A Grave Situation: Burial Practices among the Chinese Diaspora in Queensland, Australia (ca.1870–1930)

Gordon Grimwade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many nineteenth-century Chinese migrants to Pacific Rim countries died far from their home villages. Diverse approaches were adopted to mark graves, possibly anticipating the subsequent, culturally important, repatriation of their bones. This paper evaluates the morphology of grave markers from eight northeast Australian sites and considers reasons for the variations. Physical appraisal of each site was undertaken and, where they exist, cemetery records and allied documentation examined. In an unusual departure from the norm the inscriptions on most identified grave markers rarely indicate date of death. The seemingly meticulous attention to grave identification in some areas contrasts with others where markers are absent. This study indicates divergent approaches to identification and recording of individual graves over time and place. Rather than indicating full-fledged ethnogenesis, wherein Australian Chinese developed new cultural practices, these behaviors suggest that ca.1870–1930 was a transitional period, during which extant cultural processes were adapted to meet immediate needs.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Historical Archaeology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Chinese diaspora
  • Death
  • Graves
  • Repatriation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Grave Situation: Burial Practices among the Chinese Diaspora in Queensland, Australia (ca.1870–1930)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this