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Samuel Gung, Son of Chinese Migrants (1920-1993)

Drivers Licence - Victoria, Issued to Samuel L Gung, 18 May 1951

Image: Drivers Licence - Victoria, Issued to Samuel L Gung, 18 May 1951

Source: Museum Victoria

Samuel Gung was born in Carlton, Melbourne, in 1920, and is the son of Chinese migrants, Yun Ping and Sydney Louey Gung. At a young age, Samuel left his family and travelled to China to live with relatives and complete his education.

During World War II, Samuel served with the US Forces in Fiji and China until he was captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in a camp, from which he later escaped. Following the War, Samuel married Mary Louey Gung (Mark Wai Kuen) and had two children, Ling Po (Phyllis) and Wing Young (Jeff). In 1947, the young family decided make the long voyage to Australia: during the journey, Jeff contracted whooping cough and was threatened with being thrown overboard by the Captain who feared contagion among the rest of the passengers. Fortunately, Jeff made a full recovery and the family arrived safely in Melbourne. Samuel went on to work with his father, Sydney, at The Geraldton Fruit Company and became the proud father of four more children, David Leslie, Martin and Colin (all born in East Melbourne).

Years later Samuel and Mary became friends with the Honourable Arthur A. Calwell, Australia's first Minister for Immigration (1945-49) and author of 'I Stand by White Australia' (1949), an article defending the deportation of non-European refugees granted temporary residency during World War II. Over the years, Calwell was to become a good friend of the family and advised them on how to apply for Australian citizenship.

Samuel died in 1993 and is buried next to his parents in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

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