In the early years of the twentieth century, at the time of the Federation of the colonial states and territories, many important events occurred in Australia. These include:
- the implementation of laws to improve working conditions and devise fairer wages
- the extension of the vote to non-Indigenous women
- the introduction of the White Australia policy, which restricted immigration.
The new Australian Constitution discriminated against Indigenous Australians by excluding them from the national census and preventing parliament from making laws about them.
At the time of Federation in 1901, three quarters of the population were Australian born, the majority of English, Scottish and Irish descent. The Chinese, who had represented 3.3% of the population in 1861, represented 0.8% of the population at the time of Federation.
- Students can research why and when Chinese people came to Australia. Mr Wong is a significant character in this episode and his story could be a good starting point for discussing the reasons Chinese people came to Australia at different times. Why might Mr Wong have come to live in Australia?
- As a class, look at the laws and policies of Australia that have had an impact on Chinese Australians. How might Mr Wong have been affected by Australian laws and policies?
- Students could develop a timeline of Chinese migration to Australia. The timeline should use dates, images and reasons for coming to Australia.