William Henry Foster

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'William Henry Foster is associated with ' located at these coordinates -37.5621071, 143.8561493

Date of Birth: 1832
Date of Death: 18/03/1894
Also known as: w.h. foster
Related Resource URL: http://wiki.prov.vic.gov.au/index.php/W.H._Foster%27s_Letterbook,_Reports_and_Diary_-_Letterbook
User Tags: william henry foster, w.h. foster, foster, chinese protector, protector, goldfields

William Henry Foster was born in Manchester, UK, in 1832.

He began his career in Victoria as a cadet officer in the mounted police, served on the gold escort and became senior lieutenant of police before being appointed a Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Goldfields, based in the area around present day Beaufort, north of Ballarat. In the reorganisation of the goldfields after Eureka, J A Panton, Commissioner on the Bendigo goldfields, had proposed and then devised the Chinese Protectorate, a system the Victorian government then set up to contain the increasing numbers of Chinese on the goldfields and to protect them from the attacks of the European miners. W H Foster was appointed the first Chinese Protector and Warden for the Ballarat district Ballarat on 1 September 1855 and was also a police magistrate.

The Chinese Protector reported on the Chinese population to the colonial government, collected the special taxes on the Chinese, supplied interpreters when Chinese people went to court or dealt with government agencies, supervised the Chinese villages and appointed ‘headmen’ from the local Chinese population to ensure regulations etc were enforced. The protector also had relevant government notices and legislation translated for the Chinese residents of his district.

W.H. Foster's Letterbook, Reports and Diary - Letterbook can be found in the collection of Public Record Office Victoria. A digitised copy of the index and letterbook is accessible on the PROV Wiki. This diary documents the life of a government official living and working on the Ballarat goldfields.

In his role as Protector, Foster often stood up for the rights of Chinese people in Ballarat, as is evident from events in the diary – for example, requesting a Chinese wing to be built at the hospital, seeking help for a Chinese person who being injured was unable to work and supporting reduction of the taxes that Chinese people were forced to pay.

Foster married Catherine McLean Paterson (B:1836, D:8/3/1895, Ballarat, VIC, A:58) in 1858. Their children were as follows:
John Frederick FOSTER (B:1859, Ballarat, VIC, D:18/3/1882 (Mining accident at Milparinka NSW) A:23)
Isabella Helen FOSTER (B:1860, Ballarat, VIC)
Arthur A FOSTER (B:1861, overseas, probably UK)
Constance Marion FOSTER (B:23/5/1864, Ballarat, VIC, D:1874)
Unnamed FOSTER (B:27/5/1866, Sale, VIC)
Francis Leonard FOSTER (B:7/6/1868, Sale, VIC)
Caroline Mary FOSTER (B:1870, Sale, VIC)
Lilian Avice FOSTER (B:1870, Sale, VIC)
Katherine Eleanor FOSTER (B:1874, Sale, VIC)
Thomas Barham FOSTER (B:1875, Sale, VIC)
Edith Ursula – ?? - mentioned in Catherine’s Will but not in public records.

Research courtesy Liz Denny and Neil Robinson

William Henry Foster has been tagged on these pages:

W.H. Foster's Letterbook, Reports and Diary - IndexThe part "fckLR" of the query was not understood.

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