‘What’s this one? I asked him, lifting the small basket that was decorated with Chinese coins and tassels and beads.
‘Ah that special basket. Bring from China. My mother’s basket. To remind me where I come from, MaMa say. That basket for special sewing. For fine stitching. Someone maybe need torn clothes repaired or fine embroidery that need special threads and needles.”
Danny isn’t impressed when he has to go with his uncle to repair tents and clothes in the goldfields. He wants to tell his uncle that sewing is women’s work, but he knows that he has to respect his uncle and go with him anyway. Out on the goldfields, Danny sees the work his uncle does, and soon learns a new respect.
Seams of Gold shares the experience of a Chinese man and his nephew during the goldrush of the 1850s. Told from the first person point of view of Danny, the story provides a unique perspective on just one of the roles played by the Chinese people who worked on the goldfields, and touches on their treatment at the hands of white miners.
Part of the Making tracks series, Seams of Gold is suitable for readers aged 8 to 12.
Seams of Gold, by Christopher Cheng
National Museum of Australia Press, 2007