Friday, 18 July 2008

Yellow Peril

I think this image is from: W. Fearn-Wannan, Australian Folklore: A Dictionary of Lore, Legends and Popular Allusions. 1970. Please put me right if my attribution is incorrect

Here's another story involving a Pascoe. It appears this one was one of the directors at Lothair mine in Clunes, Victoria, and rather a belligerent one at that, according to how it was reported in the Grey River Argus 20 December 1873* (a proudly left wing paper).

The articles below give a good account of the story, where thousands of mine workers (mostly Cornishmen) and their families violently demonstrated against the introduction of Chinese labour.

Since the strike at the Eureka stockade in 1854 just down the road, miners were a raucous crowd and kick-started the Labour movement in Australia (In Australia, thanks rumouredly to a signwriter making a mistake, the political party is named "Labor"; but it is a "Labour" movement. I'm inclined to think it was merely that Americans were a big part of the movement at the time). These incidents also helped build the Australian culture of hating the police ("traps" in those days), as by keeping the peace, they were seen as always working for the bosses.

*In case you're wondering: I'm getting all these Australian stories from foreign sources because there are no database with good Australian newspaper content as yet. The National Library of Australia is working on one though.

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