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
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
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(image: Society of Australian Genealogists, PR