Publication Details

Bagnall, K. (2013). The petition of Bah Fook of Sofala, 1866. Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, 6 123-128.


This article introduces an unusual and significant historical document from the goldfields of colonial New South Wales – a petition to the Governor of New South Wales signed by more than 270 Chinese men, predominantly goldminers, living at Sofala on the Turon River goldfields in 1866. The petition concerned the unfair conviction of Bah Fook (百福), a fellow miner, for injuring a young white girl in a fight with her mother. The petition provides an interesting window into race relations on the Australian goldfields of the 1860s, highlighting the close and personal interactions of Chinese and white residents and the agency demonstrated by Chinese in addressing perceived injustices. This article was prepared with the assistance of the Hill End and Tambaroora Gathering Group.