Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

History repeats: 'Boat people' on the Afghan and the Tampa


Unit title:
History repeats - 'Boat people' on the Afghan and the Tampa

Year level:
Middle secondary

Key learning areas:
Studies of society and environment,

Curriculum emphasis:
From: Studies in Asia: A Statement for Australian Schools:
- Contemporary issues
- Likely implications of closer Asia-Australia relationships.

Duration:
Two - three 50 minute lessons

Description:
Students investigate the Afghan incident of 1888, where a ship, the Afghan, with a load of Chinese passengers from Hong Kong was refused permission to land the passengers on Australian soil. This controversy is compared to the Tampa crisis of August/September 2001.

Teacher background material
The following links provide an introduction and overview of the topics covered in this unit:
- Brief History of the Chinese in Australia on the Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation website.
- 'Afghan incident, 1888' a background article on the Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation website about the political controversy and protest that occurred when a ship, the Afghan, was refused permission to land its passengers - Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong - in Melbourne and Sydney.
- See the Discovering Democracy Kit - Middle Secondary Units - 'Getting Things Done'. Note: Discovering Democracy Kit should be in every school in Australia for further information see the Discovering Democracy website. From the main menu, click on the pavilion, then go to the 'Inside the Pavilion' section, Keeping Australia White.
- Newspaper articles on the Tampa crisis of August/September 2001.

Student outcomes:
Students will:
- identify some of the legal and social issues related to restricting the entry of certain people to Australia
- analyse the role of public opinion and of key individuals in the Afghan and Tampa incidents.

Materials required:
- Computer/s with access to the internet. Alternatively could use a cached version of the site, paste the database information into a spreadsheet program such as Excel or print relevant pages and copy onto overheads or handouts.
- Newspaper cuttings of the Tampa crisis.
- Poster paper.
- 'One Destiny' CD ROM.

Procedure:
Read the following articles to learn what happened in the Afghan incident of 1888. Take note of the social and legal issues, the people involved (groups and individuals, such as Mei Quong Tart, Lo Pak, Duncan Gillies and Henry Parkes) and the outcome of the incident.
- 'Afghan incident, 1888' background information on the Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation website.
- 'Federation and discrimination' on the Harvest of Endurance Scroll website
- 'One Destiny' CD ROM (part of the Discovering Democracy project. Centenary Edition of this CD sent to all schools in 2001). From the main menu, click on the pavilion, then go to the 'Inside the Pavilion' section, Keeping Australia White. See sections 'Federation and a White Australia' and 'Incidents in 1888'.

Prepare an investigative report on the Afghan incident. Present this as either a newspaper feature on poster paper (include headlines, article, comment, letter to the editor, pictures) or a television current affairs program role-play, although there was no television in 1888! - (include report, interviews, cross 'live' to the scene, comments from experts).

Next, compare the Afghan incident to the Tampa crisis of August/Setember 2001. In what ways were they similar? In what ways were they different? Use newspaper cuttings from your library file or use the link below.
- 'Tampa' information in the 7:30 Report archives on the ABC website.

Present your findings in the form of a table.

Extension activities:
Investigate the policies the main political parties on the issue of immigration and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

Acknowledgements:
'One Destiny' CD ROM

Author:
Karen Dowling

Summary of websites used in this lesson:
Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation website - http
- Brief History of the Chinese in Australia - education/history.htm
- Historical backgrounds - education/about.htm

'Harvest of Endurance Scroll' on the National Museum of Australia website - http://www.nma.gov.au/harvest/index.htm

ABC website - http://www.abc.net.au