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Deposit‘Still Children of the Dragon’? A review of three Chinese Australian heritage museums in Victoria

The Museum of Chinese Australian History reopened on 29th August 2010 with newly refurbished exhibitions displaying Chinese Australian history and contemporary Chinese Australian identities. This article reviews the new exhibitions in comparison with the Gum San Heritage Centre at Ararat and the Golden Dragon Museum at Bendigo and specifically examines the way each museum represents being Chinese and being Australian. This will be shown by interrogating the historical representations, text and methods of display.

MemberSophie Couchman

Sophie is a curator and public historian. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at La Trobe University and an Honorary Research Associate at Museums Victoria. She is interested in the place of migrants in Australia’s history and has researched and published in the field of Chinese-Australian history for many years. She has just completed work at Museums Victoria as exhibition curator on ‘British Migrants: Instant Australians?’, a travelling exhibition exploring British migration to Australia after World War II and its significance today. Sophie has a particular interest in the creation and circulation of visual representations and how they shape our understandings of Australia’s past. She developed the Chinese Australian Historical Images in Australia website (http://www.chia.chinesemuseum.com.au) as part of the completion of her doctorate. She is currently working on a joint project between La Trobe University and Museums Victoria, ‘The Camera at Work’, which explores how changes in photographic technologies and practices transformed the visual documentation of factory life in Melbourne, 1870s through to the present day. While Curator at the Chinese Museum in Melbourne Sophie led a number of notable projects including ‘Language, A Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebooks in Australia’, which won a Museums & Galleries National Award for ‘Interpretation, Learning and Audience Engagement’ in 2014. She also led the development of ‘Chungking Legation: Australia’s diplomatic mission in wartime China’ exhibition and book in 2015 and in 2014 the tour to six locations in China of ‘Bridge of Memories: Exploring identity, diversity, community — An Australian touring exhibition in China’.

DepositGlobalisation, Entrepreneurship and the South Pacific: Reframing Australian Colonial Architecture, 1800-1850

In 1957, Clinton Hartley Grattan, one of Australia’s most important foreign observers, wrote of the shadow of the “urban” in legends of the Australian “bush”.1 He argued that the early frontiers of Australian settlement were frontiers of men with private capital, or entrepreneurs, and those frontiers thus carried more elements of the urban than is commonly realised. Such early colonial enterprises around Australia’s south and southeastern coasts, and across the Tasman included sealing, whaling, milling and pastoralism, as well as missionary, trading and finance ventures. In advance of official settlements in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, entrepreneurs mapped coastlines, pioneered trade routes and colonised lands. Backed by private capital they established colonial infrastructural architecture effecting urban expansion in the Australian colonies, New Zealand and beyond. Yet this architecture is rarely a subject of architectural histories.

MemberRuth Morgan

Ruth A. Morgan is an environmental historian and historian of science with a particular focus on Australia, the British Empire, and the Indian Ocean world. Ruth holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and is a Research Fellow in the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. During 2017, she is based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the LMU, Munich, Germany, where she holds an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Ruth is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association and the National Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society. She is also Treasurer of the International Water History Association, Vice President of the International Commission on the History of Meteorology, and a member of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub. She joined Monash in mid-2012 after completing her doctoral studies at The University of Western Australia in Perth.

MemberKaren Schamberger

Karen Schamberger is a curator and historian with a love of museums and public history. She is currently working at the National Museum of Australia as part of a team developing a new environmental history gallery. She has  previously worked on the Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours exhibition (2011) at the Immigration Museum and Journeys exhibition (2009) at the National Museum of Australia. Her PhD dissertation: Identity, belonging and cultural diversity in Australian Museums examined the ways that objects mediate relations between people of culturally diverse backgrounds in Australian society and history. This included an examination of the ways that museums, through their collections and exhibitions, are implicated in processes of inclusion and exclusion. Her interests include museology, transnationalism, migration, histories of place, colonisation, whiteness, human relationships with other species and material culture.

MemberJessica Carniel

Jessica Carniel is a Senior Lecturer in Humanities at the University of Southern Queensland, where she teaches on the history of Western ideas, ethics and human rights, and global migration. Her broad research interests include Australian and global immigration, cosmopolitan cultures, sporting communities and identities, cultural studies and gender studies. She has published widely on gender and ethnic identities in literature and sports cultures in multicultural Australia. Her study of Eurovision in Australia will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in late 2018.

MemberGrégoire Espesset

Current research themes: . History and historiography of academic Sinology and Western representations of Chinese culture / Histoire et historiographie de la sinologie académique et des représentations occidentales de la culture chinoise . History, philology and textual criticism of “Weft” (wei 緯) literature / Histoire, philologie et ecdotique des “Livres de trame” . Taoism (also spelt ‘Daoism’) in medieval China: History, historiography, sources / Le taoïsme en Chine médiévale : Histoire, historiographie, sources

MemberPeter Austin

My research interests cover documentary, descriptive, theoretical, historical and applied linguistics. I have extensive fieldwork experience since 1972 on Australian Aboriginal languages (northern New South Wales, northern South Australia, and north-west Western Australia) and co-authored with David Nathan the first fully page-formatted hypertext dictionary on the World Wide Web, a bilingual dictionary of Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi), northern New South Wales, as well as publishing seven bilingual dictionaries of Aboriginal languages. Since 2011 I have been working with the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation on revitalisation of the Dieri language spoken in South Australia (see Dieri WordPress). Since 1995 I have been carrying out research on Sasak and Samawa, Austronesian languages spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa islands, eastern Indonesia, in collaboration with colleagues at Mataram University and Frankfurt University. My theoretical research is mainly on syntax and focuses on Lexical Functional Grammar, morpho-syntactic typology, computer-aided lexicography and multi-media for endangered languages. I have also published on historical and comparative linguistics, typology, and Aboriginal history and biography. I am currently working with Dr Julia Sallabank and with colleagues at University of Warsaw and Leiden University on an EU Horizon2020 Twinning project called Engaged Humanities, and with Professor Stefanie Pillai, University of Malaya, on a British Academy-funded collaborative research project in Malaysia.