About Quong Tart

2003 is the 100th anniversary of Quong Tart’s death. Quong Tart had close ties with the City Council. He was a tenant of the QVB and hosted various official dinners in the Elite Tea Rooms. He sat on the famous Royal Commission into Gambling in 1892, which was chaired by the Mayor and met at the Sydney Town Hall. The City of Sydney is proud to host an exhibition about Quong Tart’s tearooms to mark the centenary. The Quong Tart Centenary Commemorative Committee has coordinated a number of events over the next twelve months to celebrate the life of Quong Tart.

Mei Quong Tart was a leading nineteenth century Sydney merchant and importer from China. He had a network of tea rooms in the Sydney Arcade, the Royal Arcade and King Street. His crowning success was the ‘Elite Hall’ in the Queen Victoria Market (QVB). He was also a community leader, well connected with the local political and social elites. The Chinese Emperor made him a Mandarin of the fifth degree in 1887, in acknowledgment of his services to the Overseas Chinese community and to European-Chinese relations in Australia.

Despite the virulent anti-Chinese agitation in Australia at the time, Quong Tart was ‘as well known as the Governor himself’ and ‘quite as popular among all classes’ in NSW (Daily Telegraph, 10 October 1897). When he was brutally bashed and robbed at his office in the QVB in August 1902, the crime shocked Sydney. He died at his home in Ashfield in July 1903.

Mei Quong Tart
Mei Quong Tart
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(image: Society of Australian Genealogists, PR 6/25/1)