Tom See PoyPrint Page
A plaque commemorates Chinese storekeeper, Tom See Poy.
Tom was born at Ny Chuen, Nam Hui district, Kwonglung, South China, second child and eldest son of a peasant farmer In Vong and his wife Lo Hoy. His mother died when he was 7 and, owing to poverty, he had only three years schooling. When Sze-pui was 17 news came to the area that gold had been discovered near Cooktown, Queensland, and, hoping to improve the family fortunes, his father decided to go there with his two sons. There followed five years of appalling privation on the Palmer goldfield. His luck changed from 1882 when he answered an advertisement for labourers to develop a sugar-plantation on the Johnstone River.
He then joined a work-gang in the Mourilyan valley and at 30 was promoted foreman. Using the money thus saved he repatriated his father and went into partnership with one of his countrymen to purchase a peddling business. The success of that modest venture set his mind to become a merchant. Thus in July 1883 he and two other Chinese set up the Kam Woh (later the Tung Woh) store at Mourilyan. Subsequently, fearing an attack from Aborigines, they moved it to the Johnstone River, presumably near the present site of Innisfail.
After three years successful trading, Sze-pui bought out the other partners who returned to China. With persistent and incorrect Anglicization of his name, he gracefully accepted the name Tom and the family name See Poy.
|Address:||Edith & Ernest Streets, Coles Shopping Centre, Innisfail, 4860|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -17.524201|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.