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Sepia photo of Chow Moon

Moon Chow: the story of the first Chinese West Australian

This event will explore the fascinating story of Moon Chow, pieced together from the fragments of his life that exist in the archives and in local Western Australian legends.

Moon Chow arrived in Western Australia on 15 March 1830 and was probably the first Chinese person to settle in Western Australia. He was stranded in WA when the boat on which he was working, the Emily Taylor, sank off the coast of Fremantle on 21 May 1830.
He was a carpenter by profession and was then employed by Henry Reveley, the civil engineer responsible for the major public works project of the formative years of the Swan River Colony. It is likely that Moon Chow was the carpenter employed on Reveley’s major early projects such as the Round House and the first Government House (wooden). After Reveley left WA in 1838, Moon Chow continued working as a local carpenter and founded his own boatyard in Fremantle. He married the daughter of a local labourer, Mary Thorpe, and they had four children. They lived and worked in Fremantle.
Moon Chow died on the evening of 9 June 1877 when he was knocked down by a mail van in Fremantle High Street. An inquest was held into his death and it was ruled accidental but, as a consequence, night lights were placed on both ends of the Fremantle bridge and the first speed limits were introduced.

Boorloo Heritage Festival Logo 2023

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    Event Showings

    Saturday 1 April 2023
    2pm to 3pm

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    City of Perth Library

    573 Hay Street

    Perth WA 6000

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    Wheelchair access