Chinese Immigration celebrated in new exhibition

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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell recently launched the Museum of Sydney’s new exhibition, ‘Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese Story’, that tells the story of Chinese immigration to Sydney and New South Wales.

Mr O’Farrell was joined at the event by Minister for Heritage, Robyn Parker and Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello.

“This exhibition showcases the role the Chinese community played in the development of Sydney and NSW, dating back to the 1840s,” Mr O’Farrell said at the launch.

“Today, around one in 10 people living in Sydney have Chinese ancestry and this exhibition retraces the steps of Chinese immigrants as they forged a place in society.

“The exhibition is also an opportunity to celebrate our multicultural society and the continued role of the Chinese community in our state.

“China is the state’s largest trading partner and the cultural ties between China and NSW are strong – Mandarin is the second-most spoken language here after English.

“The NSW Government has identified China as one of the state’s priority markets for business and investment, and we are working to grow our friendship with China.”

Ms Parker said the exhibition shines a light on the rich heritage of one of our most significant communities and the role it played in shaping modern NSW society.

“This is a story spanning almost two centuries and is presented beautifully through personal stories, archival photographs and family heirlooms,” Ms Parker said.

“The exhibition features a portrait of one of the most well-known Chinese-Australian entrepreneurs of the late 19th century, Quong Tart, who was born in China and raised on the NSW goldfields.”

Mr Dominello said the vibrant Chinese community in Sydney today is the most important legacy of the early pioneers featured in the exhibition.

“The exhibition demonstrates the resilience of the Chinese community and the debt of gratitude we owe them for the tolerant and vibrant Sydney that we appreciate today.”

The Museum of Sydney’s ‘Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese Story’ opens to the public on 29 March and runs until 12 October 2014.

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