Chin Ah Song was a Chinese storekeeper who arrived in Australia in 1860 and ran a store at Rocky River (1862-1874) and Tingha (1874-1911). His ancestral village is unknown but was situated in the Sam Heung locality south-east of Shekki. He was naturalised in 1883. He and his Chinese wife had a son and daughter born in China (who remained there) and two sons and two daughters born in Tingha between 1888-1892. He returned to China in about 1911 with his Australian-born family. Two of the children later returned to Australia. The Chinese characters for his name are likely to be 鄭尚.
Chen Quin Jack arrived in Australia in the early 1850s from Canton, he worked as a gold miner on the Ballarat goldfields. Relocated to Rocky River in the 1860s and became a tin miner at Tingha in 1870s. Quin Jack married Mary Ann Fuller in 1886, they had seven children, four boys, three girls. Quin Jack was a significant figure in Tingha with strong ties to the business community, Chinese Masons, and the Chinese Temple – having donated to and built the main Chinese Temple on Bundarra Road. He is also acknowledged as having built the Wing Hing Long store. Quin Jack died in 1918 at the age of 82 and is buried in the Chinese section at Tingha cemetery together with his wife Mary.
“Cheng” Sam Bow was a highly esteemed Chinese businessman and storekeeper at Rocky River. His 1884 Certificate of Naturalisation states that at that time he had resided in New South Wales for eleven years and had arrived via Queensland. Sam Bow and his wife Minnie née Sing registered the births of two daughters and five sons at Uralla between the years of 1902 and 1913. His 1926 obituary in the Armidale Chronicle pays tribute to his very great popularity in the local community, his generosity, and and his civic mindedness. It also states that he was “a native of Kwang Tung Province (China)”.
John Guan is possibly the earliest Chinese man to appear in marriage records for the New England district. His marriage to a European shepherd’s daughter, Elizabeth Battersby, was registered at Armidale in 1858. Four more of the Battersby sisters subsequently married Chinese husbands between the years of 1860 and 1888. John was a farmer at Dog Trap near Inverell, and he also appears to have been an informal court interpreter for the Chinese community. He passed away in 1894, allegedly a wealthy man. Although he had married three times in New South Wales, he was buried in Inverell cemetery with his first wife, Elizabeth née Battersby, who predeceased him by 25 years.
In 1865 Esther Rose McClure aged 18, left Ireland and traveled to Brisbane Australia. While living and working as a domestic servant or nursemaid in Gympie, Queensland, at the age of 24, Esther gave birth to Mary Fuller, (later wife of Quin Jack) the father is recorded as William Fuller, the couple were not married. In the mid-1870s, Esther, along with her daughter Mary moved south into the Uralla or Tingha region of northern NSW. In 1877, Esther married William Tootong, a Chinese miner, and labourer. Together they had 5 children. The eldest was Ellen (Mon How / Hyde) , Esther Tootong Williamson are buried in the Tingha cemetery as are two of their daughters, Ellen Hyde and Sarah Kee.
Mary Ann Fuller was born in Brisbane, in 1868 to Irish-born Hester McClure and English-born William Fuller. Mother and child moved to Tingha and in about 1878, where Hester Fuller married a Chinese miner named William Tootong, with whom she had a further five children, the eldest being Ellen Tootong. In 1886 Mary Ann Fuller married Chen Quin Jack, a Chinese miner, in the Wesleyan Methodist church in Tingha. He was 49 and Mary was 18. Together they had seven children: William Henry, Ethel May, Frederick Charles, Sidney Lesley, Violet Sylvia, Veronica Pearl, and Cecil Ambrose. Mary Jack died in 1943 and is buried in Tingha cemetery.
William Tootong was born in or near the Port of Amoy in China in about 1815. He most likely came to the Australian colonies as an indentured labourer on a five year contract. He is then reported to have worked as a miner on the Rocky River gold field, Uralla and between 1861 and 1875 newspaper reports show he was farming in Bundarra. He settled in Tingha after this and by 1878 he was living with Irish-born Hester Fuller (nee McClure). William Tootong and Esther had five children: Ellen (Nell) (Mon How / Hyde), Francis William, Thomas Joseph, Sarah Jane (Kee), and Sidney. Both William and Esther Tootong Williamson are buried in the Tingha cemetery, as are two of their daughters, Ellen Hyde and Sarah Kee.
James Suey or Sewey was an Amoy man who married Margaret Battersby at Wellingrove in 1860, well before the tin boom of the 1870s. It is likely that James came to Australia as an indentured labourer, possibly working as a shepherd in the Wellingrove area for some time prior to his marriage. According to research by descendant Bronwyn Connor, James purchased 30 acres of land at Inverell in 1861. Subsequently, he and Margaret moved to Tingha, as shown by the 1891 Census which has them listed as living there with five of their children. James Suey’s life was cut tragically short on 27 February 1900 when he accidentally drowned in the Gwydir River whilst fishing with two of his sons.
Joseph arrived in the Tingha area some time in the early 1850s and worked on Newstead as a shepherd. He married Battersby sister, Annie, at Armidale in 1865. The couple had thirteen children between the years of 1866 and 1893, most of whom married and had families of their own in the Tingha district. As Joseph was never naturalised, he was unable to purchase land in his own right, and so the couple’s farm at Willowdale was purchased in his wife’s name only. Joseph died in 1908 and was buried in Tingha cemetery. Although he is not listed in official cemetery records, descendant Marie Hunnam has viewed details of his burial in handwritten undertakers’ records kept by the Walker family of Tingha.
Catherine Kim née Hibbert was born near Nundle during the gold rush to an Irish mother and a father of British descent. In 1869, at age 15, she married James Kim at Inverell. James was a shepherd from Amoy who was said to be 48 years old at the time. He worked on The Grove station near Tingha, but subsequently became a tin miner. Catherine and James had five children together between 1870 and 1881. In August 1882, James died at Springsure in Queensland. Catherine Kim remarried Irishman William Henry Andrews at Inverell the following year. She lived at Stannifer near Tingha until the time of her death in 1924 and is buried in the unsectarian portion of Tingha cemetery.
Samuel Kim was the youngest son of Lim Kim and Sarah Monckton. He was born on Pallal station on 20 February 1874 where his father Lim worked as a shepherd for the Mack family who owned Pallal. Sarah Kim died shortly after Samuel’s birth, and Lim Kim is thought to have raised Samuel and his siblings either alone, or possibly with the assistance of members of the Monckton family, until his own death at Inverell on 19 December 1880. Samuel Kim partnered with Aboriginal woman Elizabeth Bloomfield aka Olsen at Walcha near Uralla in about 1898. There were at least eight children born to Samuel and Elizabeth between the years of 1899 and 1923. Later in life, Samuel Kim married second wife Mary Agnes Farrell nee Bradshaw at Walcha in 1926. He passed away at Taree on 21 November 1959.
“Liu Lan Fong” was a Hakka woman from the district of Tung Kwun. She was the wife of the well-known Tingha herbalist Dr Fa Sue Tet Fong. In addition to raising a large family, Mrs Tet Fong ran a popular café in Ruby Street up until the time of the 1908 fire which destroyed a number of shops in the Tet Fong arcade. Although her husband predeceased her in 1929, Mrs Tet Fong lived to see two of her sons, William and Samuel, go to war in 1941 and subsequently return home safely. She died in Tingha in 1946 of an infection following an accident. Mrs Lan Tet Fong is buried at Tingha with her husband and three of her children, Daisy, Edward, and Victoria.
Dr Fa Sue Tet Fong (1853 – 1929) was a Hakka herbalist who most likely hailed from Wai Chau Prefecture’s district of Kwai Shin, which bordered Tung Kwun to the west and Sun On to the south. His 1883 naturalisation document states his place of origin simply as “Canton”. He lived and practiced Chinese medicine in Tingha from at least 1891 until 1926 where he was patronised by both the Chinese and the European community alike. He also had considerable property interests, being proprietor of the Tet Fong arcade in Ruby Street until its destruction in the 1908 fire. His wife was “Lui Lan Fong” above. It seems likely that the first donor named on Processional Placard 1, 廖德煌 “Liao Tet Fong”, was Dr Fah Sue Tet Fong’s father, a man who was also known as Dr Tet Fong.
After Tingha’s main Amethyst Street temple closed in 1910, many of its furnishings, carvings and ceremonial items, including some from earlier temples, were moved to the then new Chinese Masonic Lodge, also on Amethyst Street. This building became known as the “Chinese Masonic temple”. The lodge membership disbanded in 1940, and an elderly tin miner, (George) War Yick, moved into the premises as a live-in caretaker. War Yick lived alone, but was supported by younger members of the Tingha Chinese community who would cook for him and bring him meals. He passed away in 1956, reputedly 94 years of age. Upon the death of War Yick, the title of the land on which the Chinese Masonic temple stood reverted to the Crown and many of the ceremonial treasures that it had contained became dispersed.
(Born c.1835 in 曹邊 Cho Bin, Heung Shan), Samuel Lum Sing was a storekeeper in Tingha from 1881–91. His name is inscribed as donor of a processional placard to the 1883 Howell Road temple in Tingha. In 1889, in the “Chinese church” in Inverell, Samuel married Sarah See, daughter of Thomas See, born c.1835, Anyi District, China and Caroline Kraatz born c.1855, Gruneberg, Prussia. In 1891, Samuel, Sarah and daughter Eva left Tingha for Queensland where a further four daughters and a son were born to the couple. The family lived in Rockhampton and Charters Towers, before establishing successful businesses in Richmond, where Samuel died and was buried in 1909. Most of Samuel and Sarah’s many descendants still live in Northwest Queensland.
Born Sydney in 1846, Esther Holland married Samuel Yaupaung on 18 January 1863 at the Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth Street Sydney. Esther and Samuel moved to Timbarra on the Northern Goldfields of NSW where Samuel worked as a gold miner and where Esther gave birth to their first child Emily. Further births show the family lived in northern NSW and Queensland before settling in Vegetable Creek (renamed Emmaville in 1882). Of nine children born to the couple, six survived. After the birth of Harry Hong in Emmaville in 1881, Samuel disappeared from the record. In 1893, Esther remarried dealer, Tong Kee (Charles Keys) in Emmaville and had four children with him. The family relocated to Tingha, before moving to Sydney, where Esther died in 1924 aged 78. She is buried in the Roman Catholic section of Rookwood Cemetery.
“Judges” Kay Chan was born in Canton in 1866. He arrived in New South Wales in 1886. He married Lydia E. Chi in Tingha in 1902. Lydia was the daughter of Scone residents Hannah (nee Mason) and William E. O. Chi. Judges and Lydia had one son, Athol Kay Judges and three daughters, Iris, Bessie and Doris. The family lived in Tingha, where Lydia died in 1923. Judges visited China in 1937 and in 1939 applied for alien registration in Tingha. Judges and Athol Kay are believed to have been the source of a number of the temple items that are now in various museums.