21) Joss House

Chinese Communities Living On The Australian Gold Fields

21) Chinese Joss House
21)  Chinese Joss House Altar

It is believed there were about 7,000 Chinese people living and working on the NSW Araleun goldfields in the 1800s Australian Gold Rush days. The Chinese were often badly treated and being mostly non-english speaking, in those days, tended to form communities for protection and encouragement.

Prayers to Health Wealth and Prosperity

Whenever enough Chinese people congregated in one area for long enough they would build a Joss House as a place for worshipping Hon Sing. He was the founder of the Ming dynasty, a period that is considered the greatest in Chinese history. Hon Sing preached the three virtues of Unity, Courage and Honesty.

The texts in the Joss House read, "Welcome to all who enter and worship here ~ Temple of Hon Sing ~ Good Health, wealth and prosperity". There is a poem on the beauty of the area and a philosophical text on the virtues of doing good and evil.

The Joss House was built as a portal, or window of Heaven, that spirits could descend from. The roof is tilted up at the edges to deflect evil spirits which might land on the roof and slide down. The gargoyles on the roof near the doorway were there to deter evil spirits. The temple altar has three statues, each with three cups, three plates and three "pieces of fruit".

Read More About Chinese Life On The Australian Goldfields

Follow the links below to The Gold Rush Colony's Gold History & Culture Resource Book to discover more about how the Chinese people contributed, lived and coped on the, often wild and harsh, early Australian goldfields environment.