Tuesday 17 January 2012

Day 289 - Arrowtown Chinese Settlement

Antonia looking at the Chinese inscription in Ah Lum's shop
We went for a very short stroll and picnic along the Arrow River and back again which is supposed to get us in shape for more serious things.  After that Antonia and I continued along to the Chinese settlement.  This is a few reconstructed houses and a store which were used by Chinese goldminers, or maybe it should be goldpanners.  One of the most interesting things on the information boards is the photograph of how the place used to look with vegetable gardens filling the hills, nothing like the isolated huts we see now.  There are many disturbing things about the arrival of Chinese miners: the way they were invited by a government that had a rather negative attitude to them.  It's easy to imagine that the motivation to control the xenophobia (or racism?) of the local population was low.  Young Chinese men left their families behind, and in many cases never collected enough money to return, meantime they found themselves isolated in a new country and built this little community of, essentially, single Chinese men.

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