Although Young Ping was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1860, his family were likely of Chinese origin.2 Ping came to Australia in 1879 aboard an American mail boat.3 By the 1880s he was working as a gardener at Tahlee House which had once been the headquarters of the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo). In 1880 Robert Hoddle Driberg White, a banker and politician, purchased Tahlee House and restored the property creating an extravagant retreat complete with ballroom, tennis courts and gardens. Ping would certainly have been involved in the care of these renowned gardens.4
White also restored the convict-built St Andrew’s Church of England at nearby Carrington in 1888.5 It was in this church a year later that Ping married Emily Dates. Emily was a young Aboriginal woman working as a domestic at Limeburners Creek.6 Her father was of English heritage, her mother was Worimi.7 Young and Emily had six children: Selina, William, Feasia, Maud, Mary and Joseph.8
In 1900, tragedy struck the family. Ping, who was at that stage living at Karuah with his family, died suddenly at Sawyer’s Point. A coroner’s inquest found his death was due to a ruptured blood vessel on the lungs.9 He was just 40 years old. After his death three of Ping’s children were placed under the care of the mission station at Karuah.10 Young and Emily Ping’s descendants are still a well-known family throughout the MidCoast region.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Conrad Martens, Album of pencil sketches, ca 1828-1860, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW.
2 ‘Ping’ being a Chinese name rather than Japanese. DNA results from descendants indicate Chinese rather than Japanese heritage (Karen Christie entry on Ancestry.com); Lawrence Joseph Perry, Mission Impossible: Aboriginal survival before, during and after the Aboriginal Protection Era, Thesis for PhD at University of Newcastle, 2013.
3 Ancestry.com. NSW State Archives, Registers of Certificates of Naturalization, 1849-1859 and 1876-1903; NRS 1040; Roll: 134.
4 Findmypast.com.au. NSWSA, NSW 1891 census; NRS 683, film numbers 2510-2545; Carolyn Theobald, A place called Tahlee: A short historical narrative covering the fascinating history of Tahlee, Port Stephens, since 1826.Tahlee Ministries: 2004; Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 23 August 1888.
5 Carolyn Theobald, A place called Tahlee.
6 NSW BDM, Marriage transcript for Young Ping and Emily Dates, 1889, No. 4663.
7 Newcastle Sun, 14 December 1918, 3.
8 Various birth index records from NSW BDM, 1890-1900.
9 Ancestry.com. NSWSA, Registers of Coroners’ Inquests, 1821-1942, Series: 225; Item: 7937; Roll: 343.
10 Newcastle Sun, 14 December 1918, 3; Dungog Chronicle: Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, 14 October 1932, 4.