Dr Anthony Pun, OAM5 February 2014
The 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Australian Chinese Community Association of NSW in 2014 and the auspicious Year of the Horse, make it entirely appropriate to present a brief history of the Association to all its members and to the Chinese Australian community before it is totally forgotten! It is also a celebration of the positive work done in the last 40 years.
The writing of any history relating to Past Presidents & other personalities, is a difficult task. If one gathers all the ACCA News & Year Books starting from the inaugural editions to the present, one can only present a “cold” chronological chain of events that occurred in the past years since 1974. This type of historical facts cannot reveal the spirit and personality driving the voyages of the Association, whether in calm seas or stormy weather. On the other hand, too much consideration of personality may lose some objectivity and introduce bias into the history. Hence, the author concedes the possibility of bias in this article.
However, in trying to be objective and non-personal, the author attempts to bring the leadership and personalities of ex-Presidents & others in a positive perspective by rationalising that on the balance, the good deeds done by these people far outweigh their bad ones. On the balance, they are good people and nobody is perfect. As a brief history, the author wish to distil the vital essence of ACCA history by concentrating on the most significant aspects or highlights of each Presidency period.
Secondly, the motive in writing this piece of history is to remember the positive contributions by the ex-Presidents & other ACCA personalities. It is a way of showing respect and thanks for their contributions in building the foundations and paving the future of the Association.
This article is not meant to be controversial however it does recognise that the author’s perception (or seen through the eyes of one person, the author), may be accepted by some and not by others. Hence, any comments or new perspectives arising from reading of this article is welcomed. Later on, these comments could be appended with this article as an alternative view and could be used for future reference and debate of the history of ACCA.
A recognition of the contributions made by the Officer Bearers & other members of ACCA in past is an important principle that we acknowledge our roots. Without them, there is no present. Present contributors will build their work on the foundations of their predecessors and only this way, will ACCA have a good future to continue to serve our constituents in the wide Chinese Diaspora.
Figure 1: A photograph of the 1984/85 Committee chaired by Mr Garry Leong, the 5th President of ACCA. His committee consisted of a rich mixture of business and professional persons with a strong commitment to serve the people. This was a strong team and their occupations then were as follows: King Fong (businessman), Dr Tony Pun (Medical Scientist), Benny Choo (Forex Trader), Richard Lum (Professional Photographer), Stephen Chiu (Solicitor), Dr Michael Chow (Dentist), Angeline Oyang (Social Worker), Bing Quan (Engineer & Broadcaster), Dr Eddie Pang (Dentist), Lawrence Yip (Librarian), George Yip (Solicitor), Rosetta Sung (Social Worker), Garry Leong (Solicitor), YC Louie (businessman), Narcissus Chung (Teacher), Joyce Yip (Accountant), Stan Hunt (businessman), Henry Tsang (architect), Arthur Tang (Accountant) and Lau Ming Sing (Engineer).
The number of ACCA people receiving Australian Honours are small compared to other ethno-specific organisations. However, in the Chinese Australian community, ACCA probably had the most in Australia. The non-political (party political), non-religious and non-sectarian nature of ACCA put her in front of most Chinese organisations. The organisation grew from a membership of 2,000 (1980s) to over 10,000 (2013), however, the life membership had been stagnant. Life membership was used to raise funds for the purchase of 2 Mary Street and since the Mary Street building was paid off, there was no further use of Life membership for fund raising. Maybe this fund raising means should be resuscitated for the next ACCA real estate purchase at a fee of $2,000.
Table 1. ACCA Officer Bearers & Councillors with official recognition of their work by the Australian Honours system presented in chronological order of receiving the award.
Many ACCA office bearers and members have also made significant contributions to the community via the Association even though they are not in the Australian Honours list. They are the unsung heroes of ACCA nevertheless. Our humble volunteer & chief custodian of ACCA Hall from Dixon Street to Mary Street, Mr Wing Day Ma (over 20 years’ service) was one of them.
My Early Involvement with ACCA & Lawrence Yip
Prior to 1979, I did not belong to any Chinese community organisations in Australia. Whilst working at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney as the Chief Medical Scientist and Laboratory Director of the Blood Bank, I was introduced to the late Mr Lawrence Yip through his cousin Amy who was my deputy at the Blood Bank. Amy and I was both involved with the use of blood cell therapy in support of the 3 clinical units of excellence at the hospital, namely heart-lung, kidney and bone marrow transplant. The late Dr Victor Chang, a Life Member of ACCA was the leading surgeon of the heart-lung transplant unit, Dr Jim Hayes was the Director of the Renal Unit and Prof Jim Biggs was the Director of Leukaemia and Bone Marrow Transplant unit which I was a member.
At that time in the late 1970s, Lawrence was in charge of membership of ACCA and was responsible to Mr Yick Cheong (YC) Louie, the 3rd President of ACCA (1978-1981). The ACCA office then, was located in Dixon Street and you had to climb 2-3 flight of stairs before you reached the office. The only ACCA staff member at that time was Ms Rosa Pak. Lawrence recruited me to his portfolio to assist in the computerisation of membership records. ACCA newsletter was a regular issue published bi-monthly and had a least 500 financial members to service. There were many returns from incorrect addresses as they were no volunteers to amend addresses and about 30 newsletters were returned after each issue. As I was involved with the computerization of the clinical system for the Blood Bank, my skills and experience was sought after by Lawrence in order to increase the efficiency in handling membership records and computer printing of address labels for ACCA.
I agreed to be part of Lawrence’s team and the planning for the computerization of ACCA records was initiated. At that time, I was also asked to nominate for an Executive position in the next AGM. I remembered it was also the last AGM chaired by Mr Louie and he was going into his third year of office. I attended the election at the Dixon Street Office and unfortunate I did not get elected and the last candidate that got in was an Indonesian Chinese. The election was fair and honest and I did not get disappointed because I was not too sure what I was getting into. Despite my election loss, I remained with ACCA and assisted Lawrence in his portfolio. Lawrence was a soft spoken man with a persistent determination to do the right thing for ACCA. His commitment and dedication to ACCA would qualify him as an unsung hero of ACCA
My impressions of the ex-Presidents – Mr YC Louie (1978/81)
When I joined ACCA, I met the Foundation President Mr Kip Fong (1974/75), a bespectacled gentleman who was involved in the insurance business. He only served for one year as President. Although I did not work under him, he was always there in Harbour Street and later in Mary Street helping out. He was part of the early Tai Chi class which operated on Saturday mornings. I did not met Dr CY Huang, the second President of ACCA (1975/78) and I was told that he has returned to Hong Kong. I subsequently met him in Hong Kong some years later when he was an elected member of the HK Legislative Council prior to 1997.
Mr YC Louie was a humble shop keeper/manager at a provisions store called “Hong Sang” in Dixon Street, but he was a man of vision who could see why there should be an ACCA and how to get there. Despite his lack of English proficiency, he was able to network with all strata in the Chinee community and had good volunteers who are proficient in English to assist with the correspondence and dealings with government bodies. Mr Louie is a no nonsense person, hardworking and fully committed to ACCA. His greatest achievement on behalf of ACCA, was pushing and initiating the Chinese Garden project for Darling Harbour. At that time, the Minister for Everything, the Hon Laurie Bereton was in charge of Darling Harbour. He convinced the Minister that the project was an important development for Sydney as well as a recognition of the contributions of the Chinese community to Australia. I remember attending an informal Yum Cha with Mr Louie where some of the people involved in the project was introduced to me and I remember Mr Khoo, who was the Hon Architect before Henry Tsang came on the scene. Unfortunately, Mr Louie’s contribution was not widely recognised, even by the Darling Harbour Authority (now Foreshore). Somebody once said to me “If Mr Louie is fluent in English, he could fly”. Mr Louie was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1978 for his services to the community through ACCA.
Mr Louie remained a volunteer in Mary Street for many years, even after my Presidency in 1992. He was the de facto Membership controller, Office Administrator and Petty Cash/Purchase Officer, all rolled into one.
The next phase of ACCA history saw her move to a new premise at Level 2, Harbor Street (circa 1981). One had to climb a flight of stairs before you reached the office. It was quite a large office consisting of two office and a large common room about half the size of the ACCA Hall at Mary Street. Our new staff member after Ms Rosa Pak had resigned was Ms Cathy Lam. Cathy was a pretty lady with high intelligence. She sat in one office whilst the other office was the ACCA Administrative Office. Ms Lam later joined the Department of Immigration and rose to high rank and I met her again when I was a Member of the Immigration Review Tribunal in the mid-1990s and meeting with her officially whilst she was senior officer in the Refugee Review Tribunal. Cathy was one of many ex-ACCA workers who gained experience on the ground and were snatched up by various government departments for their talents (we were poached then). It was never a loss for ACCA but an asset because we had seek assistance from our ex-staff members in putting our submissions forward, whether it was public issue or grant information.
My impressions of the ex-Presidents – Mr Stan Hunt (1981/84)
The next AGM came round the corner and saw Mr Stan Hunt elected as the 4th President. Mr Stan Hunt was a businessman, a motel owner-operator in Liverpool and later at the Spanish Inn in Hume Highway, Strathfield. Before coming to lead ACCA, Mr Hunt was high up in the Masonic Society and probably had the title of “Grand Vizier”. Hence, he was much respected in the mainstream society before taking the reins of ACCA. Mr Hunt had good helpers, one in Garry Leong (a solicitor and later 5th President), Angeline Leung (a social worker and later 6th President) and myself (later 7th President). Mr Hunt, like Mr Louie, was a committed ACCA man who spent most of his free time from his business to look after ACCA business and attend many public functions. He was also the handyman for ACCA and could fix anything with his hands. Mr Hunt’s greatest achievement in my mind was the ability to raise huge funds for ACCA through his friendship with the late Mr Bernard Chan and the late Mr Chow Cho Poon. In conjunction with Mr Keep Fong (1st President), Mr Louie and Mr Hatton Kwok, the Australian Nursing Home Foundation began to buy existing nursing home in Strathfield and built a new one in Earlwood at a cost of $2.5M. At that time, Mr Hatton Kwok, OAM, who was a Vice-President under Mr Louie, was very influential with the NSW Labor government. Mr Kwok, through his lobbying with the late Housing Minister, the Hon Mr Frank Walker, succeeded in securing 21 housing units for the residents of Dixon Street, when the premises which they lived in was burnt down. I must add that ACCA was responsible to raise funds to assist the development of the ANHF. Mr Hatton Kwok could be the foundation chair of ANHF followed by Mr Keep Fong. Despite some controversy over who should govern the Foundation, the AHNF did made a valuable contribution to serve the aged Chinese in our community. Under the chairmanship of Keep Fong and Hatton Kwok, the Foundation prospered.
In my part in assisting Mr Hunt, I was always sent to Cabramatta to attend most of the community functions there. There I met with the pioneers of the Australia Chinese Descendants and Mutual Association (ACDMA), the Indo-Chinese Chinese Association (ICCA) and other organisations belonging to Chinese from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In those days, these groups were staunchly anti-communists as they were refugee (boat people) from Indochina. They were pro-Chinese Nationalist. Today, all these have come to past. In the years that followed, I developed a warm and cordial relations with all the leaders, mainly refugees, living in the Fairfield and Liverpool LGAs. I was a Hon Advisor to many of the Cabramatta Associations
It is interesting to note that in 1981, ACCA was the first Chinese organisation that participated in the Refugee resettlement program. Lawrence was also involved in the program by receiving the refugees from Kingsford-Smith airport, taking them to their rented premises (with some furniture) and giving them the government subsidy of $250 per family. Now, many have forgotten or have no knowledge of these contributions made by ACCA altruistic volunteers. By the way, Lawrence was a qualified Librarian in the NSW State Library. Lawrence had probably moved away from the Membership portfolio and his portfolio was handed down to another Executive, Mr Bing Quan. I also served under him.
The Apple II computer and 2 disc drives were purchased during Mr Louie’s Presidency but the operation of the membership computerization did not start in earnest until we moved to Harbour Street office where a room with a large desk was used as the data processing centre. I was in charge of the memberships records, and was responsible to update all membership information and print mail address labels for the ACCA newsletter. I continue on this job until the task was taken up by a staff members when ACCA moved again, but this time to permanent home of our own. When I left the job, there were more than 2,000 members on record and it took 4 hours a week on a Saturday morning to fix up one month of amendments. I often brought my young son Andrew with me because my wife was working on weekends.
My impressions of the ex-Presidents – Mr Garry Leong (1984/86)
Time moved quickly, and Mr Hunt’s Presidency had come to an end after serving three consecutive terms. In those days, the next President was, by tradition, anointed by the last Executive Committee and there was no factional wars. (A factional war did break out when this tradition was broken in 1992 but peace was restored during Catherine Chung’s Presidency (9th President) brokered by Mr Keith Owen, the then State Director of Immigration).
The transition was smooth and Mr Garry Leong became the 5th President but he only served 2 years. Garry was good in administration and as a young lawyer with young children, he did spent most of his free time with ACCA. He was very active with ACCA news and would pitched in with the Editor (a former Miss HK) and other Executives Rosette Sung and Daphne Lowe to do mock ups before sending it to the printers. In those days, there were no computers and you just can’t send your documents to the printers and they come out the other end. You had to format or *typeset” the information and the photograph, sent it to the printer, and the printer returned a pre-print copy for you to proof read and the final submission and print. All Chinese translation was done by volunteers and the Chinese typeset done by Winnie See who was emigrated from Taiwan. When the newsletter arrived, you had to fold them, put a paper sleeve and stick the adhesive label on the sleeve. The sleeve was a pre-printed paper with the postage paid printed on it. Prior to the computer, you had to write the labels (really painful job). Next, the newsletter was arranged in postcode order placed into a cardboard box. Mr WD Ma invented the use of a bamboo stick to crease the newsletter to prevent frictional burns on the fingers after folding hundreds of these newsletters. The box was then delivered to the Haymarket PO, which was located in George Street and you pay bulk postage for sorted mail. If they were not sorted by postcode, you pay the normal letter rate. At one stage, the maximum number of newsletter that had to been shipped out was 1,200. Mr Wing Day Ma was in charge of the volunteer newsletter folding, addressing and posting team. He was also in charge of the ACCA Hall at Mary Street, and chief cleaner. He was there 6 days a week and 8 hours a day. In those days all ACCA activities other than professional work was done by volunteers. Everyone, including President and Executives, rolled up their sleeves and work. At present, this type of activity is sadly missing.
In my opinion, Garry’s most significant contribution was the ability to educate each Executive about ethics, public perceptions and conflict of interest, all from a legal point of view. Although we all fondly remember his “filibusting” at Executive meetings (a long winded US Senate speech with no time limits), we were impressed with the content. His messages were well thought of, a skill he possess as a successful lawyer. He was able to allocate and delegate responsibility to other Executives and never wasted an opportunity to lobby government officials at the dinner table. He would appoint some Executives and gave them specific task of talking to officers from Health, Immigration, Housing, Education, Transport etc. In this way, he paved the way for good succession of leadership in ACCA who were schooled in lobbying and forming beneficial networks with the government department. Garry was the inventor of the “kitchen” cabinet in ACCA. Among the members of his kitchen cabinet was a dentist Dr Pang, Lawrence, myself and others whose names I cannot recalled at the moment. We also “horse” around during meetings because we always sat at the back facing the President, like the naughty boys in the classroom.
The second most significant achievement of Garry’s Presidency was the vision and determination in getting ACCA a permanent hone. At first, the building at Harbour Street was for sale and some consideration was given to it. The opportunity arose when the building at 2 Mary Street owned by CoAsIt, an Italian community organisation was for sale. They wanted to sell up and move to Leichardt. One night, Garry, Angeline and I went to the building and met with the owners and started to discuss the possibility of purchasing the property. The meeting was probably on a cold winter’s night but it became warm when a probable deal was in hand. The owner asked for about $430,000. ACCA was poor as a church mouse then but we decided to risk it. After paying a deposit, the building was financed by overdraft. Although there were 3 trustee who held the title on behalf of ACCA (Andrew Hee, Brian Lee and Mr Ho), the officer bearers and the Executives were unofficially guarantors. A brave act in those days. The building was purchase near the end of Garry’s term, the mortgage payments continued under Angeline’s Presidency and paid off during my Presidency.
Through Stan Hunt and YC Louie involvement, large donations came from Bernard Chan and Cho Poon Cho. The biggest public fund raising came from Life Membership fees and selling raffle tickets at Dixon Street, Chinatown. At first, some Executives were shy in doing “pubic begging” and after seeing the results, they dropped their shyness and pitched in. On some Saturdays, we were able to sell $2,000 worth of raffle tickets, the first prize, being a Cathay Pacific return air ticket to Hong Kong, kindly donated by Mr Edgar Matthews, Manager of Cathay Pacific. He was the most prolific sponsor of ACCA in the old days. At one stage, Cathay Pacific donated 1 business class return ticket Sydney-London for an ACCA Ball under my Presidency, and this was won by Danny Au-Yeung, a young businessman in Sydney.
My impressions of the ex-Presidents – Mr Angeline Leung (1986/89) (nee Oyang)
Garry only served a 2 year term, and was succeeded by Angeline Leung (now known as Angeline Oyang). Angeline was working with the Department of Immigration when I first met her in ACCA. A capable professional with a Social Work degree. When Angeline took the chair in 1986, I became her Hon Secretary. Angeline is a polished and articulate public speaker in English and Mandarin, and her knowledge of social work and government policies were considered the best in the 1980s. We meet regularly at the ACCA clubhouse after work to read the correspondence and she would decide, with cold precision, which correspondence to follow, which to delegate to other Executives or staff and which to go straight into the bin. She was a decisive person, and I consider her to be a champion of woman’s rights before the issue became politically correct and acceptable by the community. Although she was assertive, she always consulted me on many issues. I have learned many things from Angeline and coming from a Medical Science background, I had no prior knowledge of anything social or pubic policies. She taught me a lot and I appreciated and thank her for imparting her knowledge and network in social work to me. I believe one of the significant contributions of Angeline’s Presidency was her good knowledge about social work, government and NGO networks and general government policies. Angeline also was good at meeting procedures and had educated Executives on how a meeting should be conducted. It is interest to remember that Angeline as ACCA President, was invited to be present at the official opening of the Parliament House in Canberra in 1988. I was asked to go with her and we both met HM the Queen at the Rotundas in Parliament House.
During Angeline’s administration, No 2 Mary Street premise was officially opened in 1986 by the Labor Premier, the Hon Mr Barry Unsworth. Two young trees planted in a large pot were used for the opening and after the ceremony, Angeline took one tree home and I took the other. Even today, the original tree on the large pot is still alive and well in my garden.
I suggested at an Executive Meeting that the Governor of NSW should be our Patron. After the resolution was passed, I wrote to the Governor seeking his patronage and he said yes. The rest was history as Air Marshall Sir James Rowland AC, KBC, DFC, AFC became the first Vice-Regal Patron of ACCA. Angeline, Garry and I were invited for morning tea at the Governor’s residence to establish the relationship. As per protocol, the Governor became the “Patron” and Mr Bernard Chan became the Vice Patron. Others Governors continued to be Patron of ACCA and they were Rear Admiral Sir David Martin, DCMG, AC; Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, AC; The Hon Gordon Samuels, AC; and the current Patron, HE Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO.
Angeline also showed courage in dealing with other community organisations. During Stan Hunt’s days, ACCA was a member of the Council of Chinese Organisation (COCO & now AusCOCO), an organisation run by Dr Tony Goh Stan was displeased that the minutes of COCO was sent to the Chinese consulate for “approval”. The independence of ACCA was a major issue but no action was taken until one fateful night when a COCO meeting was called. Angeline and I sat in the car parked on Campbell Street and we discussed what action should ACCA be taking. At the meeting held at 10 Mary Street, the Chinese Masonic Society premises and surrounded by many “Chinesee” organisations, Angeline dropped the bomb on the meeting by announcing that ACCA is pulling out from COCO. This action send shock waves through the community. From that day onwards till now, the relationship between ACCA & the Chinese Consulate runs hot and cold. In retrospect that decision was a correct one and the independence of ACCA has to been maintained. Today, I would concede that the relationship should be warmer with the Consulate on a mutual basis and not through an intermediate organisation who does not represent the views of the wide Chinese diaspora.
The Tiananmen Square (天安门) incident in Beijing erupted during the last term of Angeline’s Presidency in 1989. It was big news and ACCA was swarmed by the media and the first main stream TV interview took place at 2 Mary Street and Angeline decided that Lawrence Lau (10th President) and I should face the TV cameras. Yes, we did and the rest is history!
For her services to the Chinese community through ACCA, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The genuine comradeship existed between Executives and a good working relationship also existed between the President and her team. Ex-Presidents were invited regularly to sit in the Executive Committee and their experience made them a valuable source of advice. Despite serious debates, there were no aftermath and we all remain friends and trotted off to an after meeting dinner. We enjoyed each other’s company. The last such dinner that I attended with Executives a few months ago was disappointing.
During those days, the President would invite all his/her Executives to a Christmas gathering at his/her home. This practice is now defunct. There was also an annual ex-President’s Dinner and it also became extinct during the administration of the 12th Presidency.
After Angeline’s Presidency, I was elected the 7th President of ACCA (1989/92). I shall terminate the story here to prepare the sequel to this article. Until them, au revoir.
End of Article
The 7th President of ACCA – Dr Tony Pun
Dr Tony Pun became the 7th President of ACCA on August 1989. Information about the Pun administration is found mainly in the Report of Achievements and Activities contained in the 18th ACCA Annual General Meeting Report.
Like the previous administrations (Fong, Wong, Louie, Hunt, Leong & Oyang), the Pun Administration is also noted for its stability in the Executive Committee with many serving a 2 to 3 year term. It was an indication of the Executives’ commitment and dedication to serve the community through ACCA. Their collective skills and experience were well recognised. The Executives and Staff worked well as a team. Indeed, Mr Lawrence Lau, Ms Catherine Chung and Mr Benjamin Chow, AO, continued to serve ACCA and became the 8th , 9th and 10th President respectively. There were no shortage of experienced hands for the top job.
Like previous administration, the Pun administration was characterised by strong subcommittee structures chaired by enthusiastic Executives. These old hands include Lawrence Lau, Catherine Chung, the late Dr Bob Wu, Mark Kelly, Saretta Kam, Robert Chu, Colman Chan, Lawrence Yip, Nicholas Lim and Wing Dar Ma. In particularly, the Chair and members of the Community Services Subcommittee were the most skilled and experienced that the Association ever had. They were inheritance from previous administrations. Most of them have mainstream experience and they brought back to ACCA their skills and experience and they were able to mentor the new ones (see table of subcommittee members).
During Oyang’s administration, ACCA was fortunate to have its first Vice-Regal Patron, HE Air Vice-Marshall Sir James Rowland. Following the retirement of Sir James, HE Rear Admiral Sir David Martin, KCMG became the second Vice-Regal Patron and the third Vice-Regal Patronage was taken up by HE The Hon. Rear Admiral Sinclair. Subsequent Vice-Regal Patron that followed were HE The Hon Gordon Samuels, AC, and HE The Hon. Dame Marie Bashir, AD, CVO. Of course, the late Bernard Chan remained as ACCA’s Vice-Patron. During the Pun administration, Mr Chan was the Vice Patron. A pictorial history of our Vice-Regal Patrons is shown below:
Another formidable characteristic is the number of Hon Advisors ACCA had in those days. All the available ex-Presidents became advisors for 3 terms, and several high profile persons like the late Dr Victor Chang, Dr Irene Moss (Human Rights Commissioner etc), The Hon. Dowd, AO, QC, Mr Hatton Kwok, OAM and the Hon. Helen Sham-Ho, OAM were also drafted as Advisors.
Last, but not least, the Pun administration was grateful to have the late Mdm Siu Chor Ying as an Executive in 1991/92. Mdm Siu was the de facto “Commissar” of ACCA and she was Mr Ma’s greatest helper. Mdm Siu was also known for her fund raising activities as she single-handedly raised $18.000 for the repair of the ceiling at 2 Mary Street, when was damaged by rain from a leaky roof. Mdm Siu set the precedence in ACCA by becoming the first Elderly group member to be elected to the Executives.
Table 1. The Executive Committee, Honarary Advisors & Trustees of ACCA 1989/92
The highlights of the Pun administration were as follows:
1. The plight of the PRC Students seeking to remain in Australia after the Tiananming incident in June 1989.
ACCA was put in the mainstream public front when TV cameras rolled into ACCA Hall at 2 Mary Street, Surry Hills, in June 1989, during the Oyang’s Administration. On the request of Ms Oyang, Tony Pun and Lawrence Lau went on TV. Tony Pun was elected at the Aug 1989 AGM as the 7th President of ACCA, and s few months later, ACCA at Mary Street was surrounded by hundreds of PRC Students. At that time Antonio Lock (GIA) and Peter Wong (aged team) were at the clubhouse and with their quick thinking, they managed to get the students down to the park next to the Central Railway Station. What followed was a meeting the 3 students, Ma Limin, Yang Jun and Ms Long Xia. There were long discussions with the Department of Immigration and ACCA President who supported the idea to allow the students to remain in Australia. However, the support is not unanimous.
The rest is history when the Chinese community and the ECC NSW (ECC NSW succeeded in moving a resolution in FECCA , the federal body supporting the students), united as one voice persuaded the then PM, Bob Hawke to grant them PR in Australia, 20,000 before June 1989 and 20,000 after. The Minister then was Senator the Hon. Nick Bolkus and the State Director was Keith Owens.
The President Tony Pun and ACCA legal adviser Mr James Lee, took up the case and directly negotiated with the Police on the matter, with the Chinese media backing. Obviously, it was not fair that the other boys were not arrested, and ACCA said that it would publicly raise funds to seek justice in the Supreme Court. The matter was resolved with the Police. The agreement was reached that the charges against the Chinese boys were dropped and in return the Chinese parents not to take any further legal action on the matter. This is ACCA’s first in taking up an important public matter on behalf of its constituents. The grateful parents presented ACCA with an acknowledgement in calligraphy, in the usual Chinese way as shown above.
3 The attempt to convert the Chinese Garden into a restaurant.
During the Pun’s Administration, there was an attempt to allow a restaurant to operate in the Chinese Garden at Darling Harbour. As you may remember, the Chinese Garden was an initiative of Mr YC Louie, our 2nd President, as a friendship garden, ACCA opposed the commercialisation of the garden. After 4 Chinese papers headlined ACCA’s objection to the a restaurant being allowed to operate in the Garden, and written objections to the Darling Harbour Authority and State Government officials, the proposal was dropped. Another public win for ACCA.
5. The development of a network among 27 Chinese sister organisations.
The Pun administration is noted for its networking relations with other Chinese Australian sister organisation. The network then consists of the following organisations:
Australian Chinese Teochew Association. Australian Chinese Academic and Professional Association, Australian Chinese Forum, Australian Chinese Masonic Society, Australian Chinese Descendants and Mutual Association, Australian Malaysian Singaporean Association, Australian Chinese Charity Foundation, Australian Chinese Traditional Chinese Association, Australian Chinese Medical Association, Chinese Cultural Association Chung Shan Society of Australia, Chung Chin Association of Australia, Chinese Youth League of Australia, Choy Lee Fut Martial Arts Academy, Leong Cheong Yau Kun Mun Martial Arts Academy, Mandarin Club, NSW Hainanese Association, International Buddhist Light Association, Indo-China Chinese Association, Sydney Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Ching Chung Taoist Association of Australia, Elderly Australian Chinese Homes (NSW), Chinese Australian Service Society, Australian Shan Tong Association, Council of Chinese Organisations.
Under the Pun’s administration ACCA was able to:
• Successfully conciliated with Australian authorities to minimize the effect of sensitive and controversial issues impacting on Australia/China relations.
• Motivate the Chinese Australian community to commit financial and moral support for key community projects and issues.
• Negotiated with government at a senior ministerial level.
• Interacted with representatives of sister organisations and other ethnic communities.
• Provided representation in public issues concerning the Chinese Australian community.
• Acted as a watchdog to identify and counter racism in the media.
• Provided representation in public issues concerning the Chinese Australian community.
• Use of skills of ACCA members in strategic planning, diplomacy and negotiation.
• Encouraged attitudinal change by accentuating the positive contributions made by member of the Chinese Australian community.
Some ACCA’s Achievements include:
• The development of Health Care workshops and an annual Health Expo to foster greater awareness of health issues and treatments for members of the Chinese Australian community.
• Assist in raising funds for the building of a 46 bed nursing home in Earlwood for the Australian Nursing Home Foundation.
• Started a Bi-centennial Foundation project involving the collection and cataloguing of artefacts associated with early Chinese residents in NSW in conjunction with Mitchell Library and Lawrence Yip
• Completed a Social History Project – a pictorial and oral history compiled by Ms Rosetta Sung and entitled ‘The History of Chinese People in NSW”. The completed works was presented to the Ministry of Arts to be placed in the Mitchell Library
• Maintained good working relations with the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.
• Established a strong rapport with the South Sydney Council.
• Established a strong rapport with Darling Harbour Authority to promote and share Australian Chinese links and culture. Recent initiatives includes: (a) a proposal to create a “Friends of the Chinese Gardens” Society and (b) launch of the Inaugural Dragon Pearl Festival day on 12 April 1992.
• Participated in join fundraising and promotional activities such as the Sir David Martin Foundation and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Centre.
• Received the 1991 Premier’s Community Award for community services on behalf of the Association on 8 February 1992.
• Recommended and obtained a NSW Legislative Council Award for Mr Wing Dar Ma at a Senior Citizen’s Luncheon on 13 March 1992.
The experience gained by Tony Pun in his apprentice serving under the ex-Presidents YC Louie, Stan Hunt, Garry Leong and Angeline Oyang, and the continuation of “old hands” Executives in the Pun’s administration, have the correct ingredients of a strong, skilful, experienced, hardworking and cohesive team. All of them together, have given another strong layer of foundation for future ACCA leaders and their team to continue to serve the community diligently and with dignity.
Finally, the work of 7th President of ACCA was recognised by the Australian Government in 1997, when Dr Tony Pun was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) with the citation “For work done through the Australian Chinese Community Association of NSW and the Australian Chinese Forum”.
Pun was also a recipient of 3 NSW Premiers Award for Community services in 1991, 1996 and 2010 the “Jack Wong Sue award for services beyond the Chinese community in the field of anti-racism and multiculturalism. The Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament a unanimous resolution paying tribute to Pun’s extensive involvement in the community.
Tribute to Dr Anthony Pun, OAM – 01/05/2012 – NSW Parliament
1 May 2012 – Motion by the Hon. MARIE FICARRA agreed to: 1. That this House notes that Dr Anthony Pun, OAM, has been extensively involved
Epilogue: by Ms Maggie Wu, ACCA Vice-President 23 December 2014
This historic article provides a factual history of ACCA and it focuses on the role played by Ex-Presidents and other leading personalities. The ex-Presidents featured in this article were given a copy since its release on 5 February 2014. To date, there has been no adverse comments from the Ex-Presidents mentioned in the article. Hence, this article has been proven factual and the author should be complimented in providing a true account of ACCA’s history. An article of this nature should be published and its contents be available to future generations.