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***aCe*** 12-02-2004 03:34 PM

The early beginnings of China town in PNG
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THE relationship between China and Papua New Guinea can be traced back into the early colonial days even before any bilateral trade agreements were signed between the heads of the two countries. The relationship began informally perhaps in the early 1900ís at Matupit island in East New Britain province which was then under German administration. Here on a strip of land between Matupit village and the then Rabaul yacht club rose the first China town in Rabaul, recalls long time Chinese business man and naturalised PNG citizen Sir Ling James Seeto. Back then the name was not China town but German village because everyone who lived there worked for the Germans. The Chinese were first recruited into the country by the Germans to do carpentry work, build boats, plumbing and other menial work.Sir Ling said at that time the Chinese were being recruited because they were the cheapest and reliable form of labour around.
ENTER HERE to read more on this story

Bob Gray 14-10-2004 11:19 PM

Hi, My name is Bob Gray and I arrived in Rabaul late 1967 where I was posted as a teacher to Boisen High School where I remained until 1971. I then joined the Copra Marketing Board for five years travelling around the country but always returning to Rabaul as a base. In 1976 I moved to Port Moresby until 1986 when I returned to Australia.
During one of my "leaves", in 1969/70 a great aunt told me the story of my great uncle Stephen Whiteman who had arrived in Rabaul in 1902 and was there when the Australian forces took over from the Gemans in 1914. He was instrumental in the capture of the German Governor's yacht (Komet) and in fact used to play chess with the acting governor quite regularly. He was a trader working with a chinese chap called Wee (who incidently was his probate trustee after my great uncle died in 1920). I also have a photo of him with Ah Tam and some research connecting him with the chinese community in Rabaul.
I am presently researching a book which I would like to write but need to contact someone in the chinese community with a history of the chinese era around 1914.
I recall attending ASOPA with Fred Ng & Kim Seeto, Playing Rugby against Paul Chu and others of the United and Crusader teams back in the early 70's but have lost contact.
If you know of anyone with records or old photos of the above it would be greatly appreciated. Regards Bob Gray <>
or Ph Fax 0740 532332

Alex1 19-08-2005 09:32 PM

I am interested in the history of the Chinese in Rabaul and wonder if anyone can point me in the direction of any books or archives. If the Chinese came at the beginning of the 1900's because the German's wanted them as tradespeople and carpenters how would the German's have recruited them? What about people who came in the mid 1930's. Why and how did they come? obviously by boat but it must have been a dangerous voyage. Is there any written history that can be accessed.

Thank you.

PS - I cannot access the rest of the story on the first posting of this thread - can someone help. Thank you.

Vulcan 20-08-2005 12:02 PM

Hi, It is a very interesting history about the chinese community in PNG. I am of Chinese descent and my granfather was in one of the first fleets to travel from Toisan (Canton) in the early 1900's as a shippy for the german administrators (Like so many other chinese labourers). I think the term they gave to most of them were 'Koolies.' Rabaul was the first landing place for the Chinese into PNG. The Rabaul chinese community is a very special community and recognised world wide. From what I can gather there are only two places in the world outside of China whereby the entire Chinese community settled in foreign lands and are closely knitted. Rabaul is one of them and the other village is in Japan. There is a book written about it but Im not sure about its name or author. I have a freind who has a copy of this book so I will look into it.

There is a Rabaul Historical and cultural society of which Rob Loe and Suzie Alexander (Hamamas Hotel) have organised. The last I heard was that they were tracing back the history of the chinese community in Rabaul. I suggest you contact them or if you want first hand accounts then you speak to the chinese residents that still reside in Rabaul alla Tropicana (Lau), Spirit of Kokopo(Tse), Huris Transport (Chan) and Shao Trading (Chow).

Alex1 21-08-2005 05:50 PM

If you could find the name of the book it would be appreciated as I could then do a search and try and find a cioy.

Thank you.

bakergirl 20-11-2005 08:12 PM

Disappearing History
I too am very interested in Chinese contribution to the history and economy of PNG. My sister is married to Benedict Tam formerly of Rabaul and his family connections is the Tinggee family among others who are trying to write a family history. Many live in Australia and the later additions to the family know nothing of their heritage. Much of this history is available only through the memories of the older people, and it has become very apparent that this history is rapidly disappearing as the older generation pass on. I am very keen to access any information - books, people's family photoes or even just memories - particularly about the arrival of Chinese in New Guinea, family dynamics. Anything, really, as I see that this is something that is an important part of what makes PNG the country it is, and it is also important to the individuals whose ancestral heritage is being lost. My nieces and nephews should know and be proud of their origins. I am a writer and I would very much like to gather whatever I can to record this history so that it has some substance and can be shared. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Richseeto 02-02-2006 04:37 AM

I read your request about Chinese history of Rabaul. I was a resident until 1969 and if you are interested in the Real history and not a sanitised one, you can contact me at: <>
I am researching into the Seeto family name and tracing my roots back to my parents place in China.

Rick5555 08-02-2006 12:54 PM

My email address was deleted from my last post but here it is if you wish to find out more about Chinese history as it was and not a wishful happy ending fairy tale as painted in the sanitised version.

bakergirl 13-02-2006 05:08 PM

History of Chinese

glad to have a response. Beginning to think no one was ever going to reply.

Well, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Most "official" history is only from one point of view. The distasteful events are not spoken about. But I am genuinely interested. I want to hear from ANYONE who has something to offer about what the Chinese community has contributed to PNG and how they came to be there and things (nasty or nice) that have contributed to their history. But it is hard. No one knows me. No one knows my intentions. All I can say I am genuine in my interest. Thanks anyway for responding. Hope you encourage others.

Unregistered 09-06-2006 02:41 AM

Mark Seeto here

Originally Posted by Richseeto
I read your request about Chinese history of Rabaul. I was a resident until 1969 and if you are interested in the Real history and not a sanitised one, you can contact me at: <>
I am researching into the Seeto family name and tracing my roots back to my parents place in China.

Hi My name is Mark Seeto. My grandparents are Michael and Anna Seeto, and my father is Clem and aunty Josie. Im Australia born, but currently living in London.

Can you contact me about your research?



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