One of the main driving forces behind this racism was competition on the goldfields. For example, initial racism centred on gold-seekers from the United States. With their experience gained on the Californian goldfields, the Americans were active and successful in Australia, not only in finding gold but in business too. This created some unease, especially from the British who had claimed Australia as theirs. Foreigners like the Americans were constantly arriving on their land to search for gold at potential places they had not discovered themselves.
still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, `That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.'
So he waited sad and wistful only Clancy stood his friend
`I think we ought to let him come,' he said;
`I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred. .'
There was ignorance about Chinese customs and culture, and the Chinese seemed very strange and different to the European diggers. The people at the diggings were suspicious of them and resentful of their methods of mining. The appearance of the Chinese, with their pigtails and unfamiliar clothes, their habit of going barefoot and of carrying loads hanging from bamboo poles carried across their shoulders, their religion, all made them the target of a great deal of racism and prejudice. Local Chinese societies came into being, to advise newly arrived Chinese about how to fit in.