Arthur Gar-Lock Chang

Arthur Gar-Lock Chang

Born in China in 1922 Arthur was brought to this country in 1935 on a student visa, aged 13. Living in Tingha, the tin mining town, he remembers the first night he moved in with dad. His father had no bed, he slept on the floor, but he made up a makeshift bed for Arthur by laying a hard door over some old boxes. The tin roof made it baking hot in summer, but freezing in winter.

Arthur was sponsored by his boss so he was given a certificate of exemption from the dictation test. If he stopped working for the boss he would have to leave. But during the war years Arthur worked under contract to a white boss he offended. “He ordered his son to have me deported.”

Arthur escaped but still experienced the tough double standards of working life in Australia for Chinese. He was the voice of many seamen who wanted to stay after WWII and he took immigration minister Arthur Calwell to court twice to prevent unfair deportation of wartime refugees. He helped change public opinion leading up to the end of the White Australia Policy.

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