The Melbourne Chinese Empire Reform Association was originally established after the '100 days of reform' in 1898. A monarchist organisation, the Association wanted China to be ruled under a democracy, but also wanted to maintain the monarchy and work with the Manchus to improve China.
Due to internal frictions the Empire Reform Association was totally reorganised in 1904. Membership of the reorganised association was open to Chinese from various occupations and social status but was still controlled by high status Chinese individuals such as Ho Nam, a Little Bourke Street storekeeper and P.N. Hoong Nam, a furniture manufacturer at 109 Little Bourke Street. While it retained its name, it was a very different group and the Sydney arm of the Association eventually disassociated itself from the Melbourne group.
The new group was initially moderate in its politics. Its main focus was the reform of China, but it did not make the protection and restoration of the Emperor a precondition for reform, nor did it treat the Republican Kang and Liang as its leaders. After purchasing the ailing Chinese Times in 1905 the Association appointed Lew Goot-chee and Wong Yue-kung, two Republican editors from China. Under these editors the Chinese Times started to preach revolution and popularise Dr Sun Yat-sen's republican teachings. Under the influence of the two editors the Melbourne Chinese Empire Reform Association became the Melbourne Chinese Reform Association. Lew Goot-chee became the secretary and Wong Yue-kung the president.
In addition to Chinese politics the Association was also involved in Australian politics and launched the anti-opium movement in Victoria. They also provided an important social function in the community, bringing people, both Chinese and non-Chinese together for events like annual picnics.
Sources used to compile this entry: Yong, C. F., 'The Chinese revolution of 1911: Reactions of Chinese in New South Wales and Victoria', Historical Studies, vol. 12, 1966, pp. 213-229; Yong, C.F., New Gold Mountain: The Chinese in Australia 1901-1920, Raphael Arts, South Australia, 1977.
Prepared by: Sophie Couchman, La Trobe University
- Yong, C.F., New Gold Mountain: The Chinese in Australia 1901-1920, Raphael Arts, South Australia, 1977. Details
- Yong, C. F., 'The Chinese revolution of 1911: Reactions of Chinese in New South Wales and Victoria', Historical Studies, vol. 12, 1966, pp. 213-229. Details
- 'Chinese Empire Reform Picnic at Aspendale Park [includes photograph]', Chinese Times supplement, 24  February 1905. Details
- 'The Chinese Picnic at Aspendale Park [includes photographs]', The Leader, 18 February, p. 36. Details
- McCoy, Alfred W., Drug Traffic: Narcotics and Organised Crime in Australia, Harper and Row Publishers, Sydney, 1980. Details
- Picnic of the Chinese Empire Reform Association at Oakleigh Park
- c. 1906
- Australia - Victoria - Melbourne
Created: 10 May 2001, Last modified: 7 November 2005