Chinese


CHINESE MIGRANTS IN AUSTRALIA

 

Chinese prospector in the Californian gold fields 1853 Wood engraving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Fahey sings ‘New Chum Chinaman’. with Marcus Holden: Mandolin, Guzheng.. Garry Steel: Accordion, Bass. Clare O’Meara: Guitar.

 

The New Chum Chinaman.

The industrious Chinese were not popular on the diggings, especially when they sifted through the mullock heaps and extracted specks of gold missed by the impatient European diggers. There was also the general distrust and alienation of people unfamiliar and different, and many the poor Chinese digger was attacked and had his pigtail sliced off as a trophy. The Irishman in this song reckoned that he would be better off turning his ‘eyebrows upside down and his skin inside out – and becoming a Chinaman’. The song refers to Queensland so belongs to the 1870s goldrush in that State. This version was collected by Ron Edwards from Mrs V. Leonard, Lappa Junction, Queensland, 1966 and published in Humping Old Bluey (1966). Another set of verse was published in The Queenslander (Hurd Collection), dated 1894, including the xenophobic verse:

There’s thousands of this monkey tribe have landed on our shores,

And the cry is still they come, there’s room for many more.

The back blocks they are crowded out – no room for Mike or Dan,

The only thing that’s left to do is turn to a Chinaman.

I collected some verses from Joe Watson in 1974 that ran:

Oh, what’s the use of talking?

When they won’t let a white man live,

For any bit of work they’ve got,

To the Chinee-man they’ll give.

So I’ll eat my rice with chopsticks,

I’ll learn the lingo too,

With a toona mucka hilo, none so fan,

And be a Chinese Irishman!

 

Ching Chong

Quoted Hal Porter Bairnsdale 1920s
Tune: Dan Tucker

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Chinee Cook

AUSTRALASIAN SKETCHER 1875
87/599

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Anti Chinese ditty

Qld Examiner 1895

The advent of the cow
Will rid us of the Chow.

 

On Chinamen

Pat Pong, John, Johnny etc, Chink, Ding Bat, Canary JohnÖ

Mad as a Chinaman

Meaner than a goldfields Chow

Awkward as a Chinaman on a bicycle

 

Sister Lilly

Supposed memorial notice

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John Chinaman

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Chop, Chop, Chop

From Robyn Ridley 1970 whose mother sang this ditty
as a child
in then rural Glenhuntly, Victoria.

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Chinaman’s Track

From Spangles in the sawdust by R P Whitwoth, 1880.

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The AUSTRALIAN STAR. 1879

June 30 1877

 

Advice from the Palmer State (Qld) state that hundreds of Chinese are in the last stages of destitution and those hundreds more are pressing on to the goldfields. The Wardens ask for additional police protection, owing to the threatening attitude of the Chinese outside the camps.

FROM ‘FORTY-FIVE YEARS EXPERIENCE IN NORTH QUEENSLAND’ 1861-1905

W R O Hill.
Published Brisbane 1907.

This interesting book also had a chapter on the great fight between Heenan & Sayers ñ I have collected two songs on this fight. (Refer AFU ñ Joe Watson and Cyril Duncan)

The following song was composed and sung by the author at a charity concert in Cooktown about 1878. It is typical anti-Chinese.

The Palmer Local

Tune: The Abyssinian Girl

View Words

The Poor Chinee

My namee Sin-sin, me come from China,
Biggie-low ship, me come along here;
Wind blow hard, it kicky-up bubble-y,
Ship make-a China boy feel very queer,
Me like-a bow-wow, very good chow chow,
Me like-a little girl, she like me,
Me come from Hong Kong,
White man he come along,
Takee little gal from-a Po’ Chinee

I found this reference ditty on the Internet in 2007 where it is attributed to V. Feuerbacher, E. Noack. Oddly enough it was once recorded by the American country music legend George Jones. Even stranger, the song, in a diluted form has been collected in Australia. I suspect it is from circa 1870’s however I cannot find any information on the songwriters.

The Australia version was collected by Ron Edwards in Cairns, 1963, from the singing of Jock Dingwall, who “learnt it as a young man”. The Australian version has an Australian reference which implies it could have been around in the 1870s Queensland gold rush era.

My Name Lee See

My name Lee See
Come from China,
Go long Sandy Cleek,
Looka longa gold-oh.
White man come up,
kicka longa – ooooh!
Chinaman sing out –
“Waffor?”

The following set of songs are based on an old song my father used to sing to me, and I have subsequently recorded. He knew it as ‘With His Old Grey Noggin A-shanking” however it appears in the British tradition with many variations and titles.

The Bald -Headed Chinaman
(Tune: With His Old Grey Noddle A-Shaking)

My mother she told me to open the door.
The little bald headed Chinese-nese-nese.
I opened the door.
He fell on the floor.
The little baldheaded Chinese nesenese.

My mother she told me to get him a drink.
The little bald headed Chinese-nese-nese.
I gave him a drink.
He peed in the sink.
The little bald headed Chinese nesenese.

My mother she told me to give him a dance.
The little bald headed Chinese-nese-nese.
I gave him a dance.
He pulled down his pants.
The little bald headed Chinese-nese-nese.

Collected 2008

The Dirty Old Man from China

My Mother told me to open the door
Gee I don’t wanna
But I opened the door and in stepped the man,
The dirty old man from China,

My mother told me to take him to a dance
Gee I don’t wanna
But I took him to a dance and he peed in his pants
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to take him to school
Gee I don’t wanna
But I took him to school and he acted like a fool
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to take him to bed
Gee I don’t wanna
But I took him to bed, and I screwed off his head
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to bury his head
Gee I don’t wanna
But I buried his head and that was the end
Of the dirty old man from China.

Collected 2008.

THE POOR BALD HEADED CHINESE

My mother she told me to open the door.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I opened the door.
He fell on the floor.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to get him a drink.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a drink.
He fell in the sink.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to give him a dance.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a dance.
He pulled down his pants.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to put him to bed.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I put him to bed.
He fell on his head.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to give him a ride.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a ride.
He fell off and died.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to bury him deep.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I buried him deep.
He stuck out his feet.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to cut off his feet.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I cut off his feet.
He laid there in peace.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

Collected 2008. My contributor added “Dad used to sing this to us when I was a little. It was the 1950’s. I never found out where he heard it. But he knew the lyrics backwards and forwards. He called the song “The Poor Bald Headed Chinese”

Emigration and Free selection
Female Emigrants
Moley Hoses – Will H. Lister
Chinese
Others NOTE:
This section contains racist and offensive material.
As a folklore collector I have an obligation to record such material and, hopefully, it will provide opportunities for others to understand how such material is created and transmitted. Of course, most of the items come from Australia’s early days and that needs to be taken into account.THE CHINESE IN AUSTRALIA: