Our Chinese Past Inc was formed in 2020 by a group of historians and genealogists – Juanita Kwok, Paul Macgregor, Gill Oxley, Malcolm Oakes and Kira Brown. We are a not-for-profit organisation which conducts projects to identify, document, preserve, research and promote the rich diversity of Chinese Australian history and heritage. We have a particular interest in the digitization and translation of heritage material, historical records and photographs, to make these more broadly available, and better understood. We do this by working with and supporting museums, historical societies, communities and heritage interest groups. We encourage greater awareness of this history and heritage through websites, apps, publications, signage and displays.
Our English name “Our Chinese Past” was selected to reflect our view of Australia’s Chinese history as an integral part of Australian history, something that belongs to all of us as Australians, whether descendants or not, just like our Irish or Scottish history.
We recognise that there is a rich heritage of Chinese Australian communities in Australia, preserved in regional museums and community, family and private collections. This heritage, whether it is buildings, artefacts, landscapes, inscriptions, documents, memories or traditions, can tell us a great deal about the history and culture of Chinese Australians. We are particularly interested in better understanding this heritage, and making it more widely known.
Our research focuses on investigating Chinese-language inscriptions and documents, exploring the meaning and uses of artefacts, and connecting up archival research with community and family memories. We are also committed to sharing this information with the public on our website, and encouraging people to visit the museums where much of this heritage is displayed.