Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

Digital Documents Record

1249 Reverend W.J. Eddy, secretary of the Council of Churches for Victoria, supports Mrs Poon Gooey

Full Document Caption:
Reverend W.J. Eddy, secretary of the Council of Churches for Victoria, argues that Mrs Poon Gooey’s circumstances were exceptional and that she could remain in Australia to care for her sick 22 month child without establishing a precedent. He suggests that Australian Christian missions in China might be damaged if Australia mistreated ‘reputable’ Chinese in Australia. He also argues that immigration restrictions which allow the entry of Chinese men without their wives was ‘unjust and immoral’ and that it only encourage, what he considered to be the undesirable outcome, mixed marriages and the birth of illegitimate ‘half-castes’ who would add to the criminal classes.

Source: ‘Mrs Poon Gooey: Preacher’s protest’, Argus (Victoria), 7/4/19113

Region: Date From: 1911 To: 1911
Victoria - Geelong    

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GEELONG, Sunday. - In the Fenwick-street Baptist Church to-night, before a large congregation, the Rev. W. J. Eddy, secretary of the Council of Churches for Victoria, referred to the Poon Gooey case. After a review of it, Mr. Eddy declared: - "The latest suggestion of the secretary of the department that the sick child of Mrs. Poon Gooey, 22 months old, might be left behind, having the right to remain in the Commonwealth, savours of heartlessness. Mrs. Poon Gooey's case is clearly an exceptional one, and the government, by virtue of the powers conferred by the Immigration Act, could permit her to remain without justly incurring the charge of establishing a precedent. Moreover, a serious risk was being incurred of injuring the Christian missions in China, and arousing feeling against Australia, such as already existed in India, by compelling her to go. Any law which allows a reputable Chinese trader to live nearly twenty years in Australia, build up a business, pay rates and taxes, and maintain a good reputation, ought not to forbid his obtaining a wife from his own country. The law which admits Chinese immigrants and refused admission to their wives is unjust and immoral, and encourages immorality. Under such a law you get either mixed marriages, which are undesirable, or immorality, accompanied by the birth of illegitimate half-castes, who could only be expected to swell the ranks of the criminal classes. Mr. Poon Gooey's quiet submission to the law would greatly assist a movement for its amendment."