Tasmania was spared most of the ugly racial hatred and violence that occurred in the mainland colonies. However, tensions did rise here in Branxholm in the Spring of 1877 when a group of Chinese miners on their way to Ruby Flats was stopped by a group of angry Europeans.

The confrontation here mirrored what was happening in other parts of the world then–and now. Local workers objected to the idea that immigrants, prepared to work for less, would take their jobs.

Here however, the reality was different: the Chinese took jobs that the Europeans were not interested in. Attempts to mount a racist ant-immigration campaign struggled here.

Although Tasmania did eventually follow the mainland colonies in resticting immigration, the measures here were belated and not as severe as elsewhere. When calls were made to further restrict Chinese immigration in the lead up to Federation, Tasmania was the dissenting voice.