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King Nam Jang

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At the boarding house, we provided a bed, bedding and three meals a day for the people who used to stay with us till they were able to tranship to another port. Now that was all done, it wasn’t elaborate but it was better than the steerage class onboard the ships that they came in.

He started business there by providing provisions for ships, selling provisions to the ships that used to come from China, because at that time, Circular Quay was where most of the shipping was, so it was close and handy for him to deliver provisions for the ships. He also took in boarders, people who transhipped in Sydney. Chinese who came from China, Hong Kong, to go to various parts of the islands or parts of the Pacific, New Zealand, Fiji and all the various parts, used to tranship and wait for a ship to go to these other parts in Sydney. They’d wait in Sydney for another ship to go there or in the same way, on the way back to China.

He started this business around about the late 1800s and set up the boarding house as well, known as King Nam Jang (repeated with Chinese pronunciation), and that business remained in the same premises for almost eighty years. It was one of the early shops, businesses of the Chinese that was in the first Chinatown of Sydney, which was down in the Rocks area. That’s the first Chinatown and King Nam Jang was the last to leave the area. It was there until the late ‘60s, till airlines took over the travelling from ships, and they didn’t have to tranship in Sydney. Of course, they could go to the various parts from Hong Kong and China.


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