Britain, China, and Colonial Australia

ISBN : 9780198790549

Benjamin Mountford
320 Pages
135 x 216 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
Oxford Historical Monographs
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Towards the end of the nineteenth century the British Empire was confronted by two great Chinese questions. The first of these questions (often known as the 'Far Eastern question') related specifically to the maintenance of British interests on the China Coast and the broader implications for British foreign policy in East Asia. While safeguarding British interests in the Far East presented British policymakers with a range of significant challenges, as they wrestled with this first Chinese question, another question kept knocking at the door. Since the eighteenth century, when plans for the establishment of a British colony at New South Wales had begun to materialize, Australia's potential relations with China had attracted considerable interest. During the first sixty years of European settlement, China retained a prominent place in both metropolitan and colonial schemes for the development of British Australia. From the 1850s, however, when large numbers of Cantonese miners travelled to the Pacific gold rushes, these earlier visions began to appear hopelessly naive. By the late 1880s the coming of the Chinese to Australia, and the reaction to their arrival, had developed into one of the most difficult issues within British imperial affairs. This book sets out to tell that story. Reaching back to the arrival of the British in the 1780s, it explores the early history of Australian engagement with China and traces the development of colonial Australia into an important point of contact between the British and Chinese Empires.



PART I: Britain, China, and the Australian Colonies, 1788-1888
1 Sometimes as a Half-Way House to China
2 Two Enormous Overflowing Reservoirs: Gold, Migration, and the Chinese Question in Australia

PART II: The Afghan Crisis of 1888
3 British Policymaking and the Chinese Migration Question
4 Serve Yourself If You'd Be Well Served: The Afghan Affair as Imperial Crisis
5 The Official Mind and the Search for a Solution

PART III: New Imperialisms
6 Australia and the Problems of the Far East
7 The Time for Small Kingdoms Has Passed Away: Australia, China, and the Imperial Future

Conclusion: Chinese Questions

About the author: 

Benjamin Mountford is a Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History (CRCAH) at Federation University Australia. From 2008 to 2015, Ben was at Oxford, where he was a Rae and Edith Bennett Travelling Scholar, a Beit Scholar in Commonwealth and Imperial History, a Research Associate at the Oxford Centre for Global History, and the first Michael Brock Junior Research Fellow in Modern British History. He is a co-founder and convener of the Oxford Transnational and Global History Research Seminar. Ben's research and teaching centres on Australian, British, global, and imperial history; museology; public history; and heritage.

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