02 Jul 2004


No Ordinary Man
Sydney’s Quong Tart:
 “citizen, merchant, philanthropist”
July 2 - August 15, 2004
To be opened by William Yang, Thursday 8 July 6-8pm
William Yang is an Australian-born-Chinese photographer, whose artwork documents his mixed race family and the social life of Sydney, so he is in an interesting position to reflect on Quong Tart's mixed-race family, 19th century photography & the legacy of Quong Tart's life in Sydney.

An important historical exhibition, No Ordinary Man. Sydney’s Quong Tart: citizen, merchant & philanthropist will be opened by William Yang Thursday 8 July, 6-8pm. Curated by Dr Nicola Teffer, this exhibition will cast new light on the life of Quong Tart (1850-1903), in his time, one of Sydney's most famous and well-loved personalities. Originally a Chinese immigrant lured here by the goldrush, he became one of the city's most successful merchants and made a significant impact on the social and political scene of late nineteenth-century Sydney. Quong Tart is now largely remembered as a uniquely Victorian character: a Chinese Mandarin who adopted the dress and manners of an English gentleman and was renowned for his public performances of Scottish songs. However, there is more to the story of Quong Tart than this affectionate image tells. 


No Ordinary Man brings together material sourced from private and public collections, some of which has never been exhibited before. The exhibition highlights Quong Tart’s significance in shaping Australian society, including the role his tea-rooms played as the site of the first meetings of Sydney's suffragettes and his contribution to the developing diplomatic and trade relations between Australia and China. Fascinating photographs of Quong Tart's family, home and tea-rooms document Sydney’s social life and the range of Quong Tart's interests and influences, from his progressive employment policies to his public philanthropy. He is distinguished as the first Chinese person in Australia to be initiated into the Society of Freemasons. Original documents reveal Quong Tart’s tireless advocacy for the rights of resident Chinese, his campaign against the trade in opium and his role as a mediator between the Australian and Chinese communities. Quong Tart was indeed no ordinary man, and his achievements are made all the more remarkable by the fact that his popularity and success was won at a time of such strong anti-Chinese sentiment.


The exhibition “No Ordinary Man. Sydney’s Quong Tart: citizen, merchant & philanthropist” and accompanying 32pp illustrated catalogue, mark the end of a year of events coordinated by the Quong Tart Commemoration Committee to commemorate the life and work of Quong Tart. The exhibition is held in conjunction with an international conference, Quong Tart and His Times, 1850-1903 at the Powerhouse Museum July 1-4, and with a multi-media performance, Tales of a Tartan Mandarin - The Story of Quong Tart, at the University of Technology.


The Tearoom on Level 3 QVB, and the Tea Centre in the Glasshouse, both operate at the same locations as two of Quong Tart’s original tea-rooms. During the six weeks of the exhibition, they are offering specials to commemorate their historical link with Quong Tart.  Both will be serving “Quong tarts”, a fruit tart specially devised to celebrate the man. The Tearoom is also offering a discount on its Devonshire Tea service to patrons of the exhibition, while the Tea Centre is conducting complimentary tea-tasting sessions on Wednesday mornings. The Queen Victoria

Building will be conducting special Guided Tours of the QVB.


The Quong Tart Centenary Commemoration Committee thanks the Major sponsors of the exhibition:

The City of Sydney, QVB, the Australia China Council, the Migration Heritage Centre and the host venue, Newcontemporaries. The support of the United Grand Lodge of NSW and ACT, The Powerhouse Museum and Spicers Paper are also gratefully acknowledged. 





Events at the QVB in conjunction with  "No Ordinary Man"



 Quong Tart QVB Tours


 Queen Victoria Building Information Desk

 Ground Floor, QVB, George St, Sydney


The QVB information desk will conduct their tours of the QVB with additional information about the history of the building in relation to Quong Tart. The tour will end at the Newcontemporaries, where the exhibition is being held.

July 2 to Aug 15, Mon-Sat 11:30am & 2:30pm, Sun 12pm & 2:30pm
Meeting Place: Queen Victoria Building, information desk, ground floor
Price: $10
For bookings contact the QVB information desk Ph: 9265 6864



 Devonshire Tea Offer

  The Tearoom, Queen Victoria Building

 Level 3 North, QVB, George St, Sydney


On purchase of a 'No Ordinary Man' catalogue from the Newcontemporaries exhibition, visitors are entitled to a two for one deal on Devonshire Tea at The Tearoom, usually $9 per person. Set in the QVB's fully restored beautiful Victorian style ballroom, The Tearoom serves traditional English style morning and afternoon tea as well as offering an a la carte lunch menu.

July 2 to August 15, 2004. for Further information contact The Tearoom Ph: 9283 7279


 Events associated with the Quong Tart Centenary Commemoration Committee (QTCCC) 


Online Exhibition: Quong Tart

City of Sydney

The History Program at the City of Sydney presents a virtual exhibition about Quong Tart’s Tea Rooms and his business dealings within the City. Featuring historic photographs and manuscripts from the City of Sydney Archives and the Society of Australian Genealogists. Historical Happenings - Quong Tart Commemorative Year


Complimentary Tea Tastings

The Tea Centre of Sydney

Level 1, The Glasshouse, 146 Pitt St Mall, Sydney

Wed June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, 10am-12pm Ph: 9223 9909


Tales of a Tartan Mandarin

The Story of Quong Tart, University of Technology

Written and Directed by Professor Barbara Poston-Anderson

Fri July 2, Sat July 3, Fri July 16. 7.30pm 

Adult: $20.00 Concessions: $16.00

Guthrie Theatre, Bld 6, Lvl 3, University of Technology, Sydney, 702 Harris St, Broadway Ph: 9514 5277


Quong Tart and His Times, 1850-1903

International Conference

Powerhouse Museum
Thurs July 1 to Sun July 4
The Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
A presentation of papers on topics related to the life and times of Quong Tart, 1850-1903. Subjects include comparative gold fields history; social, cultural, and economic history of Sydney and NSW, 1850-1903; history of the Chinese communities in and around the Pacific 1850-1903; race relations and regulatory regimes against Chinese in and around the Pacific, and Chinese responses 1850-1903.
For further information contact the conference convenor, Henry Chan

Publication – The Life of Quong Tart
State Library of New South Wales
The Library Shop, Macquarie Street, Sydney  
To commemorate 100 years since his death, the Library Shop at the State Library of NSW has reprinted a stunning, limited edition copy of The life of Quong Tart: or how a foreigner succeeded in a British community, compiled and edited by Mrs Quong Tart in 1911. 

Click here to view The State Libraries' Heritage Collection Web Book photos of Quong Tart and family    


Images from top, left to right:
Quong Tart outside luncheon rooms, possibly at 777 George Street, 1886-1898, Photographer Unknown. Gelatin silver photograph, 20.5x29.2, Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/26 no.3
Portrait of the Tart Family 1899, Photographer Creelman Studios, Sydney. Gelatin silver photograph, 24.5x30.5 private collection.
Quong Tartan, or he would be a Scots-man, 1887. Phil May, Tart McEvoy Papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/17, no.2
Quong Tart and staff outside Loong Shan tea-rooms, 137 King St, 1889-1903. Photographer Cleare & Co., Sydney. Gelatin silver photograph, 20.5x25.2, Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/26 no.4
Portrait of Quong Tart 1900, Photographer Creelman Studios, Sydney. Gelatin silver photograph,  private collection.
View of the Elite Dining Saloon, Queen Victoria Markets c1900, Photographer Crown Studios, Sydney. Gelatin silver photograph, 20.5x29.2, Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/26 no.3
Level 3 South, QVB, George St, Sydney, 2000 
PO Box Q292 QVB Post Office Sydney NSW 1230  
Ph: 02 9268 0316 Fax: 02 9264 8711
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm.
Newcontemporaries is a non commercial gallery
proudly supported by the QVB, Sydney, Australia

Proudly supported by