Introduction

Introduction

Welcome to Our Journeys | Our Stories. This exhibition highlights and uncovers stories of Chinese people, place and identity through historical items and commissioned artworks by Chinese-Australian artists, providing insights into Chinese migration in the area from the 1860s to today.

The story of Chinese migration, people and place in the Georges River area dates back to the 1860s. Many Chinese miners remained in Australia after the gold rushes of the 1850s and developed market gardens, including a number in the local area, which prospered until the 1930s. By the 1960s, Hurstville and surrounding suburbs had become home to migrants from post-war Europe. Changing patterns of migration and urban growth from this time in the St George region meant that from the 1970s waves of migration, initially from Vietnam, were followed by a second boom in migration from China and Hong Kong experienced from the 1990s onwards. Chinese culture and life play a significant role in Hurstville and the surrounding suburb's identity. By 2016, 45.5% of people residing in the Georges River Council local government area were born overseas with 18.6% from China, including Hong Kong. Today more than 27% of people living in the Georges River area have Chinese ancestry.

Explored against a backdrop of social, cultural and economic developments in Australia during the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese migration and settlement in the St George area is interwoven through historical objects and contemporary visual responses to this heritage. The exhibition acknowledges, shares and celebrates the ongoing and significant contribution of the Chinese community to the Georges River area.