In Search of Ivy uncovers the fascinating story of the Lai family's immigration from China to Australia and their interaction with Aboriginals and Europeans making up the local Australian community.
Part historical recreation, part detective fact-gathering, the book pieces together the past in a series of vignettes linking Canton (now Guangzhou) and Hong Kong with Cooktown and Thursday Island in Far North Queensland, bringing to life the colourful atmosphere of China and the famous Palmer River Gold Rush in the late nineteenth century.
Through the eyes of the author, as she searches for the history of her mother Ivy - the inspiration behind both the family's journey and this book - the reader is invited to make the sometimes harrowing journey from one of the world's oldest cultures to a raw, new land, where the struggles of emergent multiculturalism are documented in painstaking and absorbing detail. A story of human courage, hard work and endurance in a strange land, it will resonate for anyone who has, at some stage, made a life-changing journey or dreams of doing so.
'If you are interested in history, memoir, or cultural and racial reconciliation, this book is for you!'
'We discover so much about the history of Chinese immigration to these shores ... Alison Choy Flannigan has woven a story of intricate detail. Her research and scholarship give the book a rich foundation on which she builds a memorable family history. Her material includes photographs, original documentation and press reports of events at the time ...'
Anna Foster, YouByYou Books