Introduction

In this section we share with you interesting stories of the travels of the Gin Clan Members:

 

A 19th Century Pioneer in New Gold Mountain (Victoria, Australia): 甄穗章

Creswick is a peaceful and beautiful country town within the Australian Victorian Gold Trail, just 18 km north of Ballarat, and old gold town.   Following the discovery of gold in California in the Americas circa 1849 a great deal of Chinese from the Pearl River Delta, Guangzhou, headed to the “Gold Mountain” – Gum Sun ( 金山 ).   Not long after, by the early 1850s, the news of the discovery of gold in Victoria, Australia filtered to all parts of the civilised world including China.  That attracted the hopefuls to seek their fortune at “The New Gold Mountain” – Sun Gum Sun ( 新金山).  The New Gold Mountain was nearer to home, but as the Chinese gold seekers would discover later, a place no less easy to scratch for a living.    Their arduous journey from China to the New Gold Mountain mining sites are treated by many Australian historians.

The following is an excepts of research undertaken by the Chinese Heritage Interest Network, on a Gin Clan Member: 甄穗章

The interesting thing is, according to the Zupu (族譜) (See Reference: 台山市 四九鎮,甄氏家譜), Ah Fee has living descendents in Wing On  (永安里).

Known to the locals in Creswick, Australia as "Ah Fee", his real name was 甄穗章.  He was a storekeeper at Black Lead, a rich gold mining hamlet outside Creswick.  He belonged to Generation 21, after Gin Sun Hall (甄舜河), the progenitor of the Gin Clan (甄氏族) of Guangzhou.  He came from Kay Ling Bo, Wing On Lay Village (企嶺堡,永安里), China and was the son of Moon Tig (文籍), a farmer. He was married and he had a son 30-years old son, (槐永 pronounced in Cantonese: Why Wing). He had been in Victoria 28 years.  

 Reference: 廣東甄氏族譜,卷()第七分冊之(),台山市 四九鎮,甄氏家譜, page 146, Generation 21.

His nephew, Lea Yee Coon[1] aka Coon Yee also lived at Creswick.

Ah Fee contributed £30, a significant amount in 1882, to the building of the See Yup Temple at South Melbourne.

Ah Fee had been sick for 10 weeks prior to his death. Dr Robert Charles Lindsay, a well known character in Creswick, attended to him on 24th Mar 1883.  Ah Fee died on 25th Mar 1883, suffering from Phthisis and marasmus[2], aged 65.

From the headstone, according to the Chinese calendar, his date of death was “In the year of Emperor Guang Xu 9thYear 2nd Moon, 17th day.” (光緒九年 二月十七日). This converts to 25th March 1883.

 He was buried in the Creswick Cemetery (Headstone Number 6) on 28th March 1883 by his nephew.

June 5th, 2009 update:

Further to the above information extracted from Australian Victoria State Colonial Records, through the Gin Memorial Hall of Kaiping (舜河僑刊社,廣東開平新昌沖大道舜河甄公祠,甄明基) our web master managed to trace the descendents (represented by 妙瑜) of Ah Fee, living in the Village of Wing On in Guangdong (廣東省,台山市,四九鎮,永安,同安村).  Ah Fee’s descendent had documented his name and recorded his life contribution to his family and village. 

In an email to our web master, Ah Fee's great great great grand daughter had this to say:

"我们全家都非常感谢您的热心肠,如果不是有您的热心,我们不会得知有关穗章祖宗的事,更不会发觉我们有一位这么好的祖宗,翻看族谱才知道,穗章祖宗虽然离乡别井在外谋生,但他没有忘记家乡和亲人,他生前曾寄钱回家乡,捐钱给祖祠,为亲人买田地."

 

For the sake of good record, we reproduce this verbatim extract from his family Jiapu (家譜):

 穗章翁係文籍之次子生于嘉慶(巳卯)廿四年九月初六日子時終於光緒九年(癸未)二月十七日未時亨壽六十四歲一主在石海太祖祠係光緒四年(戌寅)開輔座入主每主位艮陸兩正一主在城大門樓觀初太祖祠一主在松林里用華太袓祠因翁生前和睦兄弟朋友守過相顧可畏之時往外搗米樓身為業後至咸豐八年間心欲逃外新山求寶弗至二十年餘求得金銀年退月疋亦有艮兩数仟付帰置田畝亦有拾餘石至不料光緒九年(癸未)二月十七日未時登仙可恨不見家人子孫之面如此悲哀為子孫者不孝之罪耳。

Our research into the life history of our distant family member continues. We hope to provide update when we have a substantial report.


 

July 2009 Update:

Based on the above research on this and related subject, we published the following books:

1. Coronial Inquests & Magisterial Inquiries. Creswick Chinese (1856 to 1905) by Ivy Chin and Carol Scott

2. Chinese in the Creswick Cemetery. Headstones & Inscriptions. A Cultural Interpretation by Mun Chin, Ivy Chin and Carol Scott.

3. Chong Hon. A Permanent Creswick Citizen by Ivy Chin, Mun Chin and Carol Scott.


 

April 2010 Update

Recall above research by our family historian is suggesting that in the mid 1800s to early 1900s, Creswick, Victoria in Australia has a sizable Gin community.  On the 17th April 2010, the Chinese community of Melbourne, Australia, in association with the local Creswick community erected a Memorial to mark the passing of thousands of Chinese pioneers who lived and died in the gold mining district, and their contributions to the development of the State of Victoria.    As respected researchers on the history of this Gold Mining Town and the distant relative of many Gin family members buried in the Chinese cemetery, we were invited as one of the VIPs to attend the ceremony of unveiling of the memorial.  In excess of 300 guests, including descendents of the Chinese pioneers, local dignitaries, politicians and community leaders  turned up for this occasion.   Joss sticks, red candles, roast pigs, white chicken, fish and other goodies were offered to the dearly departed.  

The following is a montage of pictures taken on the day.

Creswick Chinese Memorial close up

Chinese Memorial full view

Memorial in English

Guests attending ceremony

Speeches

Lloyd Hon, grandson of Chong Hon of Creswick

More speeches

Offerings at the Memorial

Headstones rediscovered

2nd headstone rediscovered

The Hon family remembering their forefather

Mun Chin with Lloyd & Nancy Hon at the Memorial

Ivy Chin with Lloyd & Nancy Hon at the Memorial

 


On a related matter, one of our CHIN Family research team members, Carol Scott, passed away in 2009 and chose to be buried in Creswick as well.   In the best tradition of our Research Organisation, we view Carol Scott as "resting in the peaceful Creswick cemetery and a neighbour to fellow Gin family members also buried there".   In July 2009, the local town folks planted Gingko trees in her memory and on the 23rd January 2010, we participated in the installation of her Headstone.   As well, our research team launched two books on aspect of Creswick Chinese history.  We attach some photos for your view.

Tree Planting Ceremony to remember Carol Scott

Alex Scott, in action

Doug Scott thank the local townfolks

Carol Scott's simple headstone

In Celebration at Creswick Cemetery

A moment of reflection

A Quiet Corner

A Gin Family supporter

Rubber Ducks at Carol Scott's Grave

Scarlett Chin with grandmother Ivy at Carol Scott's grave

At the tree planting garden

 

 

 

 

 


[1] See Yee Coon died on 24th Dec 1894 in 1894/1329.

[2] General emaciation and wasting thought to be associated with severe malnutrition or impaired utilisation of nutrients.