Publication Details

Bagnall, K. (2014). Picnics and politics. Inside Story, 24 (January), 1-1.


IN FEBRUARY 1912 Chinese around Australia celebrated the founding of the new Chinese republic following the downfall of the Qing dynasty. In Perth, a chartered steamer flying the republican flag took a group of more than 300 on a river excursion to Applecross. In Townsville, a day of celebrations began with fireworks and flag-raising, followed by a picnic lunch and foot-races at Cluden. Adelaide’s Chinese drove out to the hills, where they lunched, competed in sports races and listened to tunes played by a Chinese string band. The streets of Melbourne’s Chinatown were festooned with flags and electric lights, and a large picnic was held on the bay in Aspendale. In Sydney, a picnic at Clontarf was enjoyed by more than 3000 of the city’s Chinese residents and their European friends; amid the eating and drinking, community leaders gave speeches rejoicing in the possibilities of the new China.