Current Events & News

2002-2022: A Symposium
Rethinking the Chinese Australian Historical Society

A major event to celebrate the Society’s 20th Anniversary is a symposium reviewing the evolution and legacies of the Chinese Australian
Historical Society from its establishment in 2002 to 2022. Here is your chance to discuss issues and solutions to ensure the organisation’s survival and
growth for the next twenty years.

The review will in turn lead to the development of a new Strategic Plan for CAHS through the active participation of members in a series of workshops.

This event will be an in-person presentation combined with online streaming via Zoom, to allow our members from around Australia to participate.

Guest speakers will include: Dawn Wong, King Fong OAM and Daphne Lowe Kelley, (past CAHS Presidents), Dr Kate Bagnall (former CAHS Committee member), and Dr Carol Liston, AO (past President of the Royal Australian Historical Society) who will address the future role of Historical Societies in Australia. The symposium will be chaired by Darryl Low Choy (CAHS President).

Date: Saturday 29th October
2.00 pm- 4.30pm.
Venue: Carmichael Theatre,
Sydney Mechanic’s School of Arts,
Pitt Street, Sydney.
Cost: Free

Henry Chan Annual Lecture

Join us in person or by Zoom for this year’s Henry Chan lecture, San Ren Xing 三人行 (Walking among Three People): Some Reflections on Chinese Australians in Diplomacy, to be presented by distinguished speaker Dr Jocelyn Chey, AM.

Dr Chey AM is Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and UTS. Her career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spanned thirty years from the 1970s to 90s, including two postings in Beijing and as Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, 1992-95. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009.

Date: Monday 7th November,
6.00-8.30 pm
Venue: Dixson Room, State Lib


Please indicate if you wish to attend in
person or via Zoom.

Further details will be sent upon

Chinese Australian Historical Society Annual General Meeting

Date: Saturday 3rd December, 10 am – 12.00pm.
Venue: Carmichael Theatre, Sydney’s Mechanic’s School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney.
This will be an in -person presentation with on-line streaming via Zoom.
Cost: Attendance at the AGM is free.

The AGM will be followed by a celebratory Chinese banquet lunch at 12.30 pm, to mark the occasion of the Society’s 20th Anniversary. (Cost of lunch and restaurant venue TBA).

Past Events

CAHS event for History Week 2022

香港 汇美

Glimpsing Vintage Hong Kong: A walking tour of Hurstville

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

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.

Past Events

Sydney Lunar Festival Associated Event

South Flows the Pearl: Chinese Australian Voices

Date: Saturday 29 January 2022

Time: 2.30pm to 3.30pm (AEDT)

Venue: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney. This presentation is also by Zoom

RSVP to email

Cost: FREE

In the 1980s Mavis Gock Yen began interviewing elderly Chinese Australians, recording hours of
conversations. These conversations and stories of the lives of Chinese in Australia, told in their own
words, have been edited by Siaoman Yen and Richard Horsburgh. They form the basis of South Flows
the Pearl
, to be published by Sydney University Press in February 2022.

Perth-born Mavis Gock Yen (1916-2008), moved with her family to Shanghai in 1925 and spent time in
China and Australia over the next twenty years. In 1946 she settled in China where she worked
as a journalist and English teacher until after the Cultural Revolution, eventually returning to Australia
in 1981 with her daughter Siaoman Yen. Mavis then settled in Canberra and completed a Bachelor of
Arts degree, majoring in professional writing.

Learn more about South Flows the Pearl: Chinese Australian Voices from editor Richard Horsburgh,
historian Sophie Loy-Wilson who wrote the introduction and Professor Kam Louie who wrote the

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

Yellow Shadows on a White Land – by Gordon Mar

Changing attitudes towards mixed marriages

Date: Saturday 30 October 2021

Time: 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Venue: This presentation is via Zoom

Cost: FREE

This Presentation is by Gordon Mar, whose parents migrated to Australia in the 1920’s from Zhongshan, Guandong Province, China. Gordon is Australian born and educated, now retired after a was a business career of some 53 years.

Growing up, he was aware that when it came time to marry, his bride should be a Chinese. That was the expectation of his parents and the prevailing attitude amongst Chinese in those days.

Those who dared cross accepted racial boundaries faced hostility and social disapproval. It was however the Australian woman who suffered the opprobrium and the children of those unions who became the innocent sufferers. Thankfully attitudes have changed to-day towards mixed marriages.

A Chinatown Building Worth Saving

A link to this presentation will be posted in due course

Chinatown Walking Tour

King Fong – pioneer of Chinatown Walking Tours

Talking Chinese Australian History

Welcome to our exciting new series of discussions with a wide variety of researchers of Chinese Australian History.

Please subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Catch up:

Sun Kum Tiy: Qing warrior to mysterious colonial Sydney merchant

After service in the Ever Victorious Army under Lieutenant Colonel Charles “Chinese” Gordon during the Taiping Rebellion, Kum Tiy arrived in Sydney around 1864–1865. He immediately set up the merchant business Sun Kum Tiy & Company, Sydney. In time, his merchant empire included some dozens of branch stores in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, New Zealand and one in the Pacific Islands. He was to become one of Sydney’s and New South Wales’s wealthiest and most influential merchants of the late colonial period.

This was our first.

Catch up:
Conflict at Lambing Flat: Memory, Myth & History – a discussion with Karen Schamberger

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