Quong Tartc 1880s

by Unknown artist

Mei Quong Tart was born at Hsinning (Sun-Ning), China, in 1850. At the age of nine he travelled to New South Wales with an uncle who had charge of transporting Chinese labourers by ship to the Braidwood goldfields. Quong lived with a family at Bells Creek. He learnt English, converted to Christianity and made his fortune through gold investments. Quong moved to Sydney and married Margaret Scarlett, a young Englishwoman, in 1886. The couple had six children.

A well-known and popular identity, Quong dressed as a Victorian gentleman, and had a fondness for Scottish songs and playing the bagpipes. He was a prosperous silk and tea merchant, and a successful restaurant operator — with a restaurant on King St and a tearoom at the Queen Victoria markets. Quong was also an active philanthropist and campaigner against opium importation.