Transcribing Chinese Travels into Victoria's History

The Victorian CEDT Registers
Importance of the Victorian CEDT Registers

Digitise and transcribe the Victorian Registers of CEDT (Certificates Exempting from the Dictation Test').

Between 1904 and 1959 customs officials recorded the names, ages, nationalities, occupations, residences and travel details of Chinese (and some Indian and Syrian) Victorians who travelled overseas under a certificate which exempted them from sitting the notorious dictation text on their return – otherwise known as a CEDT.

Currently the records are stored at the National Archives of Australia in North Melbourne. The only copy is in physical form, and there is no index to its content.

These records are highly valuable sources for family historians searching for their ancestors who returned from China from 1904 to 1959. The profile of this data would yield valuable social and demographic insights of early migrants in Victoria.

The project aims to digital and publish these records in a searchable form - for researchers, historian and the public who have interest in migration and family history.

The transcription process would not be possible, had it not been for the efforts of many volunteers, and in particular, members of CAFHOV (Chinese Australian Family Historian of Victoria).

Project time line

A summary of recent and scheduled activities

May 5, 2019

Chindex - Victoria CEDT Transcription day
scheduled May 5, 2019 Melbourne Chinese museum

Mar 22, 2019

Planning Transcription launch
confirmed date, collaterial, publicity, venues for May 5 launch
spec and commenced development of Chindex web site

Feb 19, 2019

Develop training materials
develop instructions, and help materials
specify volunteers' on-board briefing process

Jan 4, 2019

Planning transciption Trial event
coordinate with Melbourne Chinese museum for event launch
registed with Heritage Festival 2019
media and communication plans

Aug 20, 2018

Testing CEDT data entry system
test data capture system
redesign user interface

Jun 10, 2018

Alternative tech
decision to develop a data capture system for Victorian CEDT
team discussed needs for voluteers for transription

Mar 8, 2018

Photo capture
reshoot three Registers for higher resolution
review recursive script quality

Feb 25, 2018

NAA approval
copy right clearance from NAA
plan to use Scribe platform for data capture

Feb 12, 2018

Team Transcribathon
team discuss the need and value of digitalising the Victoria CEDT Registers.