160 years ago, Chinese came to Australia, to this area in search for gold and their dreams for better lives. However, in a bid to discourage the influx of Chinese prospectors arriving in Victoria, the government imposed a special tax on Chinese arrivals. This forced the ships to continue on to South Australia, leaving the prospectors to find their own way from Robe to the goldfields on foot. It was an arduous journey during which many lost their lives.due to hardship, exhaustion and sickness. At the gold fields they suffered racial discrimination and violent riots.
It was regrettable that similar tragedy were also repeated in New Zealand, Canada and America, yet it is so encouraging and satisfying to see that during the past 15 years these countries had publicly apologized to their respective Chinese community for those past wrong doings.
But today we commemorate 160 years anniversary of that epic walk. This re-enactment, organised by the Chinese Community Council of Australia, is to pay special tribute to the original walkers and to honour their heroic courage, tenacity, bravery, sacrifice, suffering and resilience. Most importantly it is also to recognise and celebrate the role and contribution of the Chinese community to the growth, development and prosperity of Victoria and Australia during the past 160 years. It underscores our Chinese cultural and historical roots in Australia.
CCCAV hopes that this walk will give Chinese Australians a context and history to their own place and presence in this country and an opportunity to share the Chinese Australian story which is not often or widely shared and told. We hope this will inspire us to know that Robe walk speaks to the suffering and indomitable spirit of our ancestors, who despite grave hardships and sufferings, struggled and endured in search of opportunities and security and for many, a place to settle and call home.
The Walk from Robe is not only a history about Chinese, it’s a part of the history of Australia and it represents, both, our past and our future, especially now that our prosperity is so intertwined with that of China.
Message from the Chairperson and the President of CCCA Victoria
2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year as the Chinese Community Council of Australia (CCCA) prepares to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Walk from Robe and all that Chinese-Australian community has achieved since.
We will honour the heroic effort and sacrifice of the early Chinese settlers, recognising their resilience and indomitable spirit in the face of great adversity and the significant role they played in shaping this nation.
We will celebrate the significant contribution Chinese-Australians have made to our nation’s prosperity since the time of the “New Gold Mountain”; and we will look to what the future holds for Australia and Chinese Australians as China in-turn becomes the “New Gold Mountain”.
We hope you will join us in celebrating this unique historical event and help us make history in 2017.