Looking quite resplendant and ready to perform, I wish I knew exactly where, when, and with what “company” my grandfather Andrew Pang was connected. Theatre would seem to have been a passion for several of my family members. Maybe this was where that passion came from?!
I know very little about Andrew. We think he arrived in Melbourne around the 1900s. He married my Irish heritage Australian grandmother in 1911 and worked as a cabinetmaker. They had nine childen. Around the 1930s he moved to Sydney where he was employed for some time as a market gardener. Some photos have surfaced indicating he was involved with Chinese Opera entertainment. One picture has a “Chinese Youth Club” stamp in the corner. Another shows him as part of a Lion Dancing parade. A contact from the Chinese Masonic Society revealed to me that he had known Andrew, and that he considered him to be an outstanding Lion Dancer. I rather liked the idea of that. Additionally, he was able to provide me with details of Andrew’s home village and province in China, which led to other wonderful discoveries about our ancestral past. This was all amazing new information for me, and I have been so delighted to learn so much.
However … I would love to know more about what Andrew’s life in Australia was like. How did he meet my grandmother? Could they have met at some amateur theatrical group? It was understood that my grandmother had aspirations to be an actress, so the dramatic association appeals as a possible answer. But that would have been in Melbourne.
The photos of his cultural involvement would seem to be from Sydney, and they remain something of a mystery to me. Hopefully a mystery that can eventually be resolved.
Image source: Ramsey/Chee family collection
Date of creation: c1930-1940
Place: believed to be Sydney
People: Andrew Pang