About Us

CAFHOV’s Statement of Purpose

1. To provide a forum for Chinese Australian family historians and established researchers of Chinese Australia as well as post-graduate students and academics undertaking research into aspects of Chinese Australian history and culture. Each member principally works on a self-help basis with assistance and advice from other members.

2. To investigate, study and document the broad legacy of Chinese Australia.

3. To promote increased understanding and appreciation of the legacy of Chinese Australians to Australia and to China.

4. To co-operate with other Chinese Australian Associations in partnerships consistent with the purposes of the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria Inc.

5. To co-operate with other cultural groups in promoting culturally diverse events.

Membership of group

a) Persons engaged in personal Chinese Australian family history research

b) Persons engaged in relevant post-graduate research.

Frequency & venue of meetings

Meetings held on the first Saturday of each month at the Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne.

Contact Us

Further information may be obtained by writing to CAFHOV Secretary, PO Box 18214, Melbourne, Victoria, 3001, or by email at [email protected]


Establishment of CAFHOV

Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) grew out of the energy and enthusiasm generated by two conferences held at the Museum of Chinese Australian History (now Chinese Museum) in Melbourne: ‘Histories of the Chinese in Australasia and the South Pacific (1993) and the ‘Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation (2001). Paul Macgregor, Curator of the Museum of Chinese Australian History at the time, was involved in the organisation of both conferences which brought together a broad range of academics from different disciplines as well as amateur and family historians. The conferences helped some of the family historians who attended to see how their own families were part of the complex development the Australia we know today.

One presenter and attendee at the conference was the late Henry Chan. Henry befriended fellow Kiwi sisters from Wellington, Edna Cooper and Nancy Kwong. He later contacted Nancy to let her know he was establishing a group in Sydney of like-minded people researching their Chinese-Australian family history (which later incorporated to become the Chinese Australian Historical Society) and suggested she and Edna might be interested in forming a similar group in Melbourne. Nancy was particularly enthusiastic about the idea but was not sure that they knew enough people to establish a group. Henry put her in touch with Kevin Wong Hoy and also Julia Lau who they had met at previous conferences. They put out feelers for others who might be interested. In 2001 they organised a dinner on the first night of the 2001 Conference with interested people.

On 13 December 2001 the late Kevin Wong Hoy, the late Nancy Kwong, Edna Cooper, Robyn Ansell, Julia Lau, Hamilton Chan, and Neelima/Chris Lee formed the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria with Kevin as foundation President. Kevin continued to provide astute guidance as President until February 2009. The Chinese Museum offered to host the monthly meetings which it continues to do today.

Incorporation in 2005

In 2005 CAFHOV decided to became an incorporated association with Edna as the Public Officer, Barbara Nichol as the Secretary, Julia Lau as Treasurer and Kevin ongoing as the President.

CAFHOV Inc Committee Members


Kevin Wong Hoy (2005-2009)
Robyn Ansell (2009-2012)
Vicki Harrison (2012-2014)
Grace Gassin (2014-2017)
Sally Keam (2017-present)

Vice President (established 2015)

Robyn Ansell (2015-2016)
Sally Keam (2016-2017)
Terry Young (2017-present)


Julia Lau (2005-2006)
Pauline Rule (2007-2007)
Jim Twycross (2007-2016)
Robyn Ansell (2016-2019)
Louis Chan (2019-present)


Barbara Nichol (2005-2007)
Sophie Couchman (2008-2017)
Irene Poon (2017-present)

Public Officer (discontinued 2015)

Edna Cooper (2005-2008)
Pauline Rule (2008 -2015)

Ordinary Member (established 2015)

Andrew Wong (2015-2018)
Sophie Couchman (2018-present)


In 2005 Sophie Couchman, encouraged the group to write up and publish papers a number of CAFHOV members had presented at various conferences. Secrets, Silences and Sources: Five Chinese-Australian family histories was published in June with subsequent reprints since. In August 2019 CAFHOV was proud to launch Journeys into Chinese Australian History which again showcases the work and experience of CAFHOV members.

The Buckland Chinese Australian Heritage Project

From 2004 onwards CAFHOV, led by Kevin Wong Hoy, embarked on a project to investigate the Buckland anti-Chinese riots and to find a way to suitably memorialise the events that occurred during the riots. Members, including Jim Twycross who had family connections with the area, put in a lot of work. In 2006 CAFHOV received funding from the Victorian Local History Grants for the Buckland Chinese Australian Heritage Project. The project was completed in 2008 with the formal unveiling of memorial stele at the site of the Buckland cemetery.

More details of the Buckland Memorial.




CAFHOV acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land we live and work in and pays respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging.