South Flows the Pearl is a fascinating journey through the history of Chinese Australia. Taking the reader from Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta to Sydney, Perth, Cairns, Darwin, Bendigo and beyond, it explores the struggles and successes of Chinese people in Australia since the 1850s, as told in their own words.
This unique book was written by an insider. Mavis Yen was born in Perth in 1916, the daughter of a Chinese father and an Australian mother. She lived in both countries and understood what it meant to navigate two worlds, to live through war and revolution, and to experience racial discrimination. In the 1980s she began interviewing elderly Chinese Australians, recording hours of conversations. Her intimate understanding of their languages and life experiences encouraged them to share their stories. Published here for the first time, they will change how you think about Australian history.
“This is a book that offers a new way to be Australian in this country, and casts Chinese Australians as the protagonists in their own stories… When people agree to tell their stories, they speak to the future. Whether or not we listen is up to us.” — Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson, University of Sydney