Episode 5: The lives of Sydney’s early Chinese women
In the stories of Chinese and Asian people in Australian history, there’s one group that’s noticeably missing: women! There were many notable Chinese men in Sydney’s early days and in the 20th century. If you’ve been listening to this podcast series, you’ve discovered some of them. But where are the ladies?
Many historians have glossed over Chinese women in Sydney’s history. It’s true that they were a small population, especially in the very early years of the colony. But they were not non-existent! Combing through newspapers and archives, we can find hundreds of women of Chinese descent making their lives in Sydney in the 1800s and 1900s.
So it’s up to us. We can continue to ignore them or we can try to find out more about them. We may not know everything about their lives – where they came from, how they spent their days – but by researching their stories we can begin to have an idea of these early settlers.
In this episode, we touch on the lives of a handful of Sydney’s Chinese women. Their weddings and parties, their fundraising for the Red Cross, their activism – and we will say their names.