1/10/16

The Fine Fat Saucy Chinaman


In the mid 19th century, over 40,000 Chinese immigrant came to Australia when gold was discovered and in 1861, they were the largest group of foreigners and constituted 3.3 per cent of the Australian population. They were immediately targets of prejudice and even had poems and songs written to mock them.

A poem attributed to Charles Thatcher from the Australian gold rush era, The Fine Fat Saucy Chinaman, makes light of the Chinaman's place in society. It notes that the Chinaman works hard seeking gold. He only gets the little pieces that whites leave, butt he is praised for his perseverance that enables him to pay his way. It is sung to the tune of Henry Russell's "The Fine Old English Gentleman,"a poem attributed to Charles Dickens.


Here are two recorded performances of The Fine Fat Suacy Chinaman.

One performance by Warren Fahey is part of a collection of Gold Rush era songs.
 A second performance of the poem as a song is on a blog post that provides some historical context.

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