Tag: Tasmania

Celebrating the birthdays of venerable elders

It’s the Year of the Tiger, and today’s my birthday. Four of us in my little family are tigers, born 1962, 1974, 1998 and 2010 (I’ll leave you to guess which year I was born).

With birthday thoughts in mind, here are a three stories celebrating the long lives of some early Chinese Australians.

George Moo-hong of Young

Market gardener George Moo-hong of Young celebrated his 104th birthday on 29 July 1954. He was born in around 1850 and arrived in Australia from China at the age of 25 (c.1875). In 1954 it was reported that he’d been living in the Young area for about 70 years.

Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July 1954

James Chung Gon of Launceston

Tasmanian patriarch James Chung Gon celebrated his 96th birthday on 23 July 1950; he was born c.1854. Chung Gon had started his life in Australia almost 70 years earlier, working as a tin miner then orchardist. He married in China, but his wife joined him in Tasmania and the couple had 11 children. The Tasmanian press noted the family’s celebration of the occasion, as it had each year since his 90th birthday.

Mercury, 22 July 1950

Willie Chung Sing of Hobart

Hobart resident Willie Chung Sing celebrated his 82nd birthday in late December 1945. Born in around 1863, he arrived in Tasmania as a young man in 1887, working for Ah Ham & Co. in Hobart, then running his own businesses in Launceston and Wellington (New Zealand), then once again returning to work as general manager at Ah Ham & Co. for 36 years. He made regular trips back to China, where his wife and children remained, and in 1946 was heading back again to rejoin his family.

Mercury, 3 January 1946

Chinese cricketers?

It’s the week after Christmas, it’s stinking hot and the cricket’s on. As I write, Ricky Ponting has just made 50 batting against the South Africans. Yesterday Kerry O’Keefe dropped this comment about the Australian cricket captain into an article in the Daily Telegraph:

Ricky Pon Ting did his Chinese heritage proud with a clinical ton on the opening day. The Pon Tings have been mining tin in the north east of Tasmania for over a century and I’m certain they would have celebrated the achievement of one of their own with traditional oriental dignity.

A somewhat half-hearted Google search has brought up no other mention of Ponting’s Chinese heritage, except someone in a World of Warcraft forum saying that both Ponting and David Boon have ‘fairly old Chinese–Australian heritage’. Hmmm, can anyone else shed light any light on this?