By

Ely Finch

Photographs of the Emmaville temple’s façade and interior

Two photographs taken in 1899, which feature many inscriptions on plaques of the 1887 Emmaville temple. LOCATION Britain Album, private collection Entrance of the 1887 temple at Emmaville. Photograph by Robert Newby Kirk in 1899, reproduced from Golden Threads, p. 84. Emmaville temple interior, Britain album 1899. TRANSCRIPTIONS AND TRANSLATIONS 1. Centre of the fascia board 聖壽無疆 Eternal Life Be Thine/Yours 2a, 2b, 2c. Above-door plaque 光緒十二年季冬穀旦 列聖宮 沐 恩庇下李☐敬送 順德黎☐☐敬書 House(s) of Saints [or] House(s) of Holy Ones Respectfully given by Thy/Your favoured follower Lee … on an auspicious day in the last Winter month of the twelfth year of Kuang Hsü Era. Respectfully written by Lai … of Shun Tak. 3. Horizontal ceiling plaque visible immediately within the doorway in the photograph of the façade ☐德群生 … Providence to All Living Things 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b. Door-side couplet boards (right then left) 光緒歲次丙戌年季冬吉旦 列聖普仁慈同欣福蔭 群生沾德澤共仰恩㴠 沐 恩弟子李澤☐合記號仝敬送 Spread wide Your kindness and benevolence, O Holy Ones, that we may delight in Your propitious providence; Bathe in...
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Names plaque dated 1866

The inscription on this plaque is a list of 155 names. The matching design of this plaque, which we have called “Names Plaque Dated 1866”, indicates that it forms a pair with Donation Plaque Dated 1866. LOCATION Inverell Pioneer Village Name plaque dated 1866 (IMG_6881, 16.4.21) Because this “Names Plaque Dated 1866” likely forms a pair with Donation Plaque Dated 1866, the names on “Names Plaque Dated 1866” are therefore probably those of the “followers” and members of the “Yeung Fook Tong” society named in Donation Plaque Dated 1866’s inscription, who are given to have collectively donated one or more door-like screens and entrance adornments, including the “Yeung Fook Tong” Entrance Adornment. Both plaques are believed to have been purchased by Inverell Pioneer Village from an auction of temple items in Tingha in 1978. As Tingha was not established until 1872, the date of these plaques of 1866 indicates that they come from a Rocky River temple dated 1866, for...
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Temple bell dated 1883–4

This bell, bearing the date of 1883–84, is a typical temple bell. It would be struck to call the attention of the deity (or deities) in the temple. LOCATION McCrossin’s Mill Museum, Uralla Temple bell 1883-4 (IMG_4518, 15.7.19) Temple bell 1883-4 (IMG_4519, 15.7.19) Temple bell 1883-4 (IMG_4520, 15.7.19) Temple bell 1883-4 (IMG_4514, 15.7.19) Bearing the date of 1883–84, the bell is likely to have been used in the 1883 Howell Road temple in Tingha. This is the only temple in New England which is known to have opened in 1883–84. TEXT ON BELL The deity 大王宮 House of the Great King The large-character inscription on the bell, “House of the Great King”, indicates dedication to either 洪聖大王 “Great King Hung Shing”, who is the god of the Southern Ocean, or a deity known as 大王爺 “Tai Wong Ye”. The word “House” in the inscription would usually be understood as a reference to a temple, but in this case it may refer instead to a room,...
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“Kwun Yam Den” altar censer

觀音 “Kwun Yam”, the Chinese goddess of mercy, is a Buddhist deity. But, on account of its syncretic nature, s/he (he originally, she later, in China) is also venerated in Chinese folk religion. LOCATION Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha “Kwun Yam Den” altar censer – at Wing Hing Long Museum (IMG_4126, 14.7.19) TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION 觀音殿 Hall of Avalokitasvara. WHERE WAS THIS OBJECT USED? A 1928 newspaper article, which contains a description of Tingha’s two joss houses, indicates that the larger temple (presumably Amethyst Street’s mystery Tiengha Joss House or its masonic lodge, which might have been one and the same) comprised two rooms, while the smaller (presumably the Let Sun Den temple) comprised only one room.  However, over its history there may have been four buildings in Tingha referred to either consistently or from time to time as “joss houses”: (1) a building at the northern end of Amethyst Street, adjacent to a wooden bridge over Cope’s Creek; (2) a building on the high...
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Sudhana Kumāra plaque

Sudhana Kumāra (a.k.a. Sun Chai) is an acolyte of Avalokitasvara (a.k.a. Kwun Yam; the Chinese goddess of mercy). Though the inscription on this plaque names the Hall of Sun Chai, it is not known from which temple it came.
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Old newspaper articles that concern the Emmaville temple

The Emmaville temple features prominently in Chinese-language Australian newspapers. This is a sample of these articles, summarized in English. LOCATION Digitised newspapers available on the National Library of Australia Trove search engine Article 1 Excerpt from 1895 ‘洋電報雜爼’, Guang yi hua bao = The Chinese Australian Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1923), 27 September, p. 6. , viewed 09 Jul 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166859486 Article 2 1895 ‘Advertising’, Guang yi hua bao = The Chinese Australian Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1923), 11 October, p. 6. , viewed 09 Jul 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166858610 Article 3 Excerpt from 1897 ‘Advertising’, Guang yi hua bao = The Chinese Australian Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1923), 13 August, p. 8., viewed 18 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169050998 Article 4 Excerpt from 1899 ‘來信照登’, Tung Wah News (Sydney, NSW : 1898 – 1902), 16 August, p. 3., viewed 18 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article227918636 Article 5 Excerpt from 1901 ‘Advertising’, Tung Wah Times (Sydney, NSW : 1901 – 1936), 8 June, p. 3., viewed 18 Feb 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article247429153 Article 6 Excerpt...
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Altar table dated 1866

Originally believed to be from the 1866 Rocky River temple, this table was likely moved to the 1883 Howell Road Temple at Tingha. In recent years, prior to being donated to the Wing Hing Long Museum, the original table was cut down and rearranged to make a cabinet, which is the current form of the table. LOCATION Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha Current cabinet Altar table dated 1866 – at Wing Hing Long Museum (IMG_6386, 13.4.21) Photograph from 1901 Main altar in the “Joss House, Tingha”, printed in The Sydney Mail, 3 August 1901 Photomontage reconstruction of the original altar table from which the current cabinet is formed Diagram showing how the altar table facade, which is in the 1901 photograph of the Howell Rd temple in Tingha, was cut down and rearranged to make the doors of the cabinet now in the Wing Hing Long collection. Photographs of panels that bear inscriptions IMG_4153 IMG_4154 TRANSCRIPTIONS AND TRANSLATIONS 1. Decorative...
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“Yeung Fook Tong” entrance adornment

This entrance adornment—or 彩門 “choy-moon”—is likely the one referenced by the Donation plaque dated 1866, and so would have hung either just inside, or just outside, the entrance of the 1866 Rocky River temple. LOCATION Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha “Yeung Fook Tong” entrance adornment – at Wing Hing Long Museum (IMG_6342, 13.4.21) Detail from the top of the entrance adornment, showing the words “Yeung Fook Tong” (IMG_4145, 14.7.19) TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION 仰福堂 Yeung Fook Tong NOTES This would appear to be the very early entrance adornment—or 彩門 “choy-moon”—referenced by the Donation plaque dated 1866 and associated with the list of what are presumably donor names on the Names plaque dated 1866. For commentary on the significance of the characters “Yeung Fook Tong”, and on this and other “choy-moon” or “entrance adornments”, see the relevant notes in the post for the Donation Plaque dated 1866. This is a continually evolving website, and more information about this object will be published as further research is...
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Processional staff 1

This would have been one of a set of probably eight staffs, which would have been displayed at the 1883 Howell Rd temple in Tingha. This staff, along with Processional staff 2, are the only ones from this set still known to exist. LOCATION Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha Processional staff 1 – at Wing Hing Long Museum (IMG_6247, 13.4.21) IMG_4160 IMG_4161 TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION 光緒九年仲春吉旦   沐 恩弟子梁苟仝敬送 Respectfully and conjointly given by Thy/Your favoured follower Leung Kau on an auspicious day in the second Spring month of the ninth year of the Kuang Hsü Era. WHERE WAS THIS OBJECT USED? This object, and the matching entitled “Processional staff 2”, are inscribed with a date that corresponds to 1883. Accordingly, the hypothesis is that they come from Tingha’s lavish 1883 temple. NOTES 仝 “conjointly”: This object forms a pair with “Processional staff 2”, which was donated by a certain 梁國 “Leung Kwok”. The word 仝 “conjointly” in the inscription presumably references the fact that the...
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Donation plaque dated 1866

A Chinese-temple donation inscription that is couched as an address to that temple’s deity or deities, as is customary with such inscriptions.
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