the 11 children of CHEW CHONG - New Plymouth :: Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>

the 11 children of CHEW CHONG - New Plymouth

Journal by ngairedith

CHEW CHONG was born in Canton, China in 1828
... (more links at that link on the life of Chew Chong)
- he arrived in Victoria Australia in 1855 and spent 11 years goldmining and storekeeping. In 1866 he arrived in Otago New Zealand where he spent 2 years in Dunedin before travelling around NZ, finally settling in New PPymouth when he found the edible fungus that became known as "Taranaki Wool"

Chew Chong married Elizabeth Whatton (1863-1935) when he was 45 and she was 22. They had 11 children (see below)
- he died 7 Oct 1920 aged 92
- they are buried in Te Henui cemetery

* On the 18th November 1875, the wife of Mr Chew Chong, of a daughter
* DEATH - On the 1st February 1876, Blanche Elizabeth, infant daughter of Mr Chew Chong, aged ten weeks
* On the 22nd May 1879, the wife of Mr Chew Chong, of a son
* On the 18th July 1880, the wife of Mr Chew Chong, of a son
* On the 27th August 1882, the wife of Mr Chew Chong, of a daughter

24 August 1885 - New Plymouth
A store belonging to Chew Chong, at Inglewood, was burnt down this morning, at about 5 o`clock. The following are the insurances on stock:- Standard - ?400; Northern - ?400; Norwich - ?350; Phoenix - ?250. Insurance on building:- Standard - ?250; Northern - ?100. Total insurance - ?1750 (2011 equivalent of $316,600)

3 March 1886
At the Harbour Board to-day, Mr Corkill pointed out that a lot of wire rope from the wreck of the Australind was showing itself here and there along the beach near the jetty for a quarter of a mile. This made the beach very dangerous riding, and he suggested that the purchaser of the wreck, Mr Chew Chong, be written to and requested to remove the rope. Mr Yorke seconded the motion, although he doubted whether it could be proved that the rope was really the rigging of the Australind, and Mr Corkill`s proposal was carried.

Mr Chew Chong, of the Eltham Dairy Factory, waited upon the Editor of the Taranaki Herald to-day, and stated that having had "la grippe" he is now certain it is a skin disease and can be very simply cured. The complaint is a very common one in China. It is a sort of parasite which runs through the body like a thread of cotton, and until it is destroyed the patient never recovers. Messrs Baker and Rogers, who are working for Chew Chong at his Eltham Butter Factory, were attacked the other day with "la grippe", and Mr Chew Chong having discovered the parasite in them destroyed it and they are now as well as ever. Mr Chew Chong says if anyone having "la grippe". or doctor, will allow him to see one of their patients, he is willing to show them how to cure the complaint. He asks no fee or reward, but is willing to afford every information on the subject for the sake of suffering humanity

2 Jamuary 1892 - New Plymouth
Chew Chong has been successful in two or three case of la grippe. He is sending to Sir James Hector some of the parasites taken from one of his patients

26 February 1900, Fire at Eltham
Four shops, owned by Chew Chong, and the office of Mr Middleton, solicitor, were destroyed by a fire which broke out at two o`clock on Sunday morning. Chong`s (fruiterer), Gabb (bootmaker), and the "Argus" office, one shop being empty. Everything in the "Argus" office was destroyed. The insurace is ?350 on Chong`s building, ?150 on the "Argus" plant, and ?65 on Middleton`s office

2 July 1901 - CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the New Plymouth Chamber of Commerce was held at the offices of the Secretary, Mr T. O. Kelsy, at 7.30 o`clock on Monday night.
Present: -Messrs
J. B. CONNETT (Chairman)

11 April 1903 - TENDERS
Tenders will be received at my Residence, Courtenay-street, for the erection of cottages in Molesworth-street.
The lowest or any tender not necessarily accepted. Tenders clos on SATURDAY, 18th April at 6pm
For particulars apply to CHEW CHONG

25 February 1908
Mr Chew Chong, the Taranaki merchant, was a visitor to Palmerston today. He is en route for China

13 January 1911
An illuminated address was presented to Mr Chew Chong at New Plymouth on Saturday, in which reference is made to the part he took in the early sixties in the fungus export trade, with great benefit to the settlers at the time, and also to his entering the butter trade and being almost a pioneer in factory manufacture

FEILDING STAR 12 October 1920
The death has taken place at New Plymouth of Mr Chew Chong, who was a well known figure in Taranaki, and is credited with establishing the dairy industry in the province. Born in China 92 years ago, he came to the Dominion in 1866

EVENING POST 13 October 1920
Mr Chew Chong, a very old resident of New Plymouth, is dead. He was credited with being the pioneer of the dairying industry in the Taranaki province, and took an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the town and district. Born in China ninety-two years ago, Mr Chong came to the Doninion in 1866

Chew Chong`s OBITUARY
... retiring fron business in 1900, Mr Chong remained in New Plymouth, having resided at Vogeltown and Courtenay street. Mr Chong married a daughter of Mr Joseph Whatton, of Masterton, in 1875. He is survived by a widow and three daughters and three sons.
The family are:
* Amy, Mrs Wilkes (New Plymouth)
* Beatrice, Mrs Wilkie (Rotorua)
* Miss Freda Chong, (New Plymouth)- (Vida Gladys)
* Mr Albert Joseph Chong (Stratford)
* Wilfred Howard Chong (New Plymouth)
* Gerald Chong (New Plymouth)

The most remarkable personality in the establishment of dairying in Taranaki, as indeed of the Dominion, was a little Chnese gentleman, Chew Chong. It was he who built the first dairy factory and provided the struggling settler with his first means of making a cash transaction in having created a market for the fungus found in the bush and facetiously known as Taranaki "wool".
Chew Chong was no ordinary Chinaman. Though not a mandarin, nor of the educated class, he well merited the high esteem in which he was held by all classes because of his high principles and generaous instincts. To the first settlers who faced the wilderness with determination and hope as their only capital the little Chinese pedlar (a buyer of old iron in the first place) came as a general benefactor. In his wanderings he recognised the fungus growing on the tawa, puketea and mahoe trees as something similar to an edible fungus greatly prized in his country as a vegetable. With that keen foresight which always distinguished him, he decided to establish a trade in it with his native land. A trial shipment was made, and the venture at once proved a success.
It is difficult at this distance to realise what the work of Chew Chong meant to the pioneer dairyman of Taranaki. When he commenced to purchase fungus the settlers lived by a system of barter. Fourpence a pound was a high price for the butter they produced. The storekeeper accepted the butter in exchange for stores, milled it and shipped it Home in a salted condition in kegs as ordinary cargo. It was a matter of great difficulty to obtain sufficient cash to meet the annual rates levied by the local bodies, amounting generally to 5s or 7s 6d. It was not till they were paid spot cash for their fungus that the settlers knew the delightful sound of the clinking of coin of the realm. The trade in Taranaki "wool" rapidly developed until one year, about 1885, the export of fungus amounted to ?72,000, (equivalnet in 2011 to $13,027,500) more than the total value of butter shipped from the province. This important means of revenue was a Godsend to many a settler, for the price of butter had fallen to about threepence a pound at that time, and but for the fungus many a family would have had ruin staring them in the face. It was in the year 1868 that Chew Chong commenced buying fungus. For four years the Customs authorities of China kept no account of the amount imported, but when Chew Chong was in China later he was informed that from 1872 to 1904 the imports were valued at ?375,000

Beneficient as were the services rendered to the Taranaki pioneer by the establishment of a trade in fungus, which was all profit, costing nothing to produce and being chiefly collected by the children, it was the part played by the Chinese storekeeper in estabishing the factory system of butter manufacture for which he is principally remembered.
In 1870 Chew Chong settled in New Plymouth and established a store, other stores being subsequently opened at Elthan and Inglewood. His main sphere of activity was at Eltham, for it was there that he became the pioneer of the dairy factory movement in the Taranaki province. In erecting a dairy factory Chew Chong took a risky step, for it was a matter of great difficult to procure a competent butter-maker in those days.
The refrigerator was unknown, control of temperature, an essential feature in the modern factory being thus impossible; seperators were crude affairs, transport was difficult and costly, and the butter had to be shipped abroad as ordinary cargo. However, he was a man of exceptional enterprise, and having been approached by the settlers with whom he was doing business he entered into the work in a bold manner. Perhaps the best indication of the up-to-date nature of the factory given by the first Government dairy instructor in 1888:- "Chew Chong`s factory: This is one of the best factories I have visited. The machinery is good and in first-class condition and everything about it is thoroughly clean. The machinery is driven by a water-wheel. There are two Danish cream separators, each capable of putting through 150 gallons of milk per hour; one box churn capable of churning half a ton of butter at once, and a lever butter-worker. The water-wheel is inside the lower part of the building. The butter when churned is taken to a space between the wheel and the outside wall to be made up. When the wheel is in motion it causes a current of cool air in the place, throwing at the same time a spray of water in the air, which assists to cool it in hot weather, a method invaluable for butter-making. The building of a tunnel to bring the water to the wheel and plant cost over ?700"

It is told by old settlers, as an instance of Chew Chong`s versatility, that the contractors for the tunnel were on the point of throwing up the work, as they could make no progress, when Chew Chong went into the tunnel and showed them how to go about it. It was in 1887 that the factory established a notable period for the industry. Being the year of Queen Victoria`s Jublilee, Chew Chong named his factory "The Jubilee" and registered the word "Jubilee" as the brand of his butter. It was a success from its initiation, notwithstanding the difficulties which had to be faced.
the first year supplier could only be paid 2d a gallon for the milk, but the following year 3d a gallon was paid. The first shipment of factory butter realised 24s a cwt. more that did the milled butter shipped by Chew Chong at the same time. The cost of marketing was expensive in those ays. Roads were bad, and railage freights were high. To rail butter to Wellington cost ?3 4s per ton. The butter Chew Chong turned out was of high quality for the period, and he gained the leading awards at the South Seas Exhibition at Dunedin in 1889, including a silver cup presented by Messrs A. and T. Burt.

The history of Chew Chong was that of many another proprietary pioneer in the industry. When the wave of co-operative dairying carried all before it he struggled gamely for a time, but finally had to close the doors of his factory and three creameries, having failed to persuade the co-operators to take them over, with the result that his building and plant, which cost ?3700, did not realise ?400. Chew Chong calculated that he lost ?7000 in the dairying business, for during the last five years his factory was in existence he had to pay very high prices to retain suppliers. Though his services have not attracted the attention of the outside world, there is not a man of long experience in Taranaki who does not hold him in high regard and honour him for the great part he played in the development of the province.

the 11 known children
- (born in New Plmouth)

18 Nov 1875 - Blanche Elizabeth Chong
- died 1 Feb 1876 aged 10 weeks in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

22 Nov 1876 - Albert Joseph Chong
- married Bessie JOHNSON in 1906
- died 11 March 1956 agd 79
- buried Hawera General

21 Dec 1877 - Arthur Lewis Chong
- died 7 Jan 1879 aged 12 months in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

21 May 1879 - Lewis Arnold Chong
- died 4 Fev 1888 aged 8 in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

18 July 1880 - Wilfred Howard Chong
- married Alice May DAYMAN in 1920
- died 1 Dec 1962 aged 82 in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

27 Aug 1882 - Amy Mildred Chong
- married Wlter WILKES (1864-1920) in 1906
- married William LAING in 1931
- died 12 June 1966 aged 83 in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

7 Feb 1883 - Beatrice Maud Chong
- married Frederick William WILKIE (1865-1958) in 1920
- died 25 May 1969 aged 85 in Rotorua
- buried Rotorua

13 March 1886 - Alice Octavia Chong
- Twin with Ethel Joyce
- died 25 March 1886 aged 12 days in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

13 March 1886 - Ethel Joyce Chong
- Twin with Alice Ocatvia
- died 24 April 1886 aged 7 weeks in New Plymouth
- bured Te Henui

14 Sep 1887 - Vida Gladys Chong
- never married
- died 17 Dec 1960 aged 74
- buried Te Henui

19 March 1896 - Gerald McNaughton Chong
- married Ethel Maud MEADS (1905-1988) in 1926
- died 13 Nov 1982 in New Plymouth
- buried Te Henui

Chew Chong & his family
Rear, from left:
Veda, Maude, Amy, Wildred
Front, from left:
wife Elizabeth, Chew Chong, Gerald, Albert

Viewed: 3395 times
by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-01-25 11:12:58

ngairedith has been a Family Tree Circles member since Feb 2008.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.