Thursday, February 23, 2006

Arrowtown


Arrowtown
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Visited Arrowtown today - a deliberately preserved mining town which still manages to look old despite the proliferation of tourist shops and tearooms (both kinda nice, actually). The town is noteworthy for the remains of the buildings used by the Chinese miners who were encouraged to come to New Zealand to work the goldmines and who tended to keep themselves apart from the other miners for reasons which today became very apparent.

On one of the information boards in the Chinese quarter we saw a facsimile of a local newspaper from the 1870s which referred to the Chinese in terms which (a)I cannot bring myself to reproduce here and (b)showed that at the time the Chinese were regarded as being a subhuman species whose habits were a source of disgust and fear. I don't know what habits the writer referred to, but I was interested in the shock I felt reading this in the bright sunlight beneath the trees. I couldn't help wondering what the group of Chinese tourists just behind of us thought of it - if indeed they could read it. I hoped they couldn't.

In fairness to 21st century Kiwis, I have to point out that the New Zealand Government has in recent years apologised for the treatment of Chinese migrant workers, many of whom had faced incredible hardship to make the journey here - hardship made bearable only by the hardship of the lives they were already living as peasant farmers in China.

Clicking on this photo will take you to other pics of the tiny huts they lived in - one of them seemed to have been wallpapered in old copies of newspapers. Now THERE'S an idea for all the old copies of TheGuardian piled up at The Blethers .....

5 comments:

  1. long trousers I see but it still looks fantastic. No slippy roads there! S. is back at work, wearing his sling, but quite happy!

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  2. Great stuff! I have successfully worked out how to post links on my blog, so "blethers" has been added. The blog is feeling lonely though :-(

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  3. I've visited again, Duffy - you went dead on us!
    Still chilly this morning - but should warm up. Back to the shorts!

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  4. showed that at the time the Chinese were regarded as being a subhuman species whose habits were a source of disgust and fear.

    I think this attitude towards peole of different cultures was very widespread at the time among white people. You only have to look at any newspaper or book written in that era.

    I'm glad to hear the warm weather's returning. It;s blowing a gale here. I'll pop into Blethers on my way into town today and check all is well. When's Bun coming?

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  5. Saturday, I think - Bun?

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