Collaboration

Snapshot from Our Collection

Cantonese-English PhrasebookModified Cantonese opera gown and shoesHerb grinding boatPhotographic copy of one pound promissory note in Chinese and English-language.Young Chinese League Football Team 1947
Cantonese-English Phrasebook, c1862. Unknown donor (1985.14.01). This very early Cantonese-English phrasebook was specially written for Chinese coming to Victoria and California. Through it we can see how Chinese negotiated language issues after leaving China and the common situations they encountered. For further information about this phrasebook see our research project ‘Language, the Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebook’
Modified Cantonese opera gown and shoes, c1920-30s. Donated by Eunice Leong (2012.14.01 and 2012.14.02). This gown and slippers belonged to Mrs Olive Mabel Clarice Chinn. Mrs Chinn established the ‘Oriental Orchestra’ which included herself and her children. The group toured rural Victoria fund-raising. They played popular western tunes, some with a Chinese twist. The gown was probably imported from China or Hong Kong and shows beautiful craftsmanship. Of interest is the fact that Mrs Chinn altered the gown by removing the side splits and inserting new embroidered panels so that it could be worn as a dress. Within Cantonese opera it would generally have been worn by a male performer.
Herb grinding boat. Donated by Martin Louey (1986.15). Louey Hay's Chinese anatomy books, specially labelled drawers for holding Chinese medicinal herbs and herb grinder help us to understand how Traditional Chinese Medical doctors worked in Australia in the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Photographic copy of one pound promissory note in Chinese and English-language, c1900. Donated by the Westpac Bank (1987.11). Photograph of an Australian pound note with Chinese characters on it, issued by the Commercial Bank of Australia (which became Westpac Bank in 1982. Chinese-Australian merchants Louey Ah Mouy and Lowe Kong Meng served on the provisional committee of the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1866. The Chinese characters read: 'New Gold Mountain “mashi” bank'., c1900. Donated by the Westpac Bank (1987.11). Photograph of an Australian pound note with Chinese characters on it, issued by the Commercial Bank of Australia (which became Westpac Bank in 1982. Chinese-Australian merchants Louey Ah Mouy and Lowe Kong Meng served on the provisional committee of the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1866. The Chinese characters read: 'New Gold Mountain “mashi” bank'.
Young Chinese League Football Team 1947 - Back Row: A.Anguey, T.Gooey, N.Chong, G.Chong, P.Geechoun, R.Yee, H.Chin, O.Kwong, Centre Row: J.Chong, N.Quon, F.A.Chinn, D.Quon, C.Quon, D.Tyshing-F.Gooey, Front Row: L.Quon, T.Wing Young, L.Moy. C.Wing, G.Dan, A.Young, A.Kim. Donated by the Young Chinese League (1987.06.38).

The Chinese Museum collects material that helps us to tell the history of Chinese and their descendants in Australia and the ongoing exchange of culture between Australians (of both Chinese and non-Chinese ancestry) and Chinese.

If you have an item that you would like the Museum to consider for its collection, please contact our curator Joyce Agee by email (curator@chinesemuseum.com.au) or by mail (Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia).

We have a broad collection which reflects the social fabric and activities of the Chinese community in Australia from the 1850s to the present day.

This includes artefacts (such as costumes, tools, utensils, art and craft objects, furniture and household objects); documents (newspaper clippings, diaries, letters, books, journal); pictorials (photographs, drawings, paintings, sketches) and audio-visual material (such as oral history recordings, musical recordings, film and video).

At the end of 2005, much of the Museum’s photographic collection along with images from other public collections was made available online through the Chinese-Australian Historical Images in Australia (CHIA) website – http://www.chia.chinesemuseum.com.au.

In 2012, a selection of Young Chinese League items from the Museum’s collection were entered into the Victorian Collections website – http://www.victoriancollections.net.au/organisations/chinese-museum.

Items from the Museum’s collection can also be found on the Culture Victoria website: Chinese-Australian families: Dreams of Jade and Gold http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/stories/chinese-australian-families/ and Language, A Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebooks in Australia http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/stories/language-a-key-to-survival/.


From the Collection