Walking for Gold – Serendipity

Do you enjoy the concept of serendipity? – ‘the discovery of desirable but unsought for discoveries’.

Often the discoveries come as welcome and remarkable surprises.

Sometimes they are even connected to your current life situation, family history or your work.

Recently, within 24 hours, I came across two people whose families had a direct connection to the children’s historical novel I’m working on with Walker Books.

The story, Walking for gold, is set in the mid-eighteen hundreds when more than 16,000 Chinese braved the voyage to South Australia. They then walked approximately 500 kms from the South Australian port of Robe to the Victorian goldfields, carrying all their belongings in baskets hung from poles across their shoulders, or pushing them in wooden barrows.

Chinese-walking-to-goldfields well

One night, I sat next to a Iady whose Chinese ancestors had made the trek from Robe to Ballarat, as do the characters in my manuscript. At one point, she said that her ancestors had ‘Anglicised their Chinese name,’ probably hoping it would aid assimilation.

Then the following morning, my chiropractor mentioned that her family owned a property in the south-east of South Australia. ‘My father told me the Chinese must’ve walked through our property in the early days,’ she said. ‘And I remember there was an old well it and lots of broken Chinese artifacts and coins about.’


I wrote the fictionalised story of Yong, a twelve-year-old Chinese character and his father from the comfort of my own home.

Those like Yong, his father and thousands of others were the ones who made the history, enduring great hardships in their struggle to find gold.

It was great to hear the two serendipitous snippets. Somehow it helped to humanize the thousands of nameless faces and made connections over time.


Have you experienced any serendipitous situations? Were any connected to a particular situation or project?

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