Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

Chinese Australians: A guide to the holdings of the NSW Office of the National Archives of Australia


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Series No: A1015s Date From: 1859 Date To: 1908
Series Title: COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, SYDNEY. OUTWARD LETTER BOOKS, NOTICES AND INSTRUCTIONS
Description: This series consists of two letter books containing notices and instructions to officers. The first volume has a contents date range from 8 Sept 1859 to March 22 1883 and has 509 pages. Pages 431 to 507 have not been used. The outward letters are copies on fragile tissue fine paper. They are chronologically arranged. The second volume has a contents date range of 31 March 1883 to 22 Dec 1888 and consists of 796 pages, many of them unused. Both volumes have alphabetical indexes in the front.
Sample Items: Volume 1: 1860 – 1883, page 376, Aug 1881: ‘The question of the tare on opium having been brought under my notice, I have decided that 17 & 8/16 lbs per case of 120 tins be allowed from the 31 July 1882. You will be good enough to inform the Landing Waiters, Gaugers and Examining Officers.’
Volume 1: 1860-1883, page 405, 16 Dec 1882: Medicinal tinctures for bona fide use without opium to be free of duty
Volume 2: 1883–1893, page 30, 8 Nov 1883: Exemption from Poll Tax for holders of letters of naturalisation issued in another colony
Volume 2: 1883-1893, page 44, 22 Mar 1884: Petty smuggling by Chinese must be checked; Influx of Chinese Restriction Act must be enforced against all Chinese forming part of ships crews Volume 2: 1883-1893, page 48, 20 May 1884: Negligence of Custom Officers in matter of duty on a parcel of opium per Sophocles
Volume 2, 1883-1893, page 68, n.d.:Transcript: To the Landing surveyor: ‘I notice that a Chinese was convicted lately at Melbourne of smuggling opium secreted in a chest constructed with a double or false bottom. The high rate of duty on opium will doubtless lead to attempts at fraud, and I therefore call attention to the above.’
Keywords:

opium
poll tax
smuggling
Chinese seamen
Customs negligence
Customs duties
legislation
Sophocles
transcripts