Tales of Recollection, by Artist Nicholas Chin

10 – 14 September 2015

This exhibition presents a selection of works by artist Nicholas Chin. Through his art, Nicholas shares impressionistic recollections and stories of his life in Malaysia, and of finding himself living in a land far from home. Influenced by Surrealism and artists Frida Kahlo and Rene Magritte, Nicholas’ art is centred around the on the themes of filial piety(the relationship between parent and child), the self, security, nostalgia, and his Malaysian-Chinese heritage, as expressed through fantasy, dreams, and symbolism. He uses motifs in his works to symbolise individuals and events; for example his parents are represented through flowers. Colours also play an important role as bridges to convey emotions and aspirations.

Each work depicts the artist in different scenarios as he recalls growing up in Malaysia, his response to the changes around him as he adapts to life in Australia, and what is important and precious to him. In essence, his works are a reflection of his ongoing experiences and a story of self-discovery.

Nick Chin art2_smaller

Queensland Dragon: Chinese in the North

26 September 2015 – March 2016

A century ago, Chinese migrants constituted 20 to 30 per cent of the population of north Queensland’s major towns – Cairns, Port Douglas, Geraldton (Innisfail), Cooktown, Maytown, Atherton and Croydon. Numbering twenty-five to thirty thousand, these north Queensland Chinese workers played a significant role in the establishment, development and ongoing survival of townships in Far North Queensland.

This contribution has seldom been recognised in the official history of the region and in the local museums and historical societies in the region. To rectify this, Maria Friend, Museum Development Officer for Far North Queensland, brought together scholars of Chinese-Australian history and key local history museums and historical societies from across Far North Queensland to develop this exhibition in 2008. The exhibition has toured Cooktown, Croydon, Innisfail, Atherton, Cairns and Brisbane.

Thanks to the generosity of the Queensland Museum, the Chinese Museum is proud to be able to bring this ground-breaking exhibition to Melbourne audiences. Supporting the exhibition will be items from the Chinese Museum’s collection.


Image courtesy of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 121707

Flora Masterworks by Chinese Master Painter Wenli Huang

8 – 13 August 2015

This exhibition presents paintings by notable Chinese painter and calligrapher, Huang Wenli. Ms Huang was born in Shenyang and graduated from the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, in Liaoning Province. She is a professor at Beijing National University as well as a Master Instructor at Liaoning Province’s Artists Association.

Huang Wenli’s works, especially bird and flower paintings, have won many national and international awards and through her work, she has engaged in cultural exchanges with numerous countries, including Japan, Russia, Korea, Taiwan and the United States of America.


Beth Holland


Beth is studying for her Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation at Melbourne University. In the last few months she has been a part of the Young Chinese League dragon conservation team. They have recently completed the dry cleaning stage and hope to reattach some of the dragon’s decorations in the near future. Beth has also rehoused documents, made Chinese lanterns and completed minor treatments on various objects. Through volunteer work, Beth has furthered her practical skills and knowledge of her city’s history. She plans to continue volunteering at the museum upon completion of her thesis.

Result slip issued by Melbourne See Yup Chinese School (6 July 1991)

The late Evelyn Lau (also known as Evelyn Law and Evelyn Imfeld) is well remembered for introducing Cantonese and other Chinese cuisines to Australian television audiences on the channel ATV-0 in the 1970s. She moved to Australia from Hong Kong in 1946 at the age of 18 and retained a lifelong interest in Chinese culture, food and language.

A recent donation of Evelyn’s possessions, which include language study materials, shows us that throughout the 1980s to early 2000s Evelyn attended a variety of Mandarin and Cantonese classes. Result slips such as this one are not only evidence of her ongoing interest and efforts to learn spoken and written Chinese, but also provide us with a record and understanding of the various organisations in Melbourne that provided Chinese language lessons, as well as their teaching methods and activities.  From this document, we can also tell that sixty-three year old Evelyn was a diligent student with stellar grades, and of excellent discipline, moral character and manners!

If you have an item with a Chinese-Australian connection that you would like to donate, write to us at curator@chinesemuseum.com.au .

Donated by Christian Imfeld and Geoff Goullet, in memory of Evelyn Imfeld (nee Law) (2015.06)

Donated by Christian Imfeld and Geoff Goullet, in memory of Evelyn Imfeld (nee Law) (2015.06)