By Arthur B.W. Yong, B App Sc JP
Author and Project Coordinator
The Book of Chinese Settlement in Whittlesea: Our Chinese Community Our Stories was launched on Saturday 9 February 2009 2.00 pm at the Mill Park Library. The launch was well coordinated with very entertaining cultural performances and memorable speeches. There were over 160 guests attended this special community event. I coordinated the production of this publication with the generous support of the City of Whittlesea Community Development Grant, State Government of Victoria through the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Yarra Plenty Regional Library. Many volunteers with special skills and a combination of expertise and experience in a wide range of disciplines contributed the compilation of this important educational reference book.
This book contains sixteen stories about Chinese migrants. The story – tellers and their families lived, worked and operated businesses in the City of Whittlesea. They have come to Australia from mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Timor. This book captures a series of stories of Chinese migration. Included amongst there is some of the history of a local Chinese Market Garden, established in the City of Whittlesea after the Victorian Gold Rush, between 1853 and 1886. Market gardens hold a place of particular significance within Chinese communities as they provide food, business and medicinal resource. The book also seeks to engage with a broader range of issues which emerge from the Chinese migrant experience, such as interracial marriage, views on parenting, the Australian education system and the interrelationship between Chinese and western medicine. One of the important messages of the book, which is associated with public health and collaborative community work, is the local Chinese community appreciates that community and Chinese festivals play extremely important role in promoting health and wellbeing in their communities. They break down social isolation, improve people’s feelings of belonging, celebrate diversity and improve mental health. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) provides funding annually for the Communities Together Scheme aiming to promote positive mental health and wellbeing through fostering social inclusion and reducing discrimination by supporting community driven celebrations and festivals.
Two hundred copies of the book were printed. The book is not for sale. You can access the book at university libraries, Chinese and immigration museums in Victoria, many public libraries and local high schools in the City of Whittlesea. For a free copy, you can download from the Whittlesea Chinese Association website
Yong, 2008: Arthur B.W. Yong, Chinese Settlement in Whittlesea: Our Chinese Community, Our Stories Book Launch, Town Crier, Volume 217, March 2008, p.5.