Publication Details

Bagnall, K. (2013). Landscapes of memory and forgetting: Indigo and Shek Quey Lee. Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, 6 7-24.


In this illustrated essay I explore the intertwined histories of two rural settlements - Indigo in north-eastern Victoria, Australia, and Shek Quey Lee in Xinhui county, Guangdong, China - to consider how the rich story of Chinese migration and settlement in Australia has been remembered and forgotten, both in China and Australia. With the growth in interest in the history and heritage of the Chinese in Australia over the past twenty years, we can no longer say that it is a "forgotten" history, yet there are still challenges to researching and telling it. One of these is for Chinese Australian history to be seen as integral to the broader narrative of Australia's past. Another is being able to connect the Chinese and Australian parts of the story, to broaden the scope of our research beyond national boundaries to create a truly shared history. This essay suggests that drawing on the small stories of individual people is one way to bring together the connections across time and place, and between landscapes and people often thought of as distant and fundamentally different.