Episode 1: John Shying – The story of Australia’s first known Chinese settler
John Shying is the first known Chinese person to arrive in Australia and make a life Down Under. He emigrated to the colony at Sydney as a young man in 1818, just 30 years after the First Fleet. He was a skilled tradesman and earned his keep as a carpenter before moving out west and becoming a publican.
John Shying was a keen property developer, buying and selling land and building houses and hotels. Basically, he dealt in property and booze – quintessential Australian pastimes!
With his English-born wife, he had four sons. All of the Shying boys would go into trade as carpenters, undertakers and merchants. Between them they had at least 31 children, meaning that there are literally thousands of descendants of Australia’s first Chinese settler in Australia today.
There’s an idea amongst European Australians that if you can trace your lineage back to the early years of the colony, you are part of “Australian Royalty”. So if your last name is Shying or Dunn, Slayford, Owen, Proctor or Murphy, you may very well be a part of Australian Royalty through Australia’s first known Chinese immigrant.
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