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Sydney Louey Gung, Chinese Migrant, circa 1900
Image: Certificate of Registration - Issued to Sydney Louey Gung, Commonwealth of Australia, 3 May 1948
Source: Museum Victoria
Sydney (also Sidney) Louey Gung was born in Canton (Guangzhou), the capital of the Guangdong province in southern China. The exact date of Sydney's birth is uncertain because official documents record two different dates: his certificate of registration shows his year of birth as 1880, while his son's birth certificate suggests that he was born in 1878. His first date of entry into Australia is 1900 or 1901 according to records documenting his re-entry into Australia in 1912. He lived in Sydney for four years, his occupation as yet unknown. For the subsequent six and a half years, the re-entry records list his occupation as foreman and cabinet maker for Louey Pang's furniture factory.
Sydney was a younger brother of Harry Louey Pang (born 8 September 1872, Canton), who owned and managed the fruit, produce and Chinese merchandise import and export company Harry Louey Pang & Co. Pty. Ltd. in Melbourne until his death on 6 June 1937. Harry had resided in Australia since 1888. It is not yet known when Pang started his business. In 1912 he is described as being a Chinese furniture manufacturer in a court case in which he was involved. By 1928 there was also an associate branch in Sydney called Louey Pang and Samuel Wong Ltd which operated in Haymarket. Through his business, Pang was able to bring Chinese migrants to Australia, including his younger brother Sydney, another young brother, Arthur Louey Gook (born 9 September 1891, Canton) and a nephew Louey Shou. This was despite the Commonwealth 'Immigration Restriction Act' (1901) which virtually banned immigration from Asia. On 12 August 1929, the Department of Home Affairs rejected an application from Louey Pang to bring more Chinese workers to be employed in his business. At the time, Pang had four Chinese-born staff with certificates of exemption from the dictation test and employed a number of Chinese and Australian-born Chinese men in his business. The Collector of Customs noted that 'Some of the other Chinese here are rather jealous of Pang's success in introducing imported Chinese'.
Sydney Louey Gung was required to register as an 'Alien Resident' and notify the Department of Home Affairs of every change of address. Between 1916 and 1918 he moved four times to various addresses in Carlton and North Carlton. His occupation also changes, first recorded as a cabinet maker with no place of business listed. In February 1918 he is recorded as a fruit agent, again with no place of business listed. Sydney and his younger brother Arthur lived together for one month towards the end of 1917. In 1916, Arthur was 'learning furniture manufacture' and is listed as a cabinet maker and carpenter. He was employed in various positions by his brother Harry up until 1937. Like Sydney, he was also brought out by Harry to work in his business, arriving in Australia in 1914. Arthur's wife was Betty Louey Gook who was born in Canton on 24 October 1894. Arthur died on 15 November 1937 in Melbourne after being hit by a car.
Sydney continued to work for his elder brother becoming the manager of the Fruit Department in Harry Louey Pang & Co Pty. Ltd. In July 1929, he travelled to China in order to recruit more Chinese born staff. He appears to have worked in his brother's business in various roles until his brother's death in 1937.
In 1938 Sydney was employed by the Geraldton Fruit Company at the Victoria Market, Melbourne and worked there until the 1950s, after which he operated a milk bar in Carlton. His three sons, Victor, Samuel and Melbourne were also employed by the Geraldton Fruit Company.
In 1912 Sydney had married Yun Ping Hee Yu, with whom he had seven children. Yun Ping was born in Celestial Avenue, Melbourne on 8 February 1890.The children were Maisie, Dorothy, Grace, Christine, Victor, Samuel and Melbourne. The family were frequent travellers to their home country until fighting during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) made the journey too dangerous. In fact, the Gung family were among the passengers aboard the last civilian ship to depart from China until the end of World War II.
Adjusting to life in Victoria was not always easy for Sydney. The Gung family recalls an incident where he was attacked by local 'larrikins' who cut-off his queue (braid), a common act of assault against Chinese men at the time.
Sydney died in 1954 and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery. His wife died in 1969.
(showing 1 - 8) 8 items
Certificate No. V9738 issued by Commonwealth of Australia to Sydney Louey Gung, Chinese, of North Melbourne, dated 3 May 1948. Sydney Louey Gung was born in Canton, China in 1880 or 187 ...From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 6
Photo of Sydney and May Gung, and five of their grandchildren taken in a back yard in front of fence. The Gung family collection documents their experiences of immigrating and living in ...Images: 1
Wooden abacus used by Sydney Louey Gung, possibly purchased in Australia or brought with Sydney from China during the early 1900s. Sydney Louey Gung migrated to Australia from China in ...Images: 2
Scale balance possibly used for weighing herbs. It includes the balance only, without the chain or pan. It was found amongst the possessions of Sydney Louey Gung and he possibly brought ...Images: 2
Mahjong set which belonged to Sydney Louey Gung and Yun Ping and was brought to Australia by one of them when they migrated or during a return visit to China. Mahjong is a traditional a ...Images: 6
Clay pot steamer either brought to Australia or purchased in Australia by Sydney Louey Gung or his wife Yun Ping, early 1900s. It was used in traditional Chinese cooking to steam food b ...Images: 8
Photograph of a group of adults and children taken on a ship. The people in the photograph are mainly Chinese, and it is likely some members of the Gung family are depicted in the photo ...Images: 1
Black and white photograph is of Samuel and Mary Louey Gung, their three children Jeff (Wing How), David and Phyllis (Ling Boo) Gung and the family dog, about 1948 in Melbourne. The Gun ...Images: 2