The story of Australia's Chinese community is a long and complex one, and can be traced back in historical records to the 1820s when John Macarthur employed at least three Chinese people on his properties.
When transportation of convicts was ended in the 1840s, pastoralists and squatters were forced to look elsewhere for cheap labor, and the first boatload of 'indentured labour' arrived from Xiamen in Sydney in 1848 aboard the Nimrod.
In the years to follow, Chinese people came to Australia as settlers, traders and gold prospectors, leaving an ancient civilisation that continued to condone slavery to come to one that, while happy to exploit their skills and labour, was built on the racist fear and oppression that was typical of the British colonial era.
Dragon and Kangaroo: Australia and China's Shared History from the Goldfields to the Present Day, traces the story of Australia's Chinese population in the light of the politics and history of the two nations from the 1850s. It includes the stories of many fascinating individuals who played their part in the narrative – from Sam Poo, the only Chinese bushranger, to two 20th Century Australians, George Morrison and William Donald who played significant roles in the downfall fo the last Chinese emporer and the creation of the first republic. Tracing the story after World War II, it explores Australia's fear of Communism and the devastation of the Cultural Revolution, and follows the route that in recent decades the two countries have taken in forging new economic relations, with insights provided by some of Australia's top diplomats.
Author: Robert Macklin
Publisher: Hachette Australia