Sleuths call for help to solve Chinese puzzle

PORTRAITS of early Chinese migrants are displayed alongside those of Perth’s current Chinese community in the free exhibition Kiss the Sun, Marry the Moon, held for the Chinese New Year.

The vintage portraits were taken by Perth snapper Denis Dease between 1900 and 1927, but were lost after the studio’s closure.

• Ah Quong

• Ah Quong

They were unearthed in the 1980s in the basement of the Perth fire station, and now local historians Kaylene Poon and Marjorie Bly are now trying to unearth the details of the Chinese subjects, unveiling stories of hardship, resilience, love and loss in a new country.

The vintage images are paired with modern day portraits by Brett Cánet-Gibson who’s photographed figures like William Chiew, now 91 years old. Born in 1925, he was one of the first Chinese market gardeners of the day. Contrasted with the older images, they tell a tale of hope and new beginnings as the Chinese community established itself firmly in Perth.

• Bill Chiew

• Bill Chiew

The free exhibition for the Year of the Rooster runs from January 29 to February 5 at lots 5 & 6 Elizabeth Quay, times at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s