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Nean, William

Alternative Names
  • Ah Nean, Willie (also used)
  • Nean, William (also used)


According to his marriage certificate William Nean was born in China, probably around 1864. He arrived in Australia some time between then and 1896. In 1896 when he was 32 years old he married 20 year old Rosey Hetta Johnson of Ararat. His signature on the marriage certificate is in a strong English hand suggesting at least a basic English education. He was working as a gardener in Wangaratta, Victoria when he departed Australia, probably for Hong Kong or China, with an exemption under Victoria's 1890 Chinese Actin 1901.

Some time before his trip his marriage with Rosey broke down and she appears to have bigamously remarried in 1899. In March 1902 William Nean returned on the Changsha from Hong Kong. The shipping lists describe him as a 38 year old single gardener.

A Willie Nean, also a market gardener, is mentioned in the Bendigo Advertiser on 15 December 1915 as making a Christmas donation of £10 to the Bendigo Hospital. This suggests William Nean may have moved to Bendigo on his return to Australia. No other information is currently available about him.

Sources used to compile this entry: Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1889-1901; Unassisted Immigration to Victoria: Index of inward passenger lists for British and Foreign Ports 1852-1911; PROV, VPRS 7667, Nean, William, March 1902, Chungsha; Bendigo Advertiser, 15 December 1915 (courtesy Bendigo Advertiser index, Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum).

Prepared by: Sophie Couchman, La Trobe University


William Nean
c. 1900
Australia - Victoria - Melbourne