Through the eyes of a Chinese boy Shu Cheong, we hear the story of life on the goldfields for the Chinese miners. Set in the years 1860-61 at Lambing Flat (Now called Young in NSW) the Chinese miners are successfully working hard to extract the precious metal but they have a different way of life to the other miners and they speak a different language and they mine very differently, often at sites other miners have abandoned. This causes much antagonism towards the Chinese miners and soon riots erupt.
“The white miners carried flags of their countries, but they also had a large new flag. I cannot forget that flag. It had a white cross over a blue square, stars, black coloured words that said ROLL UP on each side, left and right, and the words of hating-NO CHINESE-boldly displayed. Uncle saw the banner, and just for a moment he slowed. ‘No. Not good,’ he sighed. ‘Must go quickly, and far.’
Tension grows between European and Chinese miners at the Lambing Flat goldfields in New South Wales. Twelve-year-old Shu Cheong records his thoughts and experiences as he witnesses the brutal anti-Chinese demonstrations held by white miners. But at the same time, he discovers that not all white Australians hold the views of the violent mob.
This is a story of hardship, but ultimately of hope, as it traces the Chinese experience of the Australian goldfields.