and Chinese Migration by pengtt

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									and Chinese Migration
Louise Rollman




Pre-1950s                                        were supplied for jam making — and later,     in the early 1940s destroyed almost          acres (2.8 hectares) of lush gardens, which
At the end of the 19th century, prior to         custard apples and avocados. Primarily,       every pawpaw tree in Sunnybank and,          featured a comprehensive collection of
World War I and until after World War            the area acquired a reputation as home of     coupled with an ongoing dispute with a       tropical plants, three swimming pools, a
II, Sunnybank retained a predominately           the pawpaw, supplying the Bengal Chutney      cannery, brought about the beginning of      wading pool, a splendid sub-artesian water
rural character. Eight Mile Plains, a district   Factory at East Brisbane and Dr Lucas’        a slow decline in farming output. More       supply from 80 feet (24.4m) below the
spread over a total of 41.7 square kilometres    Pawpaw Ointment company. Up to 7,000          importantly, mechanisation was applied       surface, a playground and a mini-zoo of
incorporating Sunnybank, had been                bushels (250 cubic metres) of produce         successfully on a greater scale in areas     Australian birds and animals — as well as
combed by timber-getters prior to its            was taken to the Roma Street Markets          like the Lockyer Valley and the Mary         a kiosk that served morning or afternoon
settlement by non-Indigenous people              and transported interstate each season.       Valley, which lead to the end of small       teas and light lunches in the delightful
as an agricultural reserve in the early 1860s.   Initially produce was transported by ship,    farming. Furthermore, in 1957 a permit       surroundings. It was particularly popular
By the mid-1920s, small-crop farming,            loaded at the South Brisbane, New Farm        was granted to establish a tobacco leaf      during the post-war years and up to 5,000
particularly the cultivation of sub-tropical     or Bulimba wharves. With the opening          drying plant, which brought land use in      tourists visited The Oasis in one day.
fruit and vegetables, including Chinese          of the railway line to South Brisbane in      Sunnybank and preservation of the green
market gardens along Bulimba Creek and           1885, produce would later be loaded at        belt into open debate. This eventually led   The Oasis would be passed by when
the railway lines, was well established.         Sunnybank station and arrive at the           to changed regulations that allowed the      construction of the Pacific Motorway
Several plant nurseries were also                markets in Sydney within 36 hours. During     subdivision of rural land for residential    during the late 1970s meant that tourists
established in the area. The district became     the 1920s, farmers replaced horses and        purposes and land prices began to rise in    could easily motor to southern beaches at
recognised as one of the major producers         carts with trucks, and began to rely on       anticipation of development.                 the Gold Coast. In 1990 The Oasis site was
for the Brisbane market, forming part of         carriers as a speedier, more efficient form                                                redeveloped as an elite housing estate.
a green belt along the perimeter of the          of transport to and from the markets —        The Oasis
Greater Brisbane area.                           although it was not until the mid-1930s       The Oasis opened in 1938 and was formerly    Development
                                                 that roads were sealed.                       located at Station Road. It was promoted     Named after Sunnybrae, one of a handful of
Produce mainly included pineapples,                                                            as one of Queensland’s most beautiful        early settler−farmer properties, Sunnybank
persimmons, loquats, citrus, macadamias,         With World War II, multiple factors lead to   gardens and one of Brisbane’s most popular   is a residential suburb 14 kilometres south
and figs — 200−300 tonnes of fruit per week      the demise of farming in the area. Storms     pleasure resorts. The Oasis covered seven    of central Brisbane. With the exception

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of Hughesville — a substantial 1890s          It was not until the late 1950s that housing    foresee the 100 metre-long lines of people     p1   Maps 2514 & 2517, BCA0102: Town
residence designed by architect George        estates began to displace farms. The            along Mains Road eagerly waiting to see             Plan, Zoning Proposals, Brisbane City
Thornhill Campbell-Wilson, which survives     scattered Queenslander-style houses and         this house on mid-week nights.                      Council 1951 Image courtesy of Brisbane
                                                                                                                                                  City Archives
as an illustration of a quintessential        market gardens began to make way for the
                                                                                                                                             p2   Pineapple patch Mains Road 1913
Queenslander of the late colonial period      ubiquitous brick and tile homes. By the mid-    The 1982 Commonwealth Games, in part
                                                                                                                                                  Sunnybank Image courtesy of
— housing in the area was once very           1970s much of the rural character had been      held at Nathan, further focused attention           Sunnybank Plaza
simple. During the 1920s there were still     rapidly rolled back. The catalyst for much      on the Sunnybank area as a leafy, green        p6   Oasis Tourist Garden May 1956
a number of slab houses with compressed       of the growth was the construction of the       and pleasant residential area with all              Image courtesy of Brisbane Images,
clay floors. Many families built their own    Pacific Motorway to Mains Road during the       the advantages of a commercial district             Brisbane City Council, image number
homes, assisted by the Workers’ Dwellings     late 1970s, which resulted in the area being    that comprises three shopping centres:              BCC-S35-9311084
Act of 1909, a Government program that        easily accessible to Brisbane’s CBD.            Sunnybank Plaza, Sunny Park and Market         p7   The third pool at The Oasis 1960
supported people with small incomes to                                                        Square at the corner of Mains Road and              Image courtesy of Sunnybank Plaza
provide homes for themselves.                 The vegetable and fruit salad bowl of the       McCullough Street. Close proximity to
                                              district would become one of Brisbane’s         the city, as well as the Gold Coast, by
It was first proposed as a garden-city        foremost residential areas when Sunnybank       virtue of the Motorway; close proximity
suburb for discharged serviceman after        became a focus for the Mater Hospital fund      to Griffith University (opened in 1975);
World War I. Soldiers were granted land       raising activities in the 1960s. Importantly,   public and private hospitals with excellent
under the Soldier Settlement Scheme,          Sunnybank was considered to reveal              medical and surgical facilities; and a major
viewed as an acknowledgment for serving       patterns of modern architectural styles.        sporting complex at the back door were
their country. Sunnybank was sub-divided      Interest in the area was demonstrated           added extras.
into quarter-acre blocks for prospective      by the most successful Mater Prize home
buyers but few were taken up. Most            no.135 at 478 Mains Road, a huge ‘Gone          Many of these features also made the area
soldier settlers did not have the expertise   with the Wind’ style that attracted 200,000     particularly appealing to new, relatively
to manage a farming enterprise and the        visitors over seven weeks. Promoters            affluent, highly educated and urbane
quarter-acre block proved to be too small.    expected queues on weekends, but did not        Chinese immigrants during the mid-1980s.

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By the mid-1990s, Sunnybank was well         of Cairns as an agricultural town, while       Street, between Charlotte and Mary Streets     p8   Aerial view of orchards at Sunnybank
established as a focal point for Chinese     others were integral to a newly established    in the city centre which included a row of          November 1932 Image courtesy of
capital or business investment, services     tin mining industry.                           nine shop-houses (the ‘Nine Holes’) that            Sunnybank Plaza
and employment opportunities.                                                               were known as a principle resort for opium     p9   Opening of Sunnybank Plaza, corner of
                                                                                                                                                Mains Road and McCullough Street
                                             Comparatively few, however, actually           and gambling. By the end of World War II
                                                                                                                                                Sunnybank, 29 April 1975 Image
The Chinese Quarter                          settled in Brisbane. Most Chinese migrants     few traces of Frog’s Hollow remained.               courtesy of Sunnybank Plaza
The number of Chinese migrants in            considered Brisbane merely a transitory
Queensland significantly increased when      stopover on their journey further north.       During World War II General McArthur
gold was discovered in the 1860s. By the     During the 1880s, among those that             established his Australian headquarters in
end of the 1870s around half of all new      did settle in Brisbane, a majority found       Brisbane’s CBD, setting the stage for both
settlers in northern Queensland were         employment as domestic servants;               an influx of US soldiers and the
Chinese. The number of Chinese in Cook-      commercial traders; furniture makers, who      establishment of the Bulimba Project. A
town exceeded 15,000 and the Palmer          snubbed legislation and stamped their          naval project wholly staffed by Chinese,
goldfields, 160km inland from Cooktown,      items ‘Made by Non-European Labour’,           largely seafarers, stranded in Australia at
was a virtual Cantonese colony in which      transforming the stamp itself into a mark      the onset of the war and effectively allowed
some 17,000 Chinese prospected and           of quality and even prestige; or market        to stay in order to work — constructing
traded. By the end of the 1870s, however,    gardeners. The latter were visible near        barges, or performing roles befitting their
many Chinese began to leave when the         the Triad Holy Temple, also known as Joss      pre-war occupations including cooks and
alluvial gold was mined out. While some      House, travelling via the recently completed   painters. During this time, it is estimated
returned to China others sought occupa-      Breakfast Creek bridge (on the north side of   that 1.2 million Australian and Allied
tions that included market gardening and     the Brisbane River) to sell their produce at   servicemen passed through Brisbane.
fishing or were recruited to work on the     the Roma Street Markets. However, in the       American GIs began requesting Chinese
Pine Creek Railway. Many were the first to   1880s Frog’s Hollow was the most visible       food during their sojourn, giving Chinese
grow banana plantations and some helped      Chinese Quarter, a commercial and business     food a level of ‘sophistication’. Many
establish the new coastal settlement         district primarily located along Albert        were African-American and due to the

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‘White Australia Policy’ of the time, the     Guangzhou’s Bureau of City Planning and         English language students from the People’s     p 10   Joss House, Breakfast Creek, 1886
movements of these servicemen were            City Government developed a design based        Republic of China (PRC), began to arrive and           Image courtesy of John Oxley Library,
partly restricted. These circumstances led    on the ancient city of Xi’an, with Tang-        settle in the district. This continued in the          State Library of Queensland
to Fortitude Valley, a new Chinese Quarter,   style architecture.                             1990s with the political uncertainties          p 11   Lucas Papaw Ointment, Beaudesert Road
                                                                                                                                                     Coopers Plains Image courtesy of
becoming home to a plethora of Chinese                                                        associated with the transfer of sovereignty
                                                                                                                                                     Sunnybank Plaza
restaurants and businesses.                   It took a new influx of East and South-East     over Hong Kong, from the United Kingdom
                                              Asian immigrants in the early 1980s, the        to the PRC in 1997. Today, the number of
Post-World War II, Fortitude Valley’s         first wave of migration since World War II      Chinese residents in Sunnybank and the
Chinatown struggled even though, by the       and a progressive influx from Vietnam,          surrounding suburbs has continued to
mid-1970s, many of the ‘White Australia       Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and              expand and their role in place-making
Policy’ restrictions were lifted by the       Taiwan, to further compound the growing         remains significant.
first Minister for Immigration, Al Grassby    internationalism of the city in a suburban
(from Brisbane) in the Whitlam Labour         context. As consumers and investors,            Louise Rollman
government. The notion of cultural            they emerged as something of a major            Curator, Contemporary Projects
pluralism permeated both government           force, gradually transforming a number          Museum of Brisbane.
rhetoric and, increasingly, government        of formerly low key suburbs in Brisbane’s
practice. Eddie Liu, formerly the president   south, centring in Sunnybank, from sedate,
of the Chinese Club, Brisbane’s oldest        largely culturally homogenous, dormitory
and most influential Chinese community        suburbs into a cosmopolitan, multicultural
organisation, was elected Chairman of the     business centre. They initiated a certain
Fortitude Valley Chinatown Advancement        impetus to reshape the urban environment,
Committee and, working with Brisbane          without employing a superficial authenticity
City Council, planned the development         or clichéd notions of ‘the East’. In the mid-
of Brisbane’s new Chinatown. Town-            1980s, even before Tiananmen Square (1989),
planners, architects and engineers from       a significant number of Chinese, mostly

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