Reading family of Birmingham and S E London

Sarah Ann BowmanAge: 66 years18441911

Sarah Ann Bowman
Birth 23 April 1844 23 29
Baptism 26 May 1844 (Age 33 days)
Birth of a sisterMary Ann Bowman
1 December 1845 (Age 19 months)
Baptism of a sisterMary Ann Bowman
22 March 1846 (Age 22 months)
Birth of a brotherThomas George Bowman
4 April 1848 (Age 3 years)
Baptism of a brotherThomas George Bowman
23 April 1848 (Age 4 years)
Death of a brotherThomas George Bowman
October 1848 (Age 4 years)
Birth of a sisterMaria Elizabeth Bowman
1849 (Age 4 years)
Residence 1851 (Age 6 years)
Birth of a brotherGeorge Bowman
about 1852 (Age 7 years)
Baptism of a brotherGeorge Bowman
15 February 1852 (Age 7 years)
Birth of a sisterElizabeth Bowman
15 April 1854 (Age 9 years)
Commodore Perry
The Commodore Perry was built and launched in 1854 at the shipyard of Donald McKay in East Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Sold to James Baines, Liverpool, to form part of his Black Ball Line of clippers. She made several voyages to Australia.
1861 (Age 16 years)

Commodore Perry departed Liverpool 27 August 1861. Traveled under corruption of mother's maiden name, Hurst, with 6 year old sister who is described as an adult? Are we sure this is correct? It must have been crowded as there were 558 passengers!
8 December 1861 (Age 17 years)
Birth of a son
Thomas George Hang Gong
30 November 1864 (Age 20 years)
Birth of a son
Arthur Edward Hang Gong
15 January 1867 (Age 22 years)
Birth of a daughter
Jane Elizabeth Hang Gong
28 July 1869 (Age 25 years)
MarriageHang Gong LeeView this family
19 August 1869 (Age 25 years)
Birth of a daughter
Selina Emma ‘Cissie’ ‘Emma’ Hang Gong
23 June 1871 (Age 27 years)
Baptism of a sisterElizabeth Bowman
9 April 1872 (Age 27 years)
Birth of a son
Henry Hang Gong Lee
30 September 1873 (Age 29 years)
Birth of a son
Herbert Doral Hang Gong
1875 (Age 30 years)
Birth of a son
Ernest Howard Lee Hang Gong
1878 (Age 33 years)
Marriage of a childGee ‘George’ Mr TyeJane Elizabeth Hang GongView this family
4 August 1885 (Age 41 years)
Marriage of a parentThomas BowmanCaroline DeeksView this family
28 December 1885 (Age 41 years)
Death of a motherSarah Hust
1885 (Age 40 years)
Marriage of a childRobert Henry HarrisonSelina Emma ‘Cissie’ ‘Emma’ Hang GongView this family
14 January 1887 (Age 42 years)
Death of a husbandHang Gong Lee
6 January 1892 (Age 47 years)
Death of a fatherThomas Bowman
March 1894 (Age 49 years)
Death of a sonThomas George Hang Gong
5 January 1902 (Age 57 years)
Marriage of a childErnest Howard Lee Hang GongIda KingView this family
1904 (Age 59 years)
Death of a sonArthur Edward Hang Gong
2 July 1906 (Age 62 years)
Death of a daughterIda Lee
14 May 1908 (Age 64 years)

Death 6 April 1911 (Age 66 years)
Family with parents - View this family
Marriage: 29 October 1843Saint Dunstan, Stepney
6 months
19 months
younger sister
2 years
younger brother
Thomas George Bowman
Birth: 4 April 1848 27 33London, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Death: October 1848Stepney, London, United Kingdom
21 months
younger sister
4 years
younger brother
George Bowman
Birth: about 1852 31 37Stepney, Middlesex
Death: Thought to have died after a RN vessel was wrecked either in Arctic or Russia - this from family tradition but very little known. Even his name might be George Thomas or Thomas George rather than George with a brother named Thomas.
2 years
younger sister
Father’s family with Caroline Deeks - View this family
Caroline Deeks
Birth: about 1823Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Death: Age: 74July 1896Yarmouth, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Marriage: 28 December 1885Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Family with Hang Gong Lee - View this family
Marriage: 19 August 1869Creswick, Victoria
-5 years
Thomas George Hang Gong
Birth: Is this the one in the indexes as Thomas Bowman son of Sarah Bowman?30 November 1864 28 20Creswick, Victoria
Death: 5 January 1902Cavenagh street, Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia
2 years
3 years
23 months
2 years
2 years
4 years




Witnesses William Myer King & Fanny



It is possible that Sarah had some nursing experience in England an d this was the reason that she was often called upon as a midwife in Australia. In December 1861, when she was only seventeen years old, Sarah made the journey to Australia with her younger sister Elizabeth on the ship Commodore Perry. They travelled under their mother's maiden name Hurst. There isn't any information as to where or when Sarah and Hang Gong met but their first child, Thomas George, was born in Napier Street, Creswick, on 30 November 1864. Sarah was twenty years old and Hang Gong about twenty-eight. The couple had another child Arthur Edward on 15 January 1867 and a daughter Jane Elizabeth on 28 July 1869. A few weeks later, on 19 August, Sarah and Hang Gong were married by the Wesleyan minister in Creswick. It is interesting to note that in 1871 Sarah's sister Maria came to Victoria with her daughter Emma and that in 1873 her sister Elizabeth married a Chinese man, Lee Long Hearng (also spelt Herring and Hearring), a butcher, who came from the same province as Lee Hang Gong. Elizabeth later changed her surname to Young. On 23 June 1871 Sarah and Hang Gong had another daughter, Selina Ellen, who was born in her parents' home at Black Lead in Creswick. The name of the baby was subsequently recorded as Selina Emma. She was usually known by the family as Cissie. It was also in 1871 that Lee Hang Gong, by then thirty-five years old, decided to become a naturalised British subject. Another son, Henry, was born into the family on 30 September 1873, also in Creswick. Local newspaper entries, rates notices and post office records show that Lee Hang Gong worked in various occupations, including miner, cook, saloon keeper and merchant. The family lived at Black Lead, the site of the Chinese camp. Sarah is listed in the Post Office Directory of 1875 as Sarah Hong Gong, storekeeper at Black Lead, and Lee Hang Gong is listed as Hong Gong, merchant at Black Lead. The Lee Hang Gong family left Creswick in about 1876, the last known record of Sarah and Hang Gong in Creswick being 1875. According to oral history, Sarah and Hang Gong's sixth child, Herbert Doral, was born in Australia, possibly in Creswick just before they left Victoria. Lee Hang Gong probably moved to the Northern Territory for a short time with some members of the family so that he could set up business connections before leaving Australia for Hong Kong. Sarah accompanied her husband to Hong Kong. While she waited there (for about three to four years) Hang Gong returned to Tai Shan where he married the Chinese woman he had been promised to almost forty years previously. His Chinese wife was about forty-one years of age when she gave birth to their daughter and, a year later, to a son. The son became a prominent member of the Kuomintang, and after the revolution he was executed. Nothing is known of what happened to the daughter. Meanwhile Sarah waited in Hong Kong and gave birth to their seventh and last child, Ernest Howard, in about 1878. Lee Hang Gong and Sarah eventually returned to the Northern Territory with Ernest.

From the early 1880s to the turn of the century Lee Hang Gong opened stores in Southport and in Cavenagh Street, Palmerston; established an importing business and a brick works; and owned and operated several gold mines. His business partner in several of these ventures was Yam Yan. In 1882 Lee Hang Gong was naturalised again probably because his Victorian naturalisation was not recognised in the Northern Territory.

In the 1880s the two oldest sons Thomas and Arthur visited Hong Kong to choose Chinese wives. Arthur and his wife, Louey Yat Tai (later known as Emily), returned to the Northern Territory in early 1887. Thomas and his wife, Lou See, returned a few years later. In July 1882 Sarah and Hang Gong sent their daughter Cissie, who had just turned eleven, back to Victoria because they were worried about her health. She stayed with her aunt Elizabeth Young in Ballarat. In 1887, when Cissie was almost sixteen, Sarah travelled from Palmerston to give her consent to her daughter's marriage to Robert Harrison. Sarah Ann Bowman

1844 Born 23 April 1844, Stepney, England (Birth Cert)

1844 Baptised 26 May 1844, St Dunstan’s, Stepney, England Parish Reg and IGI

Father Thomas Bowman, a drayman, Mother Sarah Hurst, parents lived Union Street, Mile End of town, Stepney, England

1851 Census H0/107/1553/117/26

9, Regent Street, South, Mild End of Town, Stepney

Thomas Bowman Head 30 Labourer Bromley, Middlesex

Sarah Bowman Wife 36 Stratford, Essex

Sarah Bowman Daug 6 Scholar Stepney, Middlesex

Mary A Bowman Daug 5 Scholar Stepney, Middlesex

Marie E Bowman Daug 1 Stepney, Middlesex

Alfred League Lodger 22 Stone Mason St Luke’s, Middlesex

Thomas Jones Lodger 28 Labourer ?

1861 Approx time of arrival in Australia (death Cert)

1861 Dec arrived as Sarah Hurst with Elizabeth Hurst both adults on the ship Commodore Perry, Code B Fich 196 Page 002? Correct time place. See File for copy of Log for Commodore Perry. Sarah's name not mentioned but interesting reading.

1864 30 Nov 1864 Birth of Thomas Bowman, Napier Street, Creswick, Victoria, no father named. (20 years of age) 1866 23 Jan 1866, Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead 1867 14 Jan 1867 Birth Arthur Edward Lee, Blacklead, Creswick, Victoria. Father given as Lee Hang Gong.

1867 Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead

1869 28 July 1869 Birth Jane Elizabeth Lee, Creswick, Victoria. Father given as Lee Hang Gong

1869 In 1869 She married Lee Hang Gong, a Chinaman aged 34 years. At the Wesleyan Church, Creswick, Victoria.

Witness at Marr, William Myer King, and Fanny

1870 22 Mar 1870 Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead, Storekeeper, Bootmaker

1871 23 June 1871 Birth Selina Ellen Lee Creswick, Victoria

1871 Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead, Bootmaker, Storekeeper

1872 Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead Storekeeper

1873 30 Sep 1873 Birth Henry Lee

1873 Creswick Rate Book, Blacklead, Storekeeper

1874 November, Ship the Legislator, Destination Hong Kong, via Sydney on board -

Gong- infant aged 1(Henry?) with Mrs Gong aged 30, Arthur Gong aged 7, Jane Gong, aged 5, Lee Gong aged 36, Selina Gong aged 3, Thomas Gong aged 9 Ref Nov 1874 002

1875 Niven's Directory for the city of Ballarat, Creswick, Alphabetical directory, page 101

Hong Gong, Sarah, Store Keeper, Black Lead

1876 Birth Herbert Doral Lee

1878 abt1878 Birth Ernest Howard Lee (

1881 20 Feb 1881 A birth of Arthur Sprugin to Alfred and Emma Jane Packer registered by Sarah Hang Gong ... he was a stonemason, Southport.

1881 26 Sep 1881 Northern Territory Archives A4958 Smith Street, Palmerston. Sarah Hang Gong to Governor general. "Having two sons who can both read and write Chinese well, I beg to ask as a great favour if you could give them employment as interpreters or any other situation where their services might be useful their ages are 15 and 18 respectively. Signed in same hand as letter... educated, neat hand.

1882 18 March 1882 Mrs H Gong places an ad in paper (Northern Territory Times, Vol 7 No 440) saying she Is open to an engagement as stewardess for steamer or to attend on any lady going south who would require services as a lady's maid. Address... Smith Street, Palmerston....

1882 22 April 1882 District Council resolved to accept the offer made them by Mr VV Brown, representing the owner of allotment 523, Smith Street. This block is the one known as being in the occupation of Mrs Hang Gong. The exact price has not transpired but we have reason to know that the Council are well satisfied with their purchase. Now the land is secured we presume the new Council Chamber will be commenced at once.

1882 5 June 1882 Mrs Hang Gong arrives on Ship Crusader in Darwin, from Sydney and Queensland Ports)

1883 7 Feb 1883 a court case Harison v Hang Gong... plaintiff claimed 50 pounds, value of a house removed from his leasehold allotment no 307, Cavenagh Street, Palmerston, ... Walter Harrison claimed he had leased the allotment from Mr T E Bury, the owner and hold it under three year agreement... have received no rent, and buildings have been removed... land with cottage could have been let at 10 s per week... now bare... Plaintiff called VL Solomon who said he was auctioneer and commission agent and had called on defendants wife and informed her that Mr Harrison claimed possession of the house: she was in charge of it; offered her the right to purchase plaintiff's right in the lease; told her the lease would be up by the next boat; it is now to hand; after the lease came up I called her into my office and told her I should have to proceed against her; I gave her notice as she would not recognise plaintiffs claim; a day or two after I went over and saw the premises were being removed by some of her children and placed on the opposite side of the road; I don't think a similar cottage could be erected for 50 pounds. She told me that she had both the property and would remove it.

Mrs Hang Gong (who asked permission to appear for defendant who could speak no English) being sworn said: I am the wife of the deferent: I bought the house in question and the furniture from mr Robinson on the 29 June last: I gave him 47 pounds for the lot: the furniture was worth about 15 or 20 pounds. I bought the house with the intention of removing it; had partly removed it when I got notice; the house had two sides iron and the roof was also of iron; there were 80 sheets of iron; the white ants had eaten the wood away; left the blocks standing; I removed about 10 sheets of iron before I received the notice.

By plaintiff: I removed the iron on the morning of the day you gave notice. had only a verbal notice from Mr Solomon; the furniture consisted of three iron bedsteads and bedding, two tables cooking utensils, crockery chairs and other things. Mr Robinson showed me a receipt for the purchase of the goods from another; never removed timber from the building; there is no timber from the house outside the fence. I have two doors and two windows. verdict for plaintiff of 35 pounds. (Price, Little and McMinn)

1883 29 Mar 1883, Mrs Hang Gong leaves with her daughter Miss Hang Gong, on the ship Tannadice from Port Darwin to Sydney (Jane?) N.T. Times 31-3-1883

1883 April 1883 Mrs Hang Gong aged 43 years, arrives Victoria on Tannadice with Miss Hang Gong 15 years.(F 203)

1883 25 Nov 1883, Mrs Hang Gong (2nd Cabin) arrives Port Darwin, on the ship Menmiri, from Southern Ports

1884 20 August 1884, Mrs Hang Gong leaves Port Darwin, for Southern Ports, on the ship Tannadice with one child. (N.T. Times 23-8-1984)

1886 12 Feb 1886 Hang Gong arrived Port Darwin on the Tannadice

1889 4 March 1889 Hang Gong (Sarah or Hang Gong?) arrives Port Darwin on the Taiyuan

1901 1901 Census. Sarah Lee Hang Gong, 56, Widow, Palmerston, born England, C of E.. in handwriting white woman

1901 March 1901 Mrs Hang Gong is listed amoung names supporting Herbert for Parliament.

1902 17 Jan 1902...In referring last week to the death off Thomas George Hang Gong we inadvertently described the deceased as being Chinese. His mother, Mrs Hang Gong, has pointed out to us that her late son was a native of the colony of Victoria and a British subject and that in describing him as a Chinese an error has been committed which has caused his relatives pain. This is a matter for regret.

1902 March 1902 Mrs Hang Gong is amongst the supporters of Herbert... listed in paper

1902 8 April 1902, Leena Pak Foong, daughter of Chin Yam Yan, storekeeper and Ah Ngoi, born... informant was Sarah Hang Gong, who made her mark, nurse, Palmerston

1904 2 Dec 1904, North Queensland register published at Charters Towers of Nov 14 contains a one and 1/2 column report of an interview with a Mr Alex Dowker (look him up in shipping) who has just returned from Port Darwin in which that adventurous minor discourses on his experiences in the Northern Territory with a candid familiarity worthy of old Pepys. After giving a rather romantic version of the way in which Hang Gongs tin mine was discovered by an old Gin and stating so far nothing payable has been found outside the Hang Gongs claim, the report proceeds as follows... As the tin stuff is so shallow and so limited in extent, the cream has already been skimmed off the Hang Gong mine and unless something new turns up the visible deposits will be soon be exhausted... the proprietress of the claim are the Hang Gong family, scions of a one time Chinese storekeeper at Port Darwin who married a British matron. Hang Gong many years ago joined his ancestors and his widow chose another Celestial named Lee to whom she also bore a family. It is the male issue of this marriage who have had the good fortune to locate the rich tin. As an instance of the disturbing influences of wealth on manners and customs, Mr Dowker mentions that before the eldest son of the late lamented Hang Gong struck rich he wore a pig tail and favoured the countryman of his paternal relative; the rapid accumulation of money, however affected his view of the fashions and to the astonishment of the disciples of Confucious at Port Darwin he quickly discarded his pigtail, bought an immaculate Pee Wee hat and turned up his trousers at the bottom. This transition to a crooked handled cane flowered waistcoat and silver plated cigar holder is expected to be almost immediate. Mrs Hang Gong is also much in evidence; she is stout, hale and hearty and converses celestially as readily as in her mother tongue... Chinese Am... or the Dalar Lama are not in it... compared with Mrs Hang Gong at Palmerston. A great deal of prospecting has been done for tin for miles around with no success and with one exception above death with the tin mining industry in the Northern Territory is in a very bad way... ... Northern Territory Times goes on to deny many of the claims but says nothing about the details of Mrs Hang Gong etc.

1906 8 Dec 1906, Sarah is midwife to Granny Lum Loy's baby on goldfields... birth certificate has Gook Lin, mother Kim Choy, father Lim Louey, engineer, born at Boomlara...registered on 15 Jan 1907 in Darwin.

1904 2 March 1904 Mrs Lee Dep Darwin with Mrs G Tye with one child, on the ship Easter.

1905 2 March 1905 Arrives Darwin on the ship Australian Mrs Lee, from Southern Ports. N.T. Times 10-3-1905

1905 2 March 1905 Mrs S Lee Departs Darwin with A Hang Gong, Mrs A. Hang Gong and seven children, for Hong Kong. N.T. Times 10-3-1905

1905 23 March 1905 Mrs Lee departs Darwin on the ship Easter with one child for Southern Ports. N.T. Times 31-3-1905 20 June 1905 Mrs Lee arrives Darwin on the Eastern from Hong Kong. N.T. Times 23-6-1905

1905 7 July 1905 Delivered and registered birth of Charlie Houng On Yee Darwin (Birth Cert.)

1908 23 September 1908 Mrs Lee departs Darwin on the ship Taiyuan for Hong Kong. N.T. Times 23-9-1908

1908 24 October 1908 Mrs Lee arrives Darwin on the ship Taiyuan with Lee?, from Hong Kong N.T. Times 30-10-1908

1911 6 April 1911 Died Darwin, aged 69 Her death certificate says she was 72 at time of death, had been in Australia 50 years (making arrival in c 1861, age 17) died of chronic alcoholism, had 3 males, 2 females living and 2 males dead, says she was married age 25)

1911 Mrs Elizabeth Tye expresses thanks to people for kindness in death of her mother April 1911

1911 April 1911 Death notice, Buried Palmerston cemetery. (Photo of headstone)

Funeral of Mrs S. Lee Hang Gong , who died on 6th instance, took place on the afternoon of the same date. A number of relatives and friends of the deceased attended to pay this last tribute of respect and the service was read by the Rev. W E Godson.

1911 14 April 1911 ..Northern Territory Times, In Memorium. In memory of my dear mother, Sarah Lee Hang Gong, who died on 6 April 1911 after great suffering. released from sorrow, sin and pain and free from every care; By angels hands to heaven conveyed to rest for ever there. Inserted by her daughter and sons... Mrs Jane Elizabeth Tye has asked us to express her sincere and grateful thanks to the Church of England and minister and to all friends in Darwin for their kindness to her late mother during her recent fatal illness.

Media objectSarah Bowman's headstone
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Media objectSarah Bowman
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Media objectSarah Bowman
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