21 episodes

From artists to brain surgeons, fashion designers to board directors – this series brings you the unique stories of people who celebrate Lunar New Year. Hosted by Valerie Khoo – Curator of the City of Sydney's annual Sydney Lunar Festival – it’s a journey into the Asian Australian experience. You’ll discover the personalities and passions of people who meld their cultural traditions with the sunburnt country that they call home.

New Stories, Bold Legends: Stories from Sydney Lunar Festival Valerie Khoo

    • Design
    • 3.9, 28 Ratings

From artists to brain surgeons, fashion designers to board directors – this series brings you the unique stories of people who celebrate Lunar New Year. Hosted by Valerie Khoo – Curator of the City of Sydney's annual Sydney Lunar Festival – it’s a journey into the Asian Australian experience. You’ll discover the personalities and passions of people who meld their cultural traditions with the sunburnt country that they call home.

    S2 Episode 6: A constellation of Sydney’s Asian communities

    S2 Episode 6: A constellation of Sydney’s Asian communities

    This series, we’ve been looking at some prominent Chinese personalities from Sydney’s history. As we’ve learned, there has been a small but strong Chinese presence in Australia right from the start of colonisation. But what about other Asian communities? Walk down any main street in Sydney and you’ll find restaurants serving Thai food, Malaysian dishes and Vietnamese delicacies. Census data shows that about 16% of Australia’s population has Asian heritage. Asian-Australains are an essential part of Sydney’s multicultural make-up.

    In the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat. The Rat is actually the first sign of the lunar zodiac and heralds the start of the 12-year lunar calendar cycle. So I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to explore 12 other Asian communities which make Sydney special.

    https://newstories.net.au/episode-6-a-constellation-of-sydneys-asian-communities/

    • 26 min
    S2 Episode 5: The lives of Sydney’s early Chinese women

    S2 Episode 5: The lives of Sydney’s early Chinese women

    In the stories of Chinese and Asian people in Australian history, there’s one group that’s noticeably missing: women! There were many notable Chinese men in Sydney’s early days and in the 20th century. If you’ve been listening to this podcast series, you’ve discovered some of them. But where are the ladies?

    Many historians have glossed over Chinese women in Sydney’s history. It’s true that they were a small population, especially in the very early years of the colony. But they were not non-existent! Combing through newspapers and archives, we can find hundreds of women of Chinese descent making their lives in Sydney in the 1800s and 1900s. 

    So it’s up to us. We can continue to ignore them or we can try to find out more about them. We may not know everything about their lives – where they came from, how they spent their days – but by researching their stories we can begin to have an idea of these early settlers.

    In this episode, we touch on the lives of a handful of Sydney’s Chinese women. Their weddings and parties, their fundraising for the Red Cross, their activism – and we will say their names.

    https://newstories.net.au/episode-5-the-lives-of-sydneys-early-chinese-women/

    • 30 min
    S2 Episode 4: Sun Johnson – The linguist, educator and media mogul

    S2 Episode 4: Sun Johnson – The linguist, educator and media mogul

    Sun Johnson was the editor of Australia’s first national Chinese newspaper, which started publication in 1894. He was born in Hong Kong and educated in London, before moving to Australia as a young man.

    Sun used his linguistic skills to create a Chinese-Australian dictionary, aimed primarily at helping Chinese people deal with Australian merchants.

    The Chinese Australian Herald, which was actually established by two European men, was launched at a time when the Chinese population of Sydney was changing. Migrants were moving away from the goldfields and bushland and into the city. They were setting up market gardens and import businesses. Many of them didn’t speak English, but they could read Chinese.

    Over the next few decades, the Herald – helmed by Sun Johnson – would provide this small community with news from abroad and across Australia. Sun and the paper were also instrumental in helping the Chinese community engage with events within the European community, most importantly Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

    For a time, Sun Johnson was one of the most influential people in Sydney’s Chinese community. 

    https://newstories.net.au/sun-johnson-the-linguist-educator-and-media-mogul/

    • 26 min
    S2 Episode 3: William Liu – The pathfinder who fought for Chinese rights

    S2 Episode 3: William Liu – The pathfinder who fought for Chinese rights

    William Liu was a tireless campaigner for the rights of other Chinese Australians to live and settle peacefully in this country.

    Earlier in his life, he had been instrumental in exporting Australia’s department store model to China and Hong Kong. William fervently believed that economic ties between the two countries was the key to a strong relationship.

    He was often a lone voice in his fight, but he eventually saw success with the normalisation of relations between China and Australia in 1972. More importantly, the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 officially ended the White Australia Policy. In 1983, William was appointed to the Order of the British Empire.

    He was a true Australian pathfinder, bringing hope and security to hundreds of Chinese Australians. He died in 1983 on Anzac Day.

    https://newstories.net.au/william-liu-the-pathfinder-who-fought-for-chinese-rights/

    • 29 min
    S2 Episode 2: Mei Quong Tart – The entrepreneur who started Sydney’s first cafes

    S2 Episode 2: Mei Quong Tart – The entrepreneur who started Sydney’s first cafes

    Mei Quong Tart was one of the most recognised figures in Sydney during the late 1800s. He was an entrepreneur and philanthropist – and most importantly, he opened Sydney’s very first cafes. Yes, we owe our fantastic cafe culture to a Chinese immigrant who spoke with a Scottish accent.

    We know a lot about the life and works of Mei Quong Tart because he was so prominent and well-respected. He had a string of successful businesses – and you can still see some of the facades of his cafes around Sydney today. He also had a social conscience at a time when that wasn’t in vogue – he treated his employees well and hosted suffragette meetings.

    His life was tragically cut short in a botched robbery but his legacy lives on in cafes and tea rooms across the city.

    https://newstories.net.au/mei-quong-tart-the-entrepreneur-who-started-sydneys-first-cafes/

    • 21 min
    S2 Episode 1: John Shying – The story of Australia’s first known Chinese settler

    S2 Episode 1: John Shying – The story of Australia’s first known Chinese settler

    John Shying is the first known Chinese person to arrive in Australia and make a life Down Under. He emigrated to the colony at Sydney as a young man in 1818, just 30 years after the First Fleet. He was a skilled tradesman and earned his keep as a carpenter before moving out west and becoming a publican. 

    John Shying was a keen property developer, buying and selling land and building houses and hotels. Basically, he dealt in property and booze – quintessential Australian pastimes!

    With his English-born wife, he had four sons. All of the Shying boys would go into trade as carpenters, undertakers and merchants. Between them they had at least 31 children, meaning that there are literally thousands of descendants of Australia’s first Chinese settler in Australia today. 

    There’s an idea amongst European Australians that if you can trace your lineage back to the early years of the colony, you are part of “Australian Royalty”. So if your last name is Shying or Dunn, Slayford, Owen, Proctor or Murphy, you may very well be a part of Australian Royalty through Australia’s first known Chinese immigrant.

    https://newstories.net.au/john-shying-the-story-of-australias-first-known-chinese-settler/

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

Safarigold ,

Fascinating insight

I love this podcast - what a fascinating insight into the many different experiences of Asian Australians... such a great line up of guests, and a lively, astute interviewer.

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