book - William Thomas Ah Chow
From the Collection of Orbost & District Historical Society Ruskin Street Orbost Victoria
- A soft covered 97pp book with a cream cover. On the front is a coloured photograph of a Chinese man in traditional robe and hat. On the back cover is Moscow Villa. It contains information, copies of 1949 photographs, documents, hand -written letters and a will. There is an envelope attached to the inside cover containing a disc, photos and family tree.
- H-295mm W-210mm D-8mm
- ah-chow-william-thomas family-history-ah-chow
- This family history book was published as a family record of the Ah Chow family. A limited number of copies were printed.
Thomas William (Bill) Ah Chow was a Chinese-Australian soldier, farmer, fire lookout and legendary bushman of East Gippsland in Victoria. Many Chinese came to the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s to seek their fortune at the Omeo and Cassilis diggings. Many of the immigrants later settled and integrated into their local communities working as farm labourers, tending market gardens, making furniture, running grocery stores and cafes or practising Chinese medicine. Thomas William "Bill" Ah Chow of Bruthen, Victoria attempted to enlist early in the War but was rejected for being "not substantially of European origin". Undeterred, he reapplied and was accepted in June 1917. During his service with the 5th Battalion, he was wounded at least three times.
After the War, Bill returned to Bruthen where he drove sheep, worked cattle and eventually assisted in the building of roads through the area. He became a Forestry Commission fire-spotter and built a hut called 'Moscow Villa' in 1942. He lived in the hut during the summer months and in winter, returned to his family in Ensay. Whenever there was fire danger, he rode his horse up to the fire tower on Mt Nugong and acted as look-out. Bill worked for the Forestry Commission for more than twenty years and came out of retirement to continue his duties when no suitable replacement could be found. Bill died in 1967 and is buried in Omeo. Moscow Villa still stands and is a popular camping site
- March 2019
- Wise, Janice (Maker)
- This is a useful reference item. As a family history it is detailed and contains useful copies of personal documents.
- 24 Dec 2019 at 12:06PM