Lowe Kong Meng, 1866
'Mr Lowe Kong Meng - [from a photograph by Mr Frith],
wood engraving published in The Australasian Sketcher, c1866 (1985.07.33.pt01)
Out of copyright
Many who arrived in Victoria during the gold rushes were poor farmers with little education, but not all.
Lowe Kong Meng was one notable exception. He was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1831 to a Chinese merchant who came from the See Yup area in Guangdong. He was educated in Penang as well as Mauritius and spoke English and French fluently as well as a number of Cantonese dialects.
Before coming to Australia Lowe Kong Meng traded goods between Mauritius, Calcutta and Singapore. He arrived in Victoria after hearing of the gold rushes in 1853 and a year later had established an importing business in Little Bourke Street.
He became a very successful businessman and important Chinese community leader.
Zhu, 'English through the Vernaculars of the Canton and Shiuhing Prefectures', c1862
Stedman & Lee, 'A Chinese and English Phrase Book in the Canton Dialect', New York, 1888
Sun, 'The Self Educator', Sydney, c1892
Sun, 'The Self Educator', 2nd edn (enlarged), Sydney, c1892
Mo, 'Chinese Pronunciation of English Words/The Tallyman's Vocabulary', 9th edn, Hong Kong, 1923
Locations listed in Zhu's 'English through the Vernaculars of the Canton and Shiuhing Prefectures'
Guangzhou and Surrounds
Maa Louey (1835-1915) and his family
Maa Louey, undated
Georgie Ah Ling's house (1968)
Georgie Ah Ling's house (2012)
Donald is my home: George Ah Ling (c1884-1987)
Phrasebook use in China
Introduction to Chinese and Cantonese dialects
Speaking English with an 1860s Cantonese-English phrasebook
Learning English in 1950s Australia: Mr Ng’s experience
Learning English in 1930s China: Mr Leong's Experience
Arrival of the first gold escort, Melbourne, 1852
Arrival of Chinese immigrants to Little Bourke St, Melbourne, c1866
Opening of the new Chinese joss house, Emerald Hill, 1866
Chinese leaving for the diggings from Newstead on a Cobb & Co coach, c1865-1871
Chinese sluicing, near Beechworth, c1864
Chinese man working a mining cradle, Upper Ovens district, c1878
The Chinese hawker, 1873.
Christmas in Melbourne: A Chinese pedlar making presents to his customers, 1887
Lowe Kong Meng, 1866
Story education resources
Education Cantonese-English Phrasebook in Australia Education kit
Language, a Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebook in Australia Education Kit, produced by the Chinese Museum, 2013.
This education kit contains classroom activities designed for teachers to use in conjunction with this website story Language, A Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebooks in Australia.
It contains five classroom activities which support various areas of the Victorian curriculum (AusVELS), including AusVELS Humanities (History) Level 5 and AusVELS Humanities (History) Level 9.
The focus of this kit is on Zhu's English through the Vernaculars of the Canton and Shiuhing Prefectures (c1857-c1862) - a Cantonese to English phrasebook produced for Cantonese speakers arriving on the goldfields during the Californian and Victorian gold rushes.