1-china-day-appealA new book and exhibition celebrating the contribution of the Chinese community to the Tweed will be launched on Saturday 30 May in Murwillumbah.

The book Families of Fortune – Chinese People in the Tweed documents the presence and contribution of Chinese people in Tweed from the 19th century to the present.

Since 2005, Tweed River Regional Museum staff and volunteers have been working on an important project called Migration to the Tweed to collect and preserve information about the many people who have come to Tweed Shire over the years and have contributed to the rich and diverse community here today.

2-market-gardensThe award-winning book, The Other Side of the World, was published in 2007 and documented aspects of post-war international migration to the Tweed during the 1940s and 1950s in photographs, oral history, objects and personal stories.

As The Other Side of the World covered mainly post-World War II arrivals, the Chinese, who have made significant, long-term contributions to the community since their arrival in Tweed in the 19th century, were not adequately researched.

Senior Museum Curator Sally Watterson said the project has been made possible by the generosity of local people in sharing and allowing their personal stories to be added to our understanding of this special region and of those who have contributed to the unique cultural landscape.

3-tongs-store-interior“Historian and author Joanna Boileau is to be commended for her wonderful original research work and also for her personal commitment to recording and fostering understanding of Chinese history,” Ms Watterson said.

“Historian Frank Mills generously contributed his personal research into Chinese people and places in southern Tweed Shire and the Brunswick Valley, and the Brunswick Valley Historical Society have been most gracious in making records and information available.”

The Migration to Tweed project has been made possible by the dedication of volunteers and staff and has been funded since 2006 by Arts NSW, The NSW Migration Heritage Centre, and Tweed Shire Council, of which Tweed River Regional Museum is a community facility.

4-tongs-store-exteriorThe public is invited to the official exhibition opening on Saturday 30 May at 10am at the Coolamon Culutral Centre in Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah. Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by 27 May to Museum Assistant Kirsty Andrew on (02) 6670 2493 or email kandrew@tweed.nsw.gov.au


1. Staff of Tong’s Store in Chinese dress for the China Day Appeal and parade in Murwillumbah in August 1943. Left to right: Thelma Mee Lee, May Sue, Olga Lock Lee, Rita Tong, Mavis Mapp, Nancy Sutton, Eadie Jack, June Dwyer, Daphne Innes.

2.The Chinese market gardens, Kyogle Road, Bray Park, Murwillumbah c. 1920. The gardens were located on the terraced area between the road and the Tweed River.

3. Interior of Tong’s Store c. 1936. Drapery section (foreground) and the grocery section (rear). Left to right: Mary Tong See, Olga Lock Lee, Norman Tong, George Lowe, ‘Pop’ Fitzsimmons, Thelma Mee Lee, Thomas Tong See.

4. Staff of Tong’s Store c. 1936. Left to right: Norman Tong, Olga Lock Lee, Thomas Tong See, Mary Tong See, Thelma Mee Lee, George Lowe, ‘Pop’ Fitzsimmons (standing at rear).