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Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Melbourne

Australia, Chinese Chamber of Commerce Members Badge, Reverse

Image: Australia, Chinese Chamber of Commerce Members Badge, Reverse

Source: Museum Victoria

According to The Australian People (ed. James Jupp, p.206), the involvement of Chinese in business and commerce created a successful middle class who formed organisations to protect business and social interests and the Chinese identity. Such organisations were partly commercial, such as the Chinese Chambers of Commerce, partly regional and partly political. Organisations based on the Chinese region of origin (tongs) were common to all expatriat Chinese. These included the See Yap Society and Kong Chew Society, founded in Melbourne in the 1850s. Such societies looked after the welfare of people from particular regions of China.

After 1901 many tongs declined and gave way to pan-Chinese societies. These included the Young China League (1904) and the Chinese National Alliance of Melbourne (1904), both founded in Melbourne. In 1912 the Chinese Chamber of Commerce was formed in Melbourne. The Chamber sent William Ah Ket to represent Australian Chinese at the opening of the first Chinese parliament in Beijing (Peking) in 1912. The Melbourne and Sydney Chamber of Commerce maintained close relations with the republican government of China until China declined into civil war in the 1920s.

References:
Jupp, James, Ed., (2001). The Australian People, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

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