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Occupation of the Chinese

The primary occupation for the Chinese miners was of course in fossicking or mining for gold. This accounted for 80% of the Chinese population in the gold fields. They tended to work in groups or companies chasing alluvial gold. Companies were formed with 3-4 men, and some companies can grow to 7-8 men.

Interactive graph. Click to select/exclude occupation segments.

Some of the Chinese miners are also work as ‘hired hands’ in European claims. This was particularly pronounced in larger gold fields of Beechworth and Ballarat.

The others are engaged in service and commerce supporting the mining communities. These activities were food and vegetable production, and operating shops and businesses in camps and towns.

It is also interesting to note that the Chinese are also employed in other non mining, agricultural activities. For example, there were Chinese sheep shearers in Bendigo, Beechworth and Ararat. Chinese were also employed in harvesting in Maryborough, Daylesford, Bendigo and Beechworth area.


Early Chinese migrants