Chinese shepherds in NSW

This is a section of a long carved and gilded panel on display at McCrossin’s Mill Museum in Uralla. It was part of the decorations on the front of an altar in one of the Chinese temples in the New England North West.
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Emmaville was once known as “Vegetable Creek”

Emmaville was once known by the name “Vegetable Creek” because of the large number of Chinese market gardens that were established there to provide fresh food for the mining population
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Introducing Our Chinese Past member – Gill Oxley

In 2015 I was searching for a member of my own family who had gone missing from Nundle 1868. Her name was Catherine Hibbet. She was 15 years old when she vanished.
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Introducing Our Chinese Past member – Kira Brown

I inherited a substantial collection of family memorabilia, which sparked an interest in researching my Chinese heritage. I’m a 5th generation descendant of Chinese migrants to Australia dating back to the gold mining era of the 1850s. I have identified four Chinese-born ancestors in Australia whose lives and families became linked after they arrived in the New England region. They lived in Uralla, Tingha, Inverell, Glen Innes, and Emmaville, they married European or mixed-race women and started families – and I am a direct descendent. Chen Quin Jack is my Great-Great-Grandfather. He built the main Chinese Temple on Bundara Road and also the Wing Hing Long store in Tingha, which today also houses the local museum. I’m honoured to be part of and to contribute to the Our Chinese Past group which endeavours to further enhance our knowledge of this exciting and enriching aspect of our Australian heritage. Wing Hing Long store, Tingha built by Chen Quin Jack Portrait of...
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Looking at the history of Temples in New England North West region

There were at least nine different temples in the New England North West region. Local histories state that the goldfields of Rocky River (modern-day Uralla) had a series of three Chinese temples built sequentially in 1857, 1866 and 1877. The tin-mining town of Tingha is also recorded as having “three joss houses” by 1885, with two of these opening in 1874 and 1883, and a fourth opening in 1901. The tinfield of Emmaville (originally called Vegetable Creek), had two temples, opened in 1878 and 1887. The main temple at Tingha, photographed possibly in 1890. Photograph reproduced from Elizabeth Weidemann’s 1981 book World of Its Own: Inverell’s Early Years 1827-1920, p. 180. Here are some historical images of the interiors and exteriors of some of these temples. As our research progresses, we hope to find out more details on these temples and their history, as well as provide detailed translations of the Chinese inscriptions in these photographs. For more information about the...
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From a road trip around North West NSW

Paul Macgregor and Juanita Kwok McCrossins Mill Museum in Uralla Our Chinese Past came about as a result of a road trip around North West NSW that Paul Macgregor and I took on our way back from the AHA conference in Toowoomba in 2019. We first drove through the forgotten northern goldfields of Drake and Tooloom, then rendezvoused in Inverell with genealogist Gill Oxley, who has long been doing family history research in the Bingara/Tingha/Inverell area. Together we visited Emmaville Mining Museum, Inverell Pioneer Village, the Wing Hing Long Museum in Tingha and McCrossins Mill Museum in Uralla. Paul and I also visited Green Valley Museum in Tingha. All of these rural museums have in their collections artefacts from Chinese temples that existed on the northern goldfields and the NSW tinfields. As Kira Brown’s ancestors and Malcolm Oakes wife’s family were storekeepers in Tingha we invited Kira and Malcolm to join us in setting up Our Chinese Past to to...
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