The China-Australia Heritage Corridor

Rooftops of Zhongshan [Image courtesy of Dr Michael Williams]

The Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University has begun a new project to research the cultural heritage of Chinese migration to Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries (funded by the Australia Research Council, Discovery Project).

The research team behind the project recognise that this migration was not a one-way process but rather involved a backwards-and-forwards flow of people, knowledge, culture, goods, building practices, and money. The project focuses on the migration of people from Zhongshan County (in Guangdong) to New South Wales. The project aims to enhance public awareness of Australia’s history of connectivity with Asia by showing how buildings and places created by Chinese migrants in Australia, were and are linked to buildings and places in China.

The research team plan to interview those now in Sydney/NSW with links to Zhongshan County (old, new, ancestral or recent). These interviews with Chinese Australians will examine their efforts to maintain links or to rediscover such links with their home villages in China and the importance that finding and identifying family-related buildings and places in these villages (e.g. houses, graves, ancestral halls) has in fostering a sense of multiple belonging (to both Australia and China).

The research team are also studying buildings and other heritage places associated with Zhongshan migrants (both in Australia and in Zhongshan), and recording the stories that go along with these sites. In NSW this will include the houses, business premises, association premises and other places associated with Zhongshan people. In Zhongshan itself, the team will focus on home villages and the houses, temples, schools, medical clinics and lineage halls that were built or renovated with money and other assitance from Zhongshan people in Australia.

For more information about the project, download the PDF.


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