Skip navigation

I Am What You Say I Am

Pack Tan Chee Ah Tan (1842–1895)

Cantonese-born Pack Tan Chee Ah Tan, aged 14, arrived in Australia from Hong Kong on 15 May 1856. Twenty-two years later, on 15 October 1878 he received his Naturalisation Certificate, having been a resident in the country for the requisite 21 years.
Ah Tan was a hotelkeeper. Quite often on the goldfields, hotels were canvas tents rather than buildings. Ah Tan’s establishment was a nine-roomed building which could cater for eight customers at a time.
In 1872 Ah Tan married Mary Ann Wagstaff, and they raised a family of five children. It was written on his headstone that Ah Tan was ‘a very good man’.

Until the mid-1880s, Chinese could become naturalised British subjects in Victoria, but with the growing number of Chinese applications this was halted in 1885. Then, it was not until 1957 that long-resident Chinese were finally able to apply for Australian citizenship.
Until the mid-1880s, Chinese could become naturalised British subjects in Victoria, but with the growing number of Chinese applications this was halted in 1885. Then, it was not until 1957 that long-resident Chinese were finally able to apply for Australian citizenship.

Copyright © Roar Film 2012 This material may be reproduced, communicated, published and adapted free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes.

Site Credits Opens in a new window