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

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. ISSN 1441-0370


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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2010 11:44
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2016 23:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: white Australia; racism; Chinese immigration; Parkes; Robertson; Farnell; squatters; Land Bill; labour movement; selectors
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200204 Cultural Theory
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified

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