Australian Mandarin. The Life and Times of Quong Tart. ROBERT TRAVERS.

Australian Mandarin. The Life and Times of Quong Tart.

Sydney. Rosenberg. 2004. Reprint. Stock ID #165222

Black and white photographic illustrations, 192pp, bibliography, index, paperback. Very good copy. Quong Tart was one of the most fascinating and colourful characters of colonial Sydney. A Mandarin of the Blue Button, honoured by the Dragon Throne with the Peacock Feather, he was at the same time a fine cricketer, an all-round sportsman, a staunch Freemason, and a spirited singer of Highland ballads which he rendered in a fine Aberdonian brogue.

Quong Tart was a most unusual Chinese--often seen wearing a tartan kilt, delighting in all things Scottish and a devoted admirer of 'Rabbie' Burns. He defied tradition and his mother to marry a young English girl, who also challenged convention and her father.

As a wealthy tea merchant Quong Tart moved easily in the top social circles of Sydney while as a fun-loving sportsman he appealed to the ordinary people. In an age when the Chinese were feared as the 'Yellow Peril' Quong Tart was respected by the political leaders of the colony and beloved by the poor for his charitable feasts.

As a spokesman for his countrymen he was involved in early attempts to restrict Chinese immigration. He played an important part in conciliating the two races on the occasion of the notorious Afghan riot when the Mayor of Sydney led a wild mob on Parliament House. He also saved the city from a savage tong war. One of the first to draw attention to the drug menace, Quong Tart struggled for many years to stop the trade in opium. During the Boer War this fifty year old patriot took the Queen's shilling--surely the only mandarin to don a trooper's scarlet jacket.

Quong Tart lived through stirring times on the gold diggings, survived the Afghan riot and a number of anti-Chinese campaigns only to fall victim to a random act of senseless violence. He died at the height of his fame and with further honours in sight. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 165222).

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