Television

The Fantasy Goldfields of New Gold Mountain

We are on the Ballarat diggings in early September 1857, the eve of the Chinese “Moon Festival”, when SBS television’s New Gold Mountain begins. Using a murder mystery to drive the plot—a disembowelled corpse has been discovered—this historical drama aims to give the viewpoint of Chinese participants in Australia’s gold rush. SBS adopts a surprising position on Asian gold seekers. The main Chinese characters work for a Canton-based syndicate, called “The Brotherhood”, which like the fabled Tong societies of California organises crime across the gold fields. A fluent English speaker, the Chinese community’s headman, Leung Wei Shing, is the Brotherhood’s…

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