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Ararat: The Only City in Australia Founded by the Chinese Immigrants

The City of Ararat is justifiable proud of its connection with the Chinese pioneers, as it is "the only town in Australia founded by the Chinese immigrants".   As stated in the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre web site (See the Gum San Web Site "Story" page) "One day in May 1857, 700 Chinese miners from Southern China, travelling overland from the Port of Robe, South Australia, to the Central Goldfields in the Colony of Victoria, rested at a place at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, some 400 kilometres due east of Robe.  Replenishing their water supplies at a spring, they discovered by chance the Canton Lead, the world's richest shallow alluvial goldfield that stretches five kilometres at length."  

And so the City of Ararat had its beginning then.

The Chinese miners were mostly from the Siyi Region (四邑) {see note in next paragraph}, with Taishan (台山) as one of the "Yi" (邑) of Siyi.  To recognise the "Yi" where many Chinese pioneers came from, "The Ararat Chinese Heritage Society ... were instrumental in winning Sister City status with the City of Taishan in Guangdong Province".    

Note: Siyi (四邑) means four counties. Siyi is now composed of four counties of Taishan 台山, Xinhui 新會, Kaiping 開平 and Enping 恩平.   Prior to 1914, Taishan was known as Sun Ning (新寕). 

At our recent May 2007 visit to Ararat Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre, Heather Ahpee, the Co-ordinator of the Centre briefed us that "as part of the celebrations of the founding of Ararat, in conjunction with the Ararat Rural City Council's 150th Committee, The Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre Gum San Volunteers are creating a Multi-Cultural Community Dragon.   The head of the dragon will be donated by the city of Taishan, while the body will be constructed like a giant patchwork quilt, representing all aspects of our diverse society, by individuals or groups.  These 'Dragon scales' for the body will be a work of love."

Our organisation intends to join in the fun of making a patchwork "Dragon Scale".

Also as part of the celebration, a memorial to mark the passing of the Chinese Pioneers will be erected at the Ararat Cemetery, Chinese Section.  In November 2006, our organisation was invited to participate in the Ground Breaking ceremony.   Attached are photos taken at the ceremony. 

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