CHINESE FURNITURE MAKERS, LITTLE BOURKE STREET, 24 APRIL 1880, ARTIST UNKNOWN, MELBOURNE, PRINTED THE AUSTRALASIAN SKETCHER, STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA PRINT – TAASA Review September 2019

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This article was originally found in the September 2019 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 28, Issue 3, Page 12).

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Chinese Australian furniture manufacturers and workers originated in Guangdong’s Pearl River Delta counties.

Guangzhou, or Canton, in the upper reaches of the Delta, had been a manufacturing centre of products for Western export since the 17th century, and had enjoyed an officially sanctioned monopoly on China’s foreign trade.

Various goods–including porcelain, silverware, lacquerware, silken fabric and furniture–were produced here for sale on European and, later, North American and Australian markets. Yet this commercial activity was declining during the 19th century...