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The Convict's Girl and the Canton Man

Charley Bates enlisted in 1915. It’s a little surprising that he was accepted, given his appearance, his ‘black hair, brown eyes and dark complexion’. No matter that Charley was the grandson of convicts. Some 48 per cent of the 416,000 Australians who enlisted were descended from convicts. But Charley’s family background was even more colourful. His father was a Cantonese-born gardener. And generally men of mixed European and Chinese heritage were not permitted to serve.

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