2019 Transcribing Chinese travels into Victoria’s history

With the support of the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) a team have come together to host a Melbourne version of the ‘Real Face of White Australia’ (RFoWA) transcribe-a-thon. The brainchild of Dr Kate Bagnall and Dr Tim Sherratt, the objective of the Real Face of White Australia project was to transcribe a series of exemption certificates of non-white Australians living in New South Wales that allowed them to enter Australia without having to sit a dictation test. The project was successfully launched using a crowd-sourced transcription website.

Victorian archival records are slightly different to those in NSW so our project will have a different feel to the previous Real Face of White Australia project. The National Archives in Australia holds three large registers which list non-white Victorians who applied for certificates of exemption and provides details of their occupation, address, length of time in the Commonwealth and also the dates of their travel and return.

The plan is to run the transcribing event over a weekend in mid-2018. The event will provide time and space for people to undertake transcription of documents interspersed with talks about Chinese Australian family history by interested CAFHOV members. The event will be hosted by the Chinese Museum in Melbourne.

Project role: Project leader
Project team: Alan To, Terry Young, Andrew Wong, Jonathan O’Donnell


Register of Certificates Exempting from the Dictation Test, Melbourne. NAA: B6003, 3


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