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Most of the Chinese miners on the fields were actually pheasants of rich people or emperors of China. They were sent to Australia to find gold for their masters. The gold rush in Australia attracted many Chinese to the country, with the Chinese population in Australia reaching around 40000 in the 1860s. The Chinese wore different clothing to all the others, and had long, pigtails behind their backs. The Chinese people were methodical and worked out different tactics to find gold, this lead to great fortune for quite a few Chinese diggers.
The European people on the fields resented the Chinese miners, as their population was growing rapidly in the fields. Some Chinese miners were accused of smuggling gold back to China in coffins. A few times, the Europeans even harassed the miners and vandalised their camp sites, hoping they would flea and their population would decrease. Even worse, the Europeans would hang the Chinese by their pony-tales on trees. The poor migrants would have to suffer until someone would save them. Most immigrants came to Australia by ship, when they reached land, they would normally travel by wagon or horse to the mining fields or campgrounds. In 1855, Chinese miners started to have to pay a 10 pounds fee to arrive at Victoria and NSW by ship. The Chinese migrants tried to get around this problem by going to South Australia .All of the diggers were men, and there were only six children.
European miners soon dominated the gold fields, setting up the first campsites and simple accommodation. European miners did not necessarily come prepared, as they had to hand carry all their belongings by hand. Every miner had to wake up early in the morning, under the hot sun. They would do around 1 hour of mining or panning before eating breakfast, which left very hungry miners before breakfast. Most European miners ate cooked mutton chops and damper. Damper is also known as bush bread, made with water and flour, then roasted in front of a fire. Chinese miners ate mainly a diet of rice and grown vegetables, some Chinese people even found some safe berries to eat. All the miners lived in tents or huts, and to make huts, they needed wood. Some Chinese miners started to chop down trees to make shelter, this left an impact on Australia, a minor phase of deforestation. Also, the miners left the freshwater lakes muddied and polluted, leaving the aboriginal people, native animals and even some other miners with a limited amount of water.
In conclusion, the life of Chinese miners was not as easy and bright as it might seem. These people lived through hard times, sometimes faced racial discrimination and oppression, but survived and continued to work.
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