From humiliation to triumph: Sir Henry Parkes, the squatters and the anti-Chinese movement, 1877-1878

Article


Griffiths, Phil. 2010. "From humiliation to triumph: Sir Henry Parkes, the squatters and the anti-Chinese movement, 1877-1878." Journal of Australian Colonial History. 12, pp. 143-170.
Article Title

From humiliation to triumph: Sir Henry Parkes, the squatters and the anti-Chinese movement, 1877-1878

ERA Journal ID7304
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorGriffiths, Phil
Journal TitleJournal of Australian Colonial History
Journal Citation12, pp. 143-170
Number of Pages28
Year2010
Place of PublicationArmidale, Australia
ISSN1441-0370
Web Address (URL)http://www.une.edu.au/humanities/jach/
Abstract

This article examines the triumphant return of Sir Henry Parkes to power in New South Wales in December 1878 after the defeat of the Farnell government's Land Bill in parliament. The Land Bill would have made it easier for selectors to obtain land leased by pastoralists. In contrast to much existing scholarship, the article argues that the Farnell government had considerable support in parliament, and that Parkes was not an obvious contender for the premiership. He had suffered a dramatic loss of support after the 1877 election, was not leader of the opposition, and was widely seen as a conservative with little to offer the colony as premier. The article argues that a significant reason for the defeat of Farnell was his government's hostility to the anti-Chinese movement, which had mobilised in opposition to the actions of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company in replacing European crews with Chinese sailors in the famous Seafarers strike of 1878. Parkes was able to deflect working class hostility at his support for assisted immigration by arguing that British immigrants were a defence against a Chinese take-over. In their obsessive concern to stop Chinese immigration, the radical plebeian and labour movements were thus persuaded to accept the return to power of one of their greatest enemies.

Keywordswhite Australia; racism; Chinese immigration; Parkes; Robertson; Farnell; squatters; Land Bill; labour movement; selectors
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020430302. Australian history
470207. Cultural theory
441013. Sociology of migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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