澳华春秋200年系列-采矿业

中英文双语对照 Bilingual

 

在澳大利亚历史上,华人给人留下的最深刻的印象就是淘金者,不可否认,黄金的确是吸引大批华人前来澳洲的一大原因。


在新南威尔士州,淘金热在19世纪60年代中期就已经消失殆尽,当时的淘金矿工都早已各奔东西,投身不同的行业了。到了1901年,只有9%的华人仍靠挖矿为生,还在延续自己的淘金梦,有的则改挖锡矿。


淘金华工给人的刻板印象就是有耐性而且勤劳工作的群体,他们不放过欧洲矿工遗留下的矿渣而再度过筛,受到其他国家矿工的敌对甚至暴力对待,却又不敢反抗出声。这种描述虽然真实但太过笼统,不能代表整体。


中国矿工在发现新矿区后并不会抛弃开挖过的老矿区,他们分头搜索金矿,然后通力合作一起挖矿。勤俭节约的华矿工体会舒适生活来之不易,所以尽管受到暴力对待,但多年来一直保持平和的工作环境和态度。

19世纪50年代早期,维多利亚州的大金矿吸引了很多慕名而来的淘金者,而新南威尔士州1856年的史料中,却只记载了700位中国矿工。

 
一名华人矿工正在矿地工作, 约19世纪60年代。 Courtesy of State Library of Queensland

一名华人矿工正在矿地工作, 约19世纪60年代。
Courtesy of State Library of Queensland

 
发生于1860年12月的蓝坪洲暴力事件。 Courtesy National Archives of Australia

发生于1860年12月的蓝坪洲暴力事件。
Courtesy National Archives of Australia

 

在1858年当时,维多利亚州的殖民气焰越发高涨,第一批数量庞大的中国矿工通过双水湾(Twofold Bay)进入新南威尔士州的,数千名的中国矿工一下子涌入新南威尔士州的金矿区也引发了大规模敌对状态,其中最著名的事件当属1860年和1861年的羔羊地(蓝坪洲,Lambing Flat)事件。人们在讨论金矿区的暴力冲突时都会强调是欧洲矿工打压中国矿工,但实际上中国矿工内部也会发生自己人打自己人的现象,而且他们也会联合起来用暴力对抗欧洲矿工。

尽管官方会压制矿区内的暴力冲突,但在处理这些冲突的时候,警察通常只是单纯的把中国矿工们和欧洲矿工隔离开来。这种治标不治本的方法最终导致了1861年的“华人移民法规和限制法案”的颁布。


这一法案直到1867年才被废除,但同时也向进港的船只施加10英镑的华人人头税,吨位限制等,不再让华人入籍澳洲。其他州的华人矿工陆续进到新南威尔士州是当时新南威尔士州中国移民的一大特点。而19世纪70年代后期发生的帕默河(Palmer River)淘金热也引发了在昆士兰州的淘金者大规模进入新南威尔士州。


中国来的淘金矿工和欧洲矿工的定居模式总体来说是大同小异,金矿的发掘总会引发大量的矿工涌入一个区域,而一旦挖完或有更新的金矿被发掘到,那么该区域的矿工数量就会急剧下降。虽然传说中欧洲和中国矿工在挖金矿的时候是通力合作的,但事实上中国矿工内部会有“小帮派”,他们都是在“帮主”的指领下挖矿的,因为很多初来乍到的矿工都背负一身债务,他们被迫参与挖矿来赚钱还债,直到债款还清了才能离开。


到了19世纪70年代早期,挖锡比挖金更加普遍。马来半岛和波罗洲的锡矿都是由华工开采的,和挖金矿相类似,所需人力物力相对少和便宜。昆士兰州南部和新南威尔士州北部是挖锡矿的主要集中地,因此在19世纪70和80年代,这两个区域镇上的华人数量达到数千人。但之后就减少了。


In Australian history Chinese as goldseekers is the predominant popular image, and certainly gold was the motivation that brought large numbers of Chinese people. In NSW the major gold rushes were over by the mid-1860s, and from the diggings miners dispersed into a range of other occupations. By 1901, only 9% of Chinese people were occupied as miners, some continuing the search for gold, but most mining for tin.


The stereotype of Chinese gold miners of patiently hardworking in groups, sifting diggings left by European miners, while suffering hostility and violence holds some truth, but such generalisations are not the whole picture. Chinese miners discovered new fields and worked old ones, they sought gold individually and worked in groups. While hard working and frugal, Chinese miner’s gradual acquisition of a more ‘comfortable’ lifestyle was noted, and while violence there certainly was, peaceful workings over may years were also the case.


The big Victorian goldfields of the early 1850s attracted most prospectors, and in 1856 only 700 Chinese miners were recorded in NSW. In 1858 the first large numbers of Chinese miners entered NSW via Twofold Bay as the Colony of Victoria became increasingly hostile. The arrival of thousands of Chinese miners on the NSW goldfields also generated hostility, the most famous incidents being those at Lambing Flat in 1860 and 1861. The discussion of violence on the goldfields usually emphasises that of Europeans towards Chinese, however, Chinese also fought with Chinese, and committed violence against Europeans.


While authorities suppressed this violence, often dealt with by the police through the segregation of ‘Chinese camps’ from that of European miners, the ultimate result was the 1861 ‘Chinese Immigrant Regulation and Restriction Act’ which, until its repeal in 1867, imposed a £10 poll tax, tonnage restrictions and prevented any Chinese person becoming naturalized. The crossing of miners from other colonies was a feature of NSW Chinese immigration, as when the end of the Palmer River rush resulted in the crossing of former goldseekers from Queensland in the late 1870s.


The pattern of settlement by Chinese gold miners was generally similar to that of European miners in that a find of gold would result in a large influx of miners into a district followed by a rapid decline once the gold was depleted or a new field opened. While both European and Chinese miners worked claims co-operatively, Chinese miners also often worked fields in ‘gangs’ under a ‘headman’ due to many arriving in debt and being required to work under instruction until the debt was paid off.


Mining for tin became more common than for gold after the early 1870s. Tin mining had been carried out by Chinese miners in Malaya and Borneo, and like gold, this form of mining could be carried out cheaply by relatively few people. Southern Queensland and northern NSW were major areas of tin mining and the Chinese population of towns in these areas reached many thousands in the 1870s and 1880s, before falling there after.


中文和英文由澳洲华人历史协会提供
Chinese and English content are provided by Chin-Aus History Society

Mingming Feng