Chinese tin miners are to Tasmania what Chinese gold miners are to Victoria and NSW. That is, they are often the first image many people have of Chinese people in Australia’s history and as in NSW and Victoria they are by no means the whole story.
Established in 1954 by George Wing Dann, a Melbourne based businessman, when he purchased the Mowbray Fruit Palace Company of Tasmania. The original Wing & Co was located closer to the central part of Hobart and is still well remembered by many Hobartians. Wing & Co in the 1950s through to the 1970s was a Chinese emporium style shop filled with knickknacks and imported exotica from China and Hong Kong.
When George Wing Dann wished to employ Joseph Chu See Foong to manage his new business they needed to seek the permission of the Department of Immigration for Joseph to transfer as he was a ‘Chinese Assistant’ meaning his status in Australia since his arrival in 1947 was tied to his employment. However as he ‘appears to be quite a good type of Chinese’ this permission was granted.
Today Wing & Co has re-invented itself as an Asian food shop and a descendant of Joseph Chu See Foong is employed there today.