Last weekend we went for what Dad calls a "clear the cobwebs from the brain" drive. We ended up in Young in central New South Wales. Young has a rather dark early history. It was here that the worst anti-Chinese riots happened, back in the gold rush days of the 1860s. Alluvial gold was discovered at a place called Lambing Flat and "diggers" rushed in from all over Australia and overseas. Included were lots of Chinese, many of whom had been working on the Victorian goldfields. European diggers hated the competition. They accused the Chinese of wasting water when washing gold out of the soil, and eventually rioting broke out. There were six riots, the worst one in July 1861. About 2000 European diggers attacked the Chinese camps. The Chinese were driven off the goldfield and around 250 were seriously injured. Local police were powerless and NSW government troops were sent to stop the rioting. Eventually the Chinese were allowed back, but only in small segregated areas. Public pressure led to the government passing acts restricting Chinese numbers in the colony. The town of Lambing Flat changed its name to Young. Today the site of the old goldfield is a beautiful recreation area. The centerpiece is the Chinese Tribute Garden. Although the signage does not mention the riots, it does state that the gardens are a tribute to the contribution of Chinese settlers to the growth of Australia. The gardens are lovely at this time of year. Besides the artworks around the grounds and in the lake, the trees are all in bloom and provide great hiding places for small bears.
Labels: gardens, New South Wales