and his involvement with community matters around Melbourne.
  • Two Chinese-Australian oral history projects dating from the post-Second World War period to 2002 contain 77 interviewees.  Interviewees include community leaders, politicians, members of the large Kwong, Chin, Fong, Yuen and Tong families and businesspeople, such as Benjamin Ming Tung Chow (real estate developer), King Moo Fong (business owner) and Ron Tong (general manager).