India, China, Australia: trade & society 1788-1850

Imagine a movie set, with a cast of diverse characters and a sequence of shifting scenes: shrewd merchants from Calcutta, lascars and coolies, peripatetic army officers and civil servants; ladies’ dresses of fine Chinese silk and convicts’ slops of coarse Indian cotton, Anglo-Chinese silver on Anglo-Indian tables, Chinese ceramics, tea, rice and preserved ginger; verandahed bungalows hung with cane blinds and paper lanterns, in gardens bright with China roses and shaded with sweet-fruited loquats. These elements combined to fashion Australia’s colonial culture in the early 19th century: trade with India and China was substantial and complex and social links were shaped by the strength and subtlety of family networks linking the British colonies.

10 May 2003 - 23 August 2019

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