New Gold Mountain (Hsin Chin Shan) refers to the nickname that Chinese gold seekers used for Australia. Many Chinese men, who made the journey to Australia, and particularly Ballaarat in the 1800’s, left China during a time of great poverty and oppression. They chanced their luck to find gold, and provide a better future for their families left behind.
Ignorance of background ensured their arrival was met with hardship, prejudice and uncertainty.
The Chinese gold seekers nicknamed Australia ‘Hsin Chin Shan’ The New Gold Mountain. Many Chinese who made the journey to Australia, left China in a time of great poverty and oppression, to chance their luck of finding gold, which would provide a better future for their families. In order to pay the fare to Australia, men would take a loan from a trader, leaving his wife and children behind as security to work off the debt if not repaid.
The Chinese came to Australia in large numbers. The population of Chinese gold seekers in Ballarat was recorded at 5,000 in 1856, increasing to 9,000 in 1858. In 1857 22.3 per cent of all males in Ballarat were Chinese, the largest ethnic group second to the English. Few Chinese could speak English and even fewer Englishmen could speak Chinese. As many Chinese were organised into working groups before they left, so they tended to stick together, working and living side by side and doing their best to try and fit into a foreign land. English and European ignorance to Chinese background meant that speculation quickly rose around their dress, cultural practices, and of course their predominantly all male camps.