While visiting Canberra in January 2021, I looked (again) at a collection of Tasmanian naturalization certificates held in the National Archives of Australia in series A804. Here’s one of the stories found in these records – which I tweeted at the time but have reproduced here for posterity.
Let’s have a look at one of the Tasmanian naturalization certificates from NAA: A804 to see what we can find out. This one caught my eye because it was witnessed by Andrew Inglis-Clark, and it has no annotations related to travel (NAA: A804, 706).
The certificate was issued to Ah One, a gardener from Hobart, on 21 September 1897. He was 38 years old, a native of Canton in the Empire of China, and had lived in Tasmania for seven years. He had applied for naturalization on 17 September 1897.
On the back of the certificate we can see that Ah One swore the required oath on 24 September 1897, before a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, and this was ‘enrolled and recorded’ the same day by the Supreme Court Registrar (No. 706, Bk 5, page 247).
The memorial gives more information about Ah One: he was born at Canton on 1 February 1859; he arrived at Hobart on the Southern Cross in 1890; he could sign his name in English; and his application was endorsed by JG Davies, JP and Mayor of Hobart.
The accompanying correspondence shows that Ah One was one of nine Hobart gardeners who applied for naturalization at the same time through Tinning & Propsting Solicitors, all endorsed by the Mayor of Hobart.
The nine gardeners were: Ah Doo, Ah Look, Ah Now, Ah One, Ah Koon, Hie Mane, Kie Sung, Sing Gin, and Sing None.
The approval process took four days and issuing their naturalization certificates cost the applicants 2s 6d each.
On the back of Ah One’s naturalization certificate in NAA: A804 is the annotation ‘No. 706, Bk 5, page 247’ – which refers to Tasmanian Supreme Court series SC415, which contains copies of denization and naturalization certificates. A copy of Ah One’s certificate is found on pp. 247–8 of Book 5 (SC415/1/5, https://stors.tas.gov.au/SC415-1-5-P247).
Under s 7 of the Aliens Act 1861 (Tas), a copy of each naturalization certificate had to ‘be enrolled for safe custody as of record in the Supreme Court’.
Almost 600 Chinese people were naturalised in Tasmania up to December 1903. Tasmania stopped naturalizing Chinese people after the new Commonwealth Naturalization Act 1903 came into force from 1 January 1904. By contrast, New South Wales and Victoria stopped naturalizing Chinese in the mid-1880s.
Coohey Fue (c. 1875–1920) worked as a market gardener in Devonport in northern Tasmania. He died by suicide on 10 April 1920 (Advocate, 12 April, p. 2; Tasmanian Archives SC195/1/86 Inquest 14257) and was buried by his compatriots in the Latrobe General Cemetery on 12 April (Advocate, 12 April 1920, p. 2; 13 April 1920, p. 2). Coohey Fue was said to have a wife and three or four children in China at the time of his death.
Coohey Fue’s life and passing are connected to two white marble monuments in the Latrobe General Cemetery – but as these memorials only have inscriptions in Chinese there is nothing obviously linking them to ‘Coohey Fue’.
The two monuments appear to have been made from the same materials at the same time, although one is in somewhat poorer condition than the other. The text on them differs only in the deceased’s name, and I believe they were both erected following the death of the man known in English as Coohey Fue.
Searching the Chinese-language newspapers in Trove brings up a few articles that mention the names given on the monuments:
林舉富 (Lam Kui Fu): ‘美利濱中華公會捐賑廣東水災彙録’, Tung Wah Times, 21 August 1915, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226737771 [list of Melbourne donors to Guangdong flood relief; includes 林舉富 and another man who is presumably a brother/cousin 林舉羨]
The text on the monuments includes a number of Chinese cultural terms that are difficult to translate directly into English, including: 公 (Cantonese: gūng, honorific, for a male person), 府君 (Cantonese: fú gwān, honorific, for a person who has died), 庚申 (Cantonese: gāng sān, one of the 60-year cycle/stem-branch cycle).
TAMIOT (the Tombstone and Memorial Inscriptions of Tasmania database) provides the following details about the monuments:
LAM Kui Cheung. Native of: Guangdong Taishun Chung Fa Tsui Village. Monument erected in 1920 – LATROBE CEMETERY, GENERAL SECTION – LATROBE – DEVONPORT – LT04/0865
LAM Kui Fu. Native of: Guangdong Taishun Chung Fa Tsui Village. Monument erected in 1920 – LATROBE CEMETERY, GENERAL SECTION – LATROBE – DEVONPORT – LT04/0866
LAM Kui Cheung 林舉章
This headstone is in memory of Kui Cheung Lam, of Chung Fa Tsui, Toishan, Kwangtung.
Erected on a lucky day and a lucky month, 1920, Gang San Year, during the era of the Republic of China.
LAM Kui Fu 林舉富
This headstone is in memory of Kui Fu Lam, of Chung Fa Tsui, Toishan, Kwangtung.
Erected on a lucky day and a lucky month, 1920, Gang San Year, during the era of the Republic of China.
Coohey Fue’s ancestral village
Coohey Fue’s family name was Lam (林) and he came from Chung Fa Tsui, a Lam village in Toishan, Kwangtung, China. Chung Fa Tsui (or Songhuaju in Mandarin) is about 25 kilometres south-west of the county capital of Taicheng 台城 and about the same distance to the north-west of the coastal town of Guanghai 廣海.
廣東省 / Kwangtung / Guangdong (province)
台山縣 / Toishan / Taishan (county)
新安鄉 / Sun On / Xin’an (village)
松花咀村 / Chung Fa Tsui / Songhuaju (hamlet)
I would like to thank Lyn Phillips, and Kelli Schultz, who alerted me to these two Chinese monuments in the Latrobe General Cemetery. Kelli pointed me to a query from Lyn about the memorials that Lyn posted on the ‘Tasmanians Finding their Past – Genealogy Group’ on Facebook on 21 October 2022. I used Lyn’s photographs to transcribe and translate the text; my thanks to Mei-fen Kuo (Macquarie University) and my UTAS colleague Lucy Li (and her father) for their assistance in teasing out the nuances of the text’s meaning. I’d also like to acknowledge that the information above from TAMIOT was posted by Suzanne Griffin in response to Lyn’s post to the Tasmanians Finding their Past Facebook group. In October 2022 I did some initial digging in Trove and the Tasmanian Names Index to identify who Lam Kui Cheung / Lam Kui Fu might be, and I was able to stop off in Latrobe just before Christmas to photograph the headstones for myself.
Earlier this year I was commissioned by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) to compile a bibliography on Tasmania’s Chinese history and heritage.
The bibliography is intended as a tool to help with the study of Tasmania’s Chinese communities across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It documents existing research relating to Chinese people in Tasmania, focusing on history, heritage and community, and provides a survey of publications and other research outputs.
The bibliography was funded as part of TMAG’s Contemporary Migrant Experiences project, with funding from the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations.
On Sunday, 5 June 2022, Kirstie Ross and Grace Williams from TMAG and I presented copies of the bibliography to the Chinese Community Association of Tasmania Inc 澳洲塔省華人聯誼會 at their monthly meeting in Hobart.
The bibliography will be made available in Libraries Tasmania and the National Library through the National edeposit service. I have also made a copy available online in Zenodo.
The compilation of the bibliography marks the beginning of my work on Chinese Tasmanian history and heritage, which I will be pursuing further through the new Everyday Heritage project. Everyday Heritage is an Australian Research Council Linkage project and is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Canberra (Tracy Ireland and Tim Sherratt), University of Western Australia (Jane Lydon), University of Tasmania (me) and GML Heritage in Sydney.
Note: Terms used in the following population tables reflect the original historical sources and are considered offensive today.
Chinese population of Tasmania, 1881–1947
Source: Compiled from the Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, No. 18, 1925, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, Melbourne, 1925, p. 955; Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1933 and 1947.
Sophie Couchman and I will be speaking as part of the Cangdong Cultural Heritage Month Academic Lecture Series on 23 January 2022. The theme of the workshop is ‘Heritage Conservation and Roots Searching in Home Villages of Overseas Chinese’.
Sophie and I will be in conversation with Canadian historian Henry Yu about our Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour and its social impacts.
Also speaking on Sunday are Selia Tan Jinhua from Wuyi University, and Henry Yu and Denise Fong from the University of British Columbia.
The workshop runs for two days – details of the Sunday sessions are below and full details including the Monday program are available in the workshop schedule (pdf, 253kb).
I will be speaking (via Zoom) to the Chinese Australian Historical Society on 24 July 2021 about ‘Writing women into Chinese Australian history’, drawing on my new edited collection, Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia, co-edited with Julia Martínez.
Date: Saturday, 24 July 2021 Time: 2.30pm to 4.00pm Venue: Via Zoom (link will be provided by email after you RSVP) RSVP: email@example.com, 0417 655 233
Women have been largely invisible in the broad sweep of Chinese Australian history. From the earliest days of Chinese migration to Australia, it was predominantly men and boys who came south to the colonies as labourers, miners and merchants. By the turn of the twentieth century, there were still fewer than 500 migrant Chinese women in Australia among a population of nearly 30,000 Chinese men. These small numbers have made it easy for historians to overlook the presence of Chinese women and girls in Australia and this, combined with the challenges of locating sources that document women’s lives, has contributed to an apparently legitimised acceptance of male-centred history. In this talk I challenge the framing of Chinese Australian history as a history of men and consider how tracing the lives of Chinese women in Australia disrupts accepted narratives of Chinese migration and settlement. These themes are the focus of my new book, Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia, co-edited with Julia Martínez.
Kate Bagnall is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and coordinator of the Family History program at the University of Tasmania. She has a background in public history and archives, completing her PhD in History at the University of Sydney while working at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra. Kate is best known for her work in Chinese Australian history, particularly the history of women, children and families in Australia’s early Chinese communities. Before joining the University of Tasmania in 2019, Kate was an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong.
In letters that Charlie Allen wrote to his mother from China in 1911, he mentioned his ‘uncle’s wife’, who was, like him, trying to get home to Australia. Charlie had gone to live in Chuk Sau Yuen 竹秀園 near Shekki 石岐 in Heungshan 香山 in mid-1909, at the age of twelve, leaving behind his mother and siblings in Sydney. His father, Charley Gum, had taken him to China but had then returned to work in Sydney. His parents were no longer together and Charlie’s mum, Frances Allen, had not wanted her son to go to China.
I’ve written elsewhere about Charlie, his mum and the letters he wrote to her from China. They are a poignant account of Charlie’s loneliness and homesickness – he was a boy far from home and family, living in an unfamiliar place and learning a new language, with no easy way to leave. One hopeful thread in two of the letters, written in 1911, was the thought of returning to Sydney with his ‘uncles’ wife’ and her children.
He wrote about this idea in a letter dated 11 April 1911:
My uncle’s wife got a letter to-day from her sister say that if she wanted money to write & ask for it so she is going to send for 40 pound & she is going to pay my fare to sydney, & when we get to sydney she wants you to pay her back, & wants to know do you like this or not. so write back & tell me so I am now writing to custom house & sending photo & asking him for my paper to go back.
In a subsequent letter, written when Charlie had been in Chuk Sau Yuen for nearly two years (so perhaps around June 1911), he wrote:
My uncles’ wife said that she will pay my fare back to Sydney when I get there for you to give back my fare to her, or send Sam for me, & she told me to ask you would you like it or not you can please your self, mother I am very unhappy here.
And later in the same letter:
My uncle is going back to Sydney soon & as soon as he goes his wife is going to sneak away, she has 4 children & she would have a lot of trouble with them so I ask her to pay my fare back to & I would help her with her children & luggage & when we get back for you to pay her back my fare so I am writing this letter to ask you weather you like it or not, when she gets there she will stay at your place until she writs to her parents saying that she is home & tell them what to do.
I have long wondered who Charlie’s ‘uncle’s wife’ and her four children were, but without a name I thought it unlikely that I’d ever be able to establish their identity.
I’ve tried to solve a similar mystery in the case of another Sydney boy in China, Richard Lee, who, in newspaper reports, gave the name of a white Australian woman (‘Mrs Gee Chong’) that he knew and spent time with while living in his father’s village in Heungshan (the village was ‘Chuk-to-in’, which may or may not be the same village Charlie Allen lived in – another long-term, as-yet-unsolved puzzle!). In Richard Lee’s case, despite some substantial digging, I haven’t been able to identify who ‘Mrs Gee Chong’ was, even with a name, and so with Charlie’s ‘uncle’s wife’ I had given up any hope of identifying her.
A serendipitous breakthrough!
Recently, though, I’ve had a serendipitous breakthrough. Tim has been doing some updates to our Real Face of White Australia project, re-harvesting and processing the portrait photographs from NAA: ST84/1. As he does so, we’ve been looking through the images to see if we can spot any ‘new’ women and children – and one of those Tim spotted was this little poppet in her distinctive frilly bonnet:
The certificate to which the photographs are attached – a 1909 CEDT for Charlie Yin – reveals that she is Alice Yin, aged one year and six months, and that she was leaving Sydney with her father and siblings. Her elder brother, Norman (aged three years and four months), and sister, Alma (aged 5 years and four months), were issued with their own CEDTs. Norman and Alma were both recorded as being ‘half-caste Chinese’ born in Mungindi, New South Wales. The family left Sydney on the Empire in October 1909; Charlie Yin returned to Sydney on the Empire on 16 August 1911 while the children returned three years later, on 30 October 1914 on the Eastern.
Further investigation revealed that a ‘C’ file in series SP42/1 still exists for the family, and it was here that I struck gold.
The file revealed that Alma, Norman and Alice Yin were the children of Charlie and Annie Yin, and had been born at Bumbalar, Mungindi in 1904, 1906 and 1908. Their father Charlie, a gardener, was from Canton while their mother, Annie (née Campbell), was also born at Mungindi. Charlie and Annie had married at Bumbalar on 16 July 1903, when Annie was aged 18 and Charlie was 29.
Charlie had applied for CEDTS for himself and for the children to travel to China in 1909, and as noted, he had returned to Australia in 1911. In 1912, he wrote to the Collector of Customs, through Wing On & Co., requesting an extension of the children’s CEDTs ‘as they have not yet completed their schooling’. Charlie was then living at Eastern Road, Turramurra in Sydney. The extension was granted, providing the fee of £1 each was paid. Charlie then applied for another CEDT for himself in February 1914, and he departed Sydney for Hong Kong on the Taiyuan on 20 March 1914.
The next document in the file is a two-page letter addressed to the ‘Commissioner of Customs, Sydney’ from the Archdeacon of Hong Kong, dated 8 October 1914, requesting attention to the case of Mrs Yin née Campbell. The letter stated that after travelling together to China:
her husband himself returned to Sydney leaving his wife and family in the Heung Shan district, about one day’s journey from Hongkong. Subsequently he came back to China and died on June 2nd last. … Another son, Hubert (Huey) was born on 11th June 1911.
She holds no papers for this child of three years but as it is impossible for her as an Australian woman to live in China now that her husband is dead without suffering untold hardships, she is most anxious to return to her own people at Moree.
… this woman has been most harshly dealt with since her husband’s death as is unfortunately too often the custom in such cases. By careful manoeuvring she has managed to escape from her husband’s village with the children, and to return there would be fatal.
(On the experiences of Australian wives of Chinese in China, see my ‘Crossing oceans and cultures’ chapter in Australia’s Asia – details in References below.)
When the family arrived back in Sydney at the end of October 1914, Annie Yin and her three Australian-born children were allowed to land without question. Little Huey’s case, however, was referred to the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs for decision, as he was born in China; ten days later, permission was granted for him to remain in the Commonwealth.
Do the facts match?
Alice Yin née Campbell had travelled with her three children and husband to her husband’s village in Heungshan in 1909 and gave birth to a fourth child there in June 1911, after which time her husband returned to Australia (in August that year). Charlie Allen wrote, in around June 1911, that his ‘uncle’s wife’ was keen to return to Australia with her four children and that her husband was soon to return to Australia. So, they were in China at the same time, there were the right number of children, but were they in the same village?
Charlie Allen’s father, Charley Gum was a Gock / Kwok / Goq 郭 from Chuk Sau Yuen, and it was here that Charlie spent his time in China. On Alice Yin’s 1908 birth certificate, her father’s name was given as Charlie Gock Yin, and he corresponded with the Collector of Customs through Wing On & Co., which was run by members of the Gock family. Some poking about in Ancestry.com revealed a family tree (never the best source, but still!) that named Charlie as ‘Charlie Kwok Yin’ and listed his birthplace as ‘Jook So Yuen’.
Based on that, it seems very likely to me that both men, Charley Gum and Charlie Yin, were Gocks from Chuk Sau Yuen, and that it was here they took their children in 1909. And therefore that Annie Yin and Alma, Norman, Alice and Herbert were Charlie Allen’s ‘uncle’s wife’ and four children!
NAA: ST84/1, 1909/33/51-60 , Edward OYoung, Kee Sum, Mar Chin, Ah Mee, Charlie Yet, Charlie Yin, Norman Yin, Alma Yin and Marm Fong [Certificate Exempting from Dictation Test – includes left hand impression and photographs] [box 31], 1909
NAA: SP42/1, C1914/6345 , Children of Charlie Yin [includes photographs of Charlie Yin and birth certificates of Norman Yin, Alma Yin and Alice Yin; Customs Sydney restricted migration file], 1909–1914
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a strange and difficult year.
I started the year by moving from Canberra to Hobart, after three months of remote working in my new job at UTAS (as Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Course Coordinator of the Diploma of Family History). I was incredibly sad to be moving so far from Canberra, to be leaving our home of 20 years, to be uprooting my family and separating our kids from each other – the three big ones chose to remain, while the little one had to come with us. But it was also a relief to be leaving the thick smokey air and orange skies and anxiety and asthma that the bushfires had brought over December and January. Then, just as we were starting to feel a little bit settled in Hobart, COVID hit Australia. I had seen COVID come into the lives of friends in Guangdong and Macau, feeling very lucky that it wasn’t us who were in lockdown – but then we were too.
Of all the places in the world to spend 2020, Hobart has been pretty great. But being in a new job, in a new city, on an island cut off from family and friends on the mainland, in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, has been hard, so hard. And now, our plans of returning home to visit in the new year look unlikely due to the recent COVID outbreak in Sydney.
So, it’s with all that in mind that I’m writing this ‘year in review’ post – to help me see through my continually teary eyes that I’ve accomplished something at work this year. See the list below, if you want the details.
My biggest accomplishment this year hasn’t really been at work though. It’s been to get myself, my teenager and my tween through the year in more or less one piece, and to see them finally looking towards 2021 (and more particularly, 2021 in Hobart) with a sense of hope and perhaps even happiness. I couldn’t have achieved that without support from Tim, Sophie, Nicki and Molly the Labrador on the home front, and from my stellar colleague and font-of-Tasmanian-knowledge, Imogen, at work.
Things I’ve accomplished at work this year
Here’s my list of work things I’m happy to have accomplished this year, in no particular order:
my probation at UTAS going through early, after 12 months (yay me!)
our major course changes for R2H Diploma of Family History for 2021 being approved by Senate – and being complimented on the excellence of my course change paperwork
preparing a proposal and gaining approval for my new unit, HAA108 Migrant Families, to be introduced into the Diploma of Family History in 2021
concurrently coordinating two units (HAA003 and HAA107) between July and September with a combined enrolment of over 900 students, with 6 tutors to manage – note to self: never do this again; you literally had 3 days where you didn’t work between June and October
revising HAA003 Introduction to Family History and developing 3 weeks’ content for our new unit, HTA206 Australian History in a Global Context, all done from home and taught online
finalising Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia, forthcoming with HKU Press in early 2021 – included working on the cover and marketing materials, commissioning and checking the index, and checking three rounds of proofs
submitting an application for the ARC Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture with Julia Martínez and Sophie Couchman – we weren’t successful (only 7.1% of application were), but we were ranked between 10% to 25% of unsuccessful proposals within the scheme round (with three of the four selection criteria ranked at top 10%)
dealing with a plagiarism matter, where a PRC researcher had published an article, in Chinese in a PRC-based journal, that was largely based on my research
speaking via Zoom at the ‘Asia at the Crossroads: Ruptures and Hopes’ symposium, organised by the Melbourne-Monash Asia Studies Reading Group, on 31 July 2020
speaking with my UTAS colleague Imogen Wegman at Libraries Tasmania in Hobart for Family History Month on 13 August 2020
assisting/speaking to researchers/journalists: Kirsty Walsh (Who Do You Think You Are?), Ingrid Piper (commissioned by Australian Consulate, Hong Kong); Mell Chun (freelance journalist working on a project supported by a Judith Neilson and Walkley Fund grant)
being invited to participate in a three ARC applications (two I had to decline), including an ARC Linkage project with Tracy Ireland, Jane Lydon, Tim Sherratt and GML Heritage, which we submitted in December
being invited to contribute to two publications – an edited collection by Tony Ballantyne and a special journal issue on Chinese NZ/Australian history/heritage – in which I’ll write up more of my Chinese naturalisation research
progressing the Subjects and Aliens edited collection I’m working on with Peter Prince, with the aim of submitting it to a publisher in 2021
getting to work with some truly excellent colleagues at UTAS – with special mention to the professional staff who help me do my job better, in particular Carol, Melinda, Scott, and the wonderful young women in the Family History Contact Team this year, Maddy, Emma and Meredith
supervising my first Honours student, who achieved First Class Honours and also got herself a graduate job in the Department of Premier and Cabinet starting next year (yay Britt!)
beginning to think about and dig into Chinese Tasmanian history, particularly about Tasmanian Chinese family histories and how I might sneak Tasmania into my Chinese naturalisation book
Where my work has been cited, 2019–2020
For the record, here are some publications from 2019 and 2020 that have cited my work. I’ve included 2019 here because I didn’t manage to publish a ‘2019 in review’ post last year (too busy settling into new job, selling our house, packing, etc).
Barnwell, Ashley, ‘Keeping the Nation’s Secrets: “Colonial Storytelling” within Australian Families’, Journal of Family History, 46, no. 1 (January 2021), pp. 46–61, https://doi.org/10.1177/0363199020966920.
Berthon, Hilary, ‘A Treasure Trove of Community Language Newspapers’, in Catherine Dewhirst and Richard Scully (eds), The Transnational Voices of Australia’s Migrant and Minority Press, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43639-1_11.
Charak, Sarah Edith, ‘Anglo-Jews and Eastern European Jews in a White Australia’, Honours Thesis, Department of History, University of Sydney, 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/2123/21137.
Cheng, Christopher, ‘Beacons of Modern Learning: Diaspora-Funded Schools in the China-Australia Corridor’, Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 29, no. 2 (June 2020), pp. 139–62, https://doi.org/10.1177/0117196820930309.
Chua, J.Y., ‘ “An Open and Public Scandal” in the Transvaal: The 1906 Bucknill Inquiry in a Global Context’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 29, no. 2 (2020), pp. 135–161.
Fitzpatrick, Matthew P. and Peter Monteath, ‘Amidst Empires: Colonialism, China and the Chinese’, in Peter Monteath and Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (eds), Colonialism, China and the Chinese, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.
Gibson, Peter, and Simon Ville, ‘Australian Wool and Chinese Industrialization, 1901–1941’, Twentieth-Century China, 44, no. 3 (2019), pp. 265–287.
Kuo, Mei-fen, ‘The “Invisible Work” of Women: Gender and Philanthropic Sociability in the Evolution of Early Chinese Australian Voluntary Organisations’, in John Fitzgerald and Hon-ming Yip (eds), Chinese Diaspora Charity and the Cantonese Pacific, 1850–1949, Hong Kong University Press, 2020.
Kuo, Mei-fen and John Fitzgerald, ‘Colonial Pathways to International Education: Chinese Students in White Australia in the 1920s’, in Peter Monteath and Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (eds), Colonialism, China and the Chinese, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.
Kwok, Juanita, ‘Waltzing the Dragon with Benjamin Law’, History Australia, 17, no. 1 (2020), pp. 192–194.
Kwok, Juanita, ‘Chinese Mining on the Turon: From Beginning to End’, Journal of Australasian Mining History, 17 (Oct 2019), pp. 75–95.
Rhook, Nadia,‘ “The Chinese Doctor James Lamsey”: Performing Medical Sovereignty and Property in Settler Colonial Bendigo, Postcolonial Studies, 23, no. 1 (2020), pp. 58–78.
Robson, Charmaine, ‘Doctors’ Dilemma: Appraising the Rights of New South Wales Leprosy Sufferers, 1890–1950′, Health & History: Journal of the Australian & New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine, 22, no. 1 (2020), pp. 126–49.
Sawaki, Tomoko, ‘Interacting Voices Structure a Text: A Quantitative Investigation of Dialogic Elements Across Structural Units in the Introductory Chapters of History Theses’, Functions of Language, 27, no. 2 (2020), pp. 174–206, https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.17037.saw.
Sayers, Jentery, ‘Bringing Trouvé to Light: Speculative Computer Vision and Media History’, in Kevin Kee and Timothy Compeau (eds), Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History, University of Michigan Press, 2019, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvnjbdr0.5.
See, Pamela M., ‘The Agency of Papercutting in the Post-Digital Era’, PhD Thesis, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, 2020.
Peter Cox’s local history of the former gold-mining town of Lefroy in north-eastern Tasmania, Lefroy: Tasmania’s Forgotten Gold Town (George Town and District Historical Society, 2016, p. 90), mentions a market gardener named Ah Hung, who with ‘his European wife Jemma’ had a large vegetable and fruit garden to the north of Lefroy, ‘on the old Douglas township site’.
Douglas was a town that never eventuated, about four kilometres east of Lefroy. By contrast, Lefroy was once a substantial town, reputed at one point to have been the fourth largest town in Tasmania. There was a notable Chinese community in Lefroy, including a temple. Today, there are only a few houses remaining.
Chinese miners occupy their own chapter of Cox’s study (Chapter 3, ‘Chinese and Slate’), but Jemma and Ah Hung receive only the one brief, unreferenced mention in Chapter 10 (‘The Peak of the Boom’). On a recent holiday in the East Tamar district, I set out to see what I could find out about them.
Jemima Cox and Ah Hung married in Launceston in 1875. She had come to Tasmania as a small child, after migrating with her family from Hertfordshire, England in 1856. Jemima and Ah Hung had three children, born in the early 1880s, Henry, James and Mary, and they lived on land owned by Jemima at Douglas, near Blanket Creek outside of Lefroy, where they ran a garden. Ah Hung died in 1904, after which time it seems that Jemima moved to Launceston with her eldest son, Henry. They lived in Forster Street, Inveresk, and Henry was a gardener like his father (and Jemima’s father, too). Jemima died in 1923, at age 74, in Broken Hill, New South Wales, where she was living with son Henry – she had been in Broken Hill for four months.
Below is a chronology of the information I uncovered through Trove Newspapers, the Tasmanian Names Index, the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ancestry.com, General Register Office UK, Broken Hill Cemetery website, and maps from the National Library and Libraries Tasmania (thanks to Imogen Wegman for the latter reference). There are many leads that could be followed up about the life of Jemima and Ah Hung and their children, and I’ve noted some of these for future reference!
c. 1835–1846: Ah Hung was born.
1850: On 13 September 1850, Jemima Elizabeth Cox was born in at Nancy Bury, Tewin, Hertfordshire, England, the daughter of Daniel Cox and Mary Gregory. Her father was a woodman and her mother signed with an ‘X’.
Birth of Jemima Elizabeth Cox, Oct-Nov-Dec 1850, Hertfordshire, Vol. 6, Page 547, FreeBMD, England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 [database online], Ancestry.com.
Birth registration of Jemima Elizabeth Cox, December Quarter 1850, Hertford Union, Vol. 6, Page 547, General Register Office, United Kingdom.
1851: The family of Daniel and Mary Cox was listed in the 1851 England Census as living at Nancy Bury, Tewin, in Hertfordshire, England. The household consisted of Daniel (farmer labourer, age 32, born Tewin), Mary (housewife, age 26, born Codicote), Daniel (age 4) and Jemima (age 7 months).
Census record for Daniel Cox and household, Tewin, Hertfordshire, England, Class HO107, Piece 1711, Folio 170, Page 26, 1851 England Census [database online], Ancestry.com.
1856: On 5 February, Daniel and Mary Cox and their children arrived in New South Wales as assisted immigrants on the James Fernie. The Cox children were 7-year-old Daniel, 5-year-old Jemima, 2-year-old Joseph and a male infant born on board.
Assisted immigrants records for Daniel Cox, Mary Cox and Daniel, Jemima and Joseph Cox, arrived on James Fernie, 1856, Assisted Immigrants Index 1839–1896, NSW State Archives and Records.
Passenger list for the James Fernie, arrived Sydney on 5 February 1856, New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896 [database online], Ancestry.com.
1869: Jemima Cox gave evidence in a case about trespass on the land that her father, Daniel Cox, rented in Glen Dhu Street, Launceston.
1875: Jemima Cox and Ah Hung were married at the Wesleyan Church in Patterson Street, Launceston, by the Rev. E.W. Nye. Jemima was incorrectly said to be a native of Tasmania, aged about 25 years old, and she was still living with her parents at Cataract Hill. Ah Hung was described as a ‘middle aged man’.
They were married on 13 May 1875. He was recorded as being aged 29 and she was 25. He was a bachelor and she was a spinster. He was a miner and she was a gardener’s daughter.
c. 1880: Henry Charles Hung, son of Jemima Cox and Ah Hung, was born in Tasmania.
c. 1882: James Hung, son of Jemima Cox and Ah Hung, was born in Tasmania.
c. 1884: Mary Hung, daughter of Jemima Cox and Ah Hung, was born in Tasmania.
1889: The premises of Ah Hung at Lefroy were robbed on Tuesday, 3 September 1889, and £75 in gold and silver was stolen. The theft was not discovered until 5 September. The main suspect was another Chinese man.
1910: Mrs J. Hung of Melbourne Street, South Launceston, won the ‘Robur’ Tea Ticket Collecting Competition for February 1910 and her name was listed in a Launceston newspaper (under ‘3/6 Rewards’ in the first column).
1913: Mrs Jemima Hung was listed in the Post Office Directory as living at Forster Street, Inveresk, on the righthand side from Invermay Road after Goderich Street.
Tasmania Post Office Directory for 1913–14, H. Wise and Co., Hobart, p. 154, Ancestry.com. Australia, City Directories, 1845-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
1914: Mrs Jemima Hung (domestic duties) and Henry Charles Hung (gardener) were living in Forster Street, Inveresk.
1915: Mrs Jemima Hung was listed in the Post Office Directory as living at Forster Street, Inveresk, on the righthand side from Invermay Road after Goderich Street.
Tasmania Post Office Directory for 1915–16, H. Wise and Co., Hobart, p. 152, Ancestry.com. Australia, City Directories, 1845-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
1922: Jemima Hung (domestic duties) and Henry Charles Hung (gardener) were living in Forster Street, Inveresk.
1947: ‘Half-caste Chinese’ James Hung, age 65, died. He was the brother of Henry Charles Hung of 53 Charles Street, Launceston. James Hung’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff in the Gorge on Saturday, 1 February 1947.