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Chinese Whispers : In Search of Ivy - Alison Choy Flannigan

Chinese Whispers

In Search of Ivy

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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!'


A good read


An interesting read, delving into unknown family history as far back as the MING Dynasty and then onto Australian History. What a web it weaves. I would be happy to read a sequel.



A compelling story of triumph over adversity


The author details the account of early Chinese immigration to Australia lured by the north Queensland gold rush of the late nineteenth century. What follows is a forensically researched and factual account of one family's journey, the struggles endured and triumphs achieved along the way. What started as a research project into the family tree results in a compelling and riveting story exposing the entrepreneurial and tenacious qualities of the author's forbears. I look forward to the next instalment following the family's evolution and experiences through the twentieth century.



A true Australian story - exceptionally well researched


A genuine Australian immigration story, that is far removed from the current immigration boom. A story of love, dreams and hardship during the Goldrush years. A must read for every high school student to gain valuable insights into the less known history of early Chinese immigration and their contribution to Australian society.



learned things I never knew about Australia


Really fascinating historical story, I learned things I never knew anout Australia.




4.8 4


'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

ISBN: 9780648002024
ISBN-10: 0648002020
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 214
Published: 8th March 2018
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 22.91 x 15.19  x 1.14
Weight (kg): 0.29