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Help transcribe Chinese travel records into Victorian history

Details from 1933 for Tommy Hoy, Chin Sing Toy, Ah Yen, Ah Way and Doolah Mahomed.
Bill Barlow
30 March 2019
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Volunteers are invited to help create a searchable index of the presently inaccessible records of Chinese travel to Victoria from 1904-59.

Robyn Ansell of Chinese-Australian Family Historians of Victoria(CAFHOV) describes below how you can help with this CAFHOV project, as part of the Australian History Festival.

Robyn will also be giving will a presentation on Saturday 13 April at GSV on ‘Chinese Australian Family History’. You need to book for this and more details are on our website http://www.gsv.org.au



Sunday 5 May 2019 10.30 am to 4.00 pm


What was the Certificate of Exemption from the Dictation Test? Between 1904 and 1959, customs officials recorded the details of Chinese and Indian Victorians who travelled overseas under a certificate exempting them from having to sit the notorious dictation test on their return to Australia. They recorded the names, ages, nationalities, occupations, residencies and shipping details of these people. Currently all of these details are locked away, unsearchable, unless you know the date of issue of a particular certificate. We plan to change that by creating a searchable index of these records and we’d like you to help!

Bring your laptop or tablet to the Chinese Museum in Melbourne and help us to transcribe the key details from these three registers using our specially designed online system.

The day will include two specialist talks.

  • Tips for undertaking Chinese Australian family history.
  • The historical significance of these registers.

You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the Chinese Museum’s five floors of displays about the history and heritage of the Chinese in Australia.

What will I do on the day?

You will be assigned some documents to transcribe and transfer to an online database. On the day, you will provided with all the training to help you with this task. We need people who can enter information into a computer and people who can read old style handwriting.

  • If you have both skills, we need you
  • If you are comfortable with computers but have little experience reading old script, we need you.
  • If you can read old script but don’t like computers, we still need you.

We will be helping each other as much as possible.

Where will this be happening?

Chinese Museum
22 Cohen Place,
Melbourne, Victoria

Entry by ticket to the museum ($11 / $9 concession).

For further information contact our Secretary: info@cafhov.com.

Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria Inc.


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