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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Embargo 12 noon
13 February 2002
Australia's rich store of Chinese heritage places should become more widely recognised with the help of a new guide, Tracking the Dragon.
Launching the guide in Canberra today, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp MP said, "Australia has almost 200 years of Chinese settlement, which has left us with fascinating heritage sites, many of which are still largely unknown for their Chinese links.
"This new guide will help Australians to uncover the hidden history of these special places."
Dr Kemp said Tracking the Dragon - a guide for finding and assessing Chinese Australian heritage places and an associated internet guide for heritage practitioners, called A toolkit for researching and assessing Chinese Australian Heritage Places, had been prepared by the Australian Heritage Commission.
"Australia has relatively few places that are widely recognised as reflecting the heritage of one of its most successful and long-standing migrant groups," Dr Kemp said.
"These new publications aim to provide practical step-by-step guides to help individuals and communities around Australia identify our Chinese heritage places."
The Minister said the first known Chinese immigrant, a carpenter whose name was recorded as 'Ahuto', arrived in Australia as a free man almost 200 years ago. Many thousands of his countrymen and women followed over the years.
"Today however, apart from obvious Chinatown precincts and occasional temples and burial areas, very few places exist which we easily recognise as reflecting the story of Chinese settlement," Dr Kemp said.
"We need to discover the many as yet unheralded places that will help to shed light on how Chinese Australians worked, lived and contributed over time. Many of these may once have been the sites of great activity such as furniture factories, market gardens, mining areas or shops.
"It is important for the nation as a whole, that these places are found and their significance in our history is understood."
Also attending the launch were the Chairman of the Australian Heritage Commission, Mr Tom Harley, and the President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Professor Alice Tay, AM.
For Tracking the Dragon and the toolkit, plus digital photographs of a range of Chinese Australian heritage places and a backgrounder go to http://www.ahc.gov.au/news
Betacam footage featuring some Chinese heritage places will be available at the launch.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400