St Mark’s Church, Currawong

The Roberts family built the bluestone Anglican Church 10 km northwest of Murrumburrah in 1918-19 adjacent to Currawong Station, where James Roberts sheltered 1,274 Chinese miners from the Lambing Flat riots in 1861.

The neat little cemetery in the grounds of the Church, Currawong contains inscriptions dating from 1919 to the present day. The monuments are all in good condition and legible and the grounds are well maintained.



On 30 June 1861 some 3,000 Europeans marched against Chinese miners on Lambing Flat goldfields, attacking their two main camps at Blackguard Gully and Back Creek. They carried a flag with the words ‘Roll-up Roll-up No Chinese’, which is on display in the Lambing Flat Folk Museum. The riot led to the passing of legislation to restrict access to goldfields to ‘aliens’ and to refuse miners rights to aliens. The violence of these riots resulted in the government responding to community concern by passing a Chinese Immigration Restriction Act and at an intercolonial conference held in 1880 and 1881 uniform restrictive immigration laws were adopted. The march of the Europeans through the town on 30 June 1861 and the later declaration of the Riot Act (the first official reading of the act in NSW) were of immense significance to the history of the town of Young. In 1861 Lambing Flat had its name changed to Young.

Not everyone was hostile to the Chinese. Local landowner James Roberts and his wife Elizabeth provided shelter and food for 1,276 fearful Chinese for two rain sodden weeks at his property at ‘Currawong’. Some Chinese stayed under Roberts’ protection at ‘Currawong’ for up to a month, until it was safe to return.

However, this events brought on drastic official intervention to restore order to the field, largely at the expense of the Chinese miners’ rights.


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