China in My Eyes

50 years of continued friendship

Life in Beijing in 1965

Colin and Alyce were the first Australians to visit, work and live in the People’s Republic Of China between 1964-66. They went to Peking and signed a 2 year contract to teach English at the Beijing Foreign Languages University.  They went 4 months pregnant with their first child and signed a 2 year contract to teach English. Entering a famine, political conflict and an Asian communist country defied their country and family. The reason they went was simple. Colin was beginning his PHD in The Rise of Peking Opera and Zhou Enlai, the foreign affairs minister under Mao Zedong, issued a decree that Chinese people should learn a European language and thus be able to speak for themselves. Zhou was tired of correcting the interpreter as he was fluent in French and capable of many diplomatic conversations. Under protocol, he was forced to use an interpreter, so he sent for any European that applied for a job. Despite being Australian and Australia not having an embassy in China, nor did it recognise China as a country, opting for Taiwan. Colin applied and got a job with his new pregnant wife and went very quickly to China.

 

 

Colin Mackerras slides and negatives taken during their time in China 1964-66

Slides and negatives taken during Colin and Alye’s time in China 1964-66

Colin and Alyce Mackerras's slides from 1964

Slides and negatives taken during their time in China 1964-66

Alyce MAckerras with newborn Stephen Feb 1964 Beijing

Alyce Mackerras with newborn Stephen Feb 1964 Beijing

Colin Mackerras with Stephen in Beijing 1965

Colin Mackerras with Stephen in Beijing 1965

Beijing people and scenery 1965-6. Photo taken outside Colin and Alyce's apartment window at the Friendship Hotel

Beijing people and scenery 1965-6. Photo taken outside Colin and Alyce’s apartment window at the Friendship Hotel

 

friends over

 

Colin and Stephen

Colin and Stephen

Alyce and Stephen Mackerras. Beijing 1965

Alyce and Stephen Mackerras. Beijing 1965

 

 

 

Aiyi and Stephen

Aiyi and Stephen

Zhang Hanzhi

Zhang Hanzhi helped Colin and Alyce with visits to the hospital and check ups for the baby


Alyce Mackerras Beijing 1965

Alyce Mackerras Beijing 1965

Trip to Beidahe August 1965

Summer Place Ruins 1966

 

Links to other pages under the section ‘Life in China 1964-66’

Stephen 

First Students

Street Scenes

Places Visited

Beidahe

Signs of Revolution

Wuhan Diary

Various travels 1970s & 80s