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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The plaque commemorates Lowe Kong Meng (1831 - 1888), who was a businessman and Chinese community leader.  He arrived in Australia after hearing of the gold rushes in 1853 and a year later had established an importing business in Little Bourke Street.

Lowe Kong Meng was a very successful businessman with interests in a wide range of activities both in the Australian colonies and abroad. He owned a fleet of six ships some of which were engaged in procuring beche-de-mer from the Torres Straits. In 1864 he was one of the first merchants to attempt trade between Melbourne and Port Darwin. He bought a gold mine at Majorca, Victoria and speculated in many other mining ventures in the colony. He was also connected with banking and insurance. He was probably the wealthiest Chinese resident in Melbourne and was well-known across Australia. Within the Chinese community he was a popular leader and supervised various Chinese organisations, settled disputes and helped Chinese to find work. He encouraged the Chinese community to respect the British flag, law and justice. He actively protested against immigration restrictions against Chinese. For his leadership within the Victorian Chinese community he was awarded in 1863 the title of mandarin of the blue button, civil order by the Chinese Emperor.

Lowe Kong Meng was also well respected outside the Chinese community. He gave generously to a wide range of church and public charities. He died in Malvern in 1888.


Address:1257 High Street, Malvern City Library, Malvern, 3144
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.856873
Long: 145.032048
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Growing Together 1984 -5

In memory of LOWE KONG MENG (1831-1888), international businessman and a Chinese community leader in Victoria. A British subject born in Penang, he was educated in English, French and Chinese languages and settled in Victoria in 1853. He engaged in shipping, trade, banking and insurance, and campaigned against racial discrimination in Australia. Cultural and charitable, he was widely respected in Melbourne and had a residence in Malvern.

Source: RHSV, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au