Chinese Navvies

Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic) Saturday 21 January 1860 p. 2. 

We have heard a great deal lately about German masons and English masons,, and their respective merits on the railway work, but from our Sydney files we learn that one railway contractor has taken a band of Chinese into his, employment ; and although they are not as yet occupyiog the position of skilled workmen yet it is by no means unlikely that if the Chinese find such occupation suit them, and that they can make it remunerative, they will not be long before they become even an aquisition to contractors who have suffered much from trades strikes. The introduction of this kind of labour into public works is of importance, and opens an interesting field for consider ation, but for the present we content ourselves with the fact as it has been disclosed.

 A correspondent of the Newcastle Chronicle writes:—

"An entirely new class of laborers are being initiated into the art and mystery of railway making by that astute contractor from Melbourne Mr Joseph Martindale. It has been known in Black Creek for the last few days that Mr. Martindale had given work to two Chinamen in one of his cuttings. It was also rumored that one of them had been sent to the Hanging Rock diggings, to fetch one hundred of his fellow-countrymen. Our storekeepers have been eagerly looking, and, no doubt, providing for the arrival of the Mongols, and anticipating a brisk trade in rice and rats during their stay in the neighbourhood. On Monday all doubts as to the truth of the rumour were put to flight ty the arrival on Mr Martindale's works of more than sixty Chinamen, whom we saw with their bamboo poles across their shoulders, having the whole paraphernalia of the kitchen and bedroom attached to the extreme ends of the pole, in addition to their wardrobe, I believe they have commenced, or are about to commence, to work at the side cutting where all the dirt has to be removed in barrows, but some of the navvies are of opinion that they would carry it better on their shoulders, with their bamboo poles and baskets."

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