Glimpsing Vintage Hong Kong: A walking tour of Hurstville

CAHS event for History Week 2022

香港 汇美

Date: Saturday 10th September,

Time: 11am- 12 noon

Meeting point: All participants are to make their way to Hurstville independently and to meet the tour group at the front entrance of Hurstville Railway Station (near the Westpac Bank) on Forest Road at 10.45am. The tour starts at 11am sharp.

Cost: $35 (not including lunch)

Bookings: Contact Ann Toy via contact.cahs@gmail.com

Discover Hurstville’s traditional Cantonese food and cultural heritage on a walking tour of Forest Road with Kevin Tang, Secretary of the Chinese Australian Historical Society CAHS. This tour takes in vintage Hong Kong Culture from the 1970s 1980s which is fast disappearing in Australia and for many overseas Chinatowns. Even Chinatowns around the world don’t have the allure of this main street.

Ordinary Cantonese culture exists, cheek by jowl, with the dominance of Westfield Shopping Centres and suburban Sydney life in the 2020s. Hurstville was large old Australian working-class suburb of Sydney before the 1990s. Hong Kongers came to the area post 1989 – some 30 years ago. They brought all of their cultural heritage from the Hong Kong of their youth in 1950s and 1960s. Think of the great films of the time Love is a Many Splendored Thing where William Holden and Jennifer Jones captured The Peak, Hollywood Road, the Bonham Strand, Des Voeux Road …or recently, In the Mood for Love 花樣年華…where Wong Kar Wai captured that world of Cheong Sams of Maggie Cheung and laneways with Tony Leung. Where has time gone? You might hear the old sing-song Cantonese of old men and women chatting near The Cenotaph on this Saturday afternoon. Something that could be heard in the New Territories or on the Star Ferry Terminal…a certain familiar sound of the dialect. Are we in the famous Kowloon City? Even that has disappeared. This lost world of suburban Hong Kong is about to vanish…like the Star Ferry and old Kai Tak airport.  There are shades of old Kowloon in Forest Road. You’ll see vintage Chinese bakeries, barbecue shops, butchers, wet markets fresh fish and seafood and grocery stores. There is a rich intangible seam of cultural Cantonese heritage here. We could be in Shek Kip Mei or Lai Chi Kok or even Kwun Tong in suburban Kowloon in the 1980s…but its here in Sydney.

The tour ends at Sun Ming restaurant, a Hong Kong style café with a cup of Hong Kong milk tea and fried toast or Lemon Tea and pot cooked rice.  The menu is full of old favourites typical of vintage Hong Kong. Vintage Hong Kong culture falls away and makes room for Bubble tea and new style cafes. As fast as you see it – life in 80s HK…it has disappeared. Join us for a nod at vintage Hong Kong in the interstices of Sydney suburban culture in the 2020s.


Donations: to CAHS is appreciated:

BSB: 012071 – Account: 111211003

Or by cheque payable to the Chinese Australian Historical Society and posted to Treasurer, CAHS Inc, PO Box K556, Haymarket NSW 1240

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