Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque to honour sugar pioneers
Cairns’ early sugar industry and the region’s Chinese heritage are being recognised this week, with the unveiling of a plaque honouring the Hap Wah plantation.
As part of the Cairns Chinese New Year Festival 2013, Mayor Bob Manning will join with the local Chinese community for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Stockland Earlville, in honour of the first plantation to crush and manufacture commercial sugar in the Cairns region.
The plantation was founded by Chinese-Australian Andrew Leon and the Hap Wah Company in 1878 on 505 hectares of land in what is now Earlville and Woree. Up to 200 Chinese workers were employed in the operation.
“Cairns had a high population of Chinese settlers, who were prominent in the early development of the city,” Cr Manning said.
“It was hardworking people like Andrew Leon and his colleagues who built this region. He was a pioneer in the sugar industry and he created employment for other hardworking people.
“Now, 130 years later, Stockland Earlville is located right in the middle of what used to be the Hap Wah plantation. To honour the Hap Wah sugar operation and Mr Leon’s contribution to Cairns in this manner is fitting.”
Complementing the plaque, an historical photographic exhibition titled Rediscovering Hap Wah will be on display at Earlville Library from January 24 until February 23.
Anyone interested in hearing more about the Hap Wah plantation is invited to attend a presentation by researcher and Hap Wah project coordinator Julia Volkmar at Earlville Library this Saturday, January 26, at 10am.
The Hap Wah commemoration is a joint project between Cairns Historical Society, Cairns and District Chinese Association, Chinese Heritage in Northern Australia Inc, Stockland and Cairns Regional Council.
The unveiling of the commemorative plaque will take place at Stockland Earlville (Northern Hall, near Angus & Coote Jewellers) this Thursday, January 24, at 6.30pm.
Date: 24 January 2013
Where is it?
Northern Hall, near Angus & Coote Jewellers
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