- 2 January 1832
- 2 February 1911
Lee Moy Ling arrived in Daylesford, via Robe in South Australia, in 1856. He spoke English and was appointed local Chinese Intepreter. He was converted in the Daylesford Methodist Chapel in 1865. On the recommendation of the Rev William Hill, he was appointed Methodist Catechist in Castlemaine but after anger from the local Chinese Christians, who preferred a local convert, Leong On Tong. Moy Ling was sent to Bendigo and then to Melbourne.
Moy Ling established a Chinese Methodist Mission at 242 Little Bourke St, initially in the Kong Chew Hall, suggesting that he was from Taishan District (Siyi/See Yup county). He worked in close cooperation with the Presbyterians. He became a probationary minister and was responsible for the decision to build the existing Chinese Methodist (Uniting) Church at 194 Little Bourke Street which was opened on 10 July 1872. Moy Ling and On Tong were the first Chinese to be ordained to the Christian ministry in Australia. Their examination for ordination was conducted by the Rev Josiah Cox, an English Methodist missionary from China.
When his colleague, the Rev Leong On Tong went home to China to marry, Moy Ling asked him to also find him a wife. In 1873 he went to China and married. He served as Chinese Minister for several years in Castlemaine.
Among the Chinese he trained for missionary work was John Young Wai, who later became a very successful Presbyterian minister in Sydney. He also arranged for Paul Ng Soong Quong to become a missionary in Perth. Another man, Daniel Lem Sheok Kee, was sent to work in the Otago mission in New Zealand.
He was highly regarded by the leaders of the Methodist Church and held in great respect by his countrymen. A quiet man, he rarely sought the public eye but was active in Chinese associations, including the Chinese Empire Reform Association. He was quietly active in the various difficulties of the Chinese community in relation to immigration and employment issues, especially the attempts to totally exclude Chinese from laundry and furniture manufacturing between 1896 and 1905.
He maintained a friendly working relationship with other Chinese Christians, including Cheok Hong Cheong of the Anglican Mission. With Cheong he was a co-founder of the Chinese Christian Union in the early twentieth century bringing together Chinese Christians from all denominations to work on areas of common interest. Moy Ling was president until his death.
He served as a catechist, minister and Superintendent of the Chinese Methodist Mission in Victoria for fifty years until his death in 1911. He was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria. On his headstone it notes his '45 years devoted service as Methodist Chinese Minister in Victoria'.
Sources used to compile this entry: The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 June, 1866; Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Notices, July, 1867, p. 32; The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 December, 1870, pp. 192-193; Wesleyan Missionary Notices, September, 1873, p. 195; The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 June, 1873, p. 92; The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 August, 1874, p. 130; 'Christian Chinese Union of Victoria [photograph caption]', Weekly Times, 25 April 1903, p. 12, 15; Yong, C.F., New Gold Mountain: The Chinese in Australia 1901-1920, Raphael Arts, South Australia, 1977; Birth and death dates and information about headstone in Melbourne General Cemetery provided by Reverend James Moy Ling's great grandchild Serena Shai-Hee (nee Cheung).
Prepared by: Ian Welch, Australian National University
- Yong, C.F., New Gold Mountain: The Chinese in Australia 1901-1920, Raphael Arts, South Australia, 1977. Details
- The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 June, 1866. Details
- The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 December, 1870, pp. 192-193. Details
- The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 June, 1873, p. 92. Details
- The Wesleyan Chronicle, no. 20 August, 1874, p. 130. Details
- Phillips, Walter, 'Seeking souls in the diggings: Christian missions to the Chinese on the Victorian goldfields', Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 72, no. 1 & 2, 2001, pp. 86-104. Details
- Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Notices, July, 1867, p. 32. Details
- Wesleyan Missionary Notices, September, 1873, p. 195. Details
- 'Christian Chinese Union of Victoria [photograph caption]', Weekly Times, 25 April 1903, p. 12, 15. Details
- 'northbalwyn', This is the grave of Rev. James Moy Ling. At Melbourne cemetery, YouTube, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjxOKvOnGyY. Details
- Christian Chinese Union of Victoria
- Australia - Victoria - Melbourne
- Wesleyan Chinese Mission Victoria montage
- Australia - Victoria
Created: 11 July 2001, Last modified: 6 November 2007