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Choie Sew Hoy's Story 徐公肇開奮鬥史

序 Prologue

Generation 29
金玉 (Kum Yok)
金培 (Kum Poy)
齊美 (Chay May)
齊好(Chay Ho)
金鳳 (Violet Eliza)
金龍 (Henry William)

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Choie Sew Hoy in his mandarin's robes

徐公肇開,農家子、鑒於鄉人中有由金山回來的大都建有新居,買田置產、營生意、心竊慕之。因就隨同當時前往舊金山的淘金者到美國去。他到了 那裡看過情況後就認為很難致富。於是又轉到了澳州的新金山去,在維多利亞 (VICTORIA) 礦區觀察了一個時期,覺得淘金這一行業祇靠雙手勞動,如 非幸運所獲亦無多,心想不若營商吧,因之就在墨爾本開設了商店。但仍不甚理想,又隨同那時由維多利亞轉來紐西蘭淘金的華人,於一八六九年來到 了丹衣頓 (DUNEDIN)。他的目光銳利,一看情形便知事有可為。原來他先前所到過的新舊金山華人礦工們,大多是四邑人士,而當時在歐他高 (OTAGO) 的華人礦工卻以禺北人為多,有了鄉親的關係,作起事來就比較容易得多,遂在丹衣頓 (DUNEDIN) 先開一商店,銷售糧食和礦工用具,為便於新到的鄉親們需要,有時還信用地讓所需的人先取貨,日後才清算所欠,因此就贏得了鄉親們的敬仰。他的連鎖店曾一度遍佈歐他高 (OTAGO) 各大礦區,他設在丹衣頓 DUNEDIN,STAFFORD STREET,的總店則一直延至今天。他較早時期也曾出口木耳到香港和廣州去,但以所在地離生產區較遠,收購不易,所以辦 出口的不多,就少為人知吧了。

他沒有滿足於目前的小成就,時刻想著發展之策;他常到礦區裡銷售貨物,看見礦工的鄉親們雖是勞苦點,但仍是有所獲的;而他們祇不過是用雙 手,若用了機械來代替人力,豈不是更有效率?於是就把眼光轉到機械淘金裡去。在他留心觀察之下,終於認實掏海的挖泥機可以向河坑裏被水淹浸下 的河底進行淘金。決定了,他就在一八八零年組織公司,組成後則定製機器并選擇地區。該公司選定在 SHOTOVER 河裡一屬名為大沙灘 (BIG BEACH) 為礦場,所以就名為大沙灘金礦公司。 (BIG BEACH MINING COMPANY) 採用斛斗式 (BUCKET TYPE) 的挖泥機淘金。其實當時己有幾間公司使用機械淘金的,不過形式上和種類各有不同吧了。大沙灘礦公司經多年之研究,終於在一八八九年一月試機,同年四月正式投入生產,位在 ARTHUR POINT 橋的南邊,是 QUEENSTOWN – ARROWTOWN 大道所經。那條河灘水面數尺下的淤積層中就聚有黃金。早於一八七零年間,這塊地方本就有中國人以 SAN SING TON COMPANY 名義批下來的了,亦曾先後有過若干團隊的西人開採過。大沙灘公司這次開採進行很順利,有時在淘過了的泥土又再淘上一次,更比第一 次淘得還多,據說;當時這礦場每天就淘得了價值四十英鎊的金。消息傳出後至是年六月間就形成了機械淘金的高潮,而大沙灘公司又一直保持良好的 成績,至此該公司所採用的斛斗式機,在當時歐他高 (OTAGO) 地區裡壹百七十餘部淘金機中還是最成功的一種。由這我們可以確切知道了中國人的智慧 和科學頭腦,絕不亞於世界上任何國度或種族的人。

Eliza Sew Hoy (nee Prescott) 1869-1909, and her children Violet (1892-1972) and Henry (1895-1970) Sew Hoy. Eliza widow clothing suggests the photo may have been taken at the time of Choie Sew Hoy death in Dunedin in 1901

大沙灘金礦公司到一八九八年時,已挖掘到深入離水面下十五公尺,那時挖泥機已是深不能及,遂把機械轉賣給別人,也結束了業務。

大沙灘公司結束後,徐肇開繼而組織另一用水壓力沖洗淘金公司,名為 NOKOMAI HYDRAULIC SLUICING COMPANY 不消說,他是最大的股東,自然也是他來領導,用上了他的次子金培為秘書協助處理。這公司由一八九八年在 GARSTON 開採,到一九二六年又移到 LOIN FLAT 近 NOKOMAI STATION 的地面上去,在那裡直幹到一九四二年藏金量漸少,已無利可圖才歇業。

引水加壓力沖洗淘金,工程是相當浩大的。該公司用上了有經驗的歐人和華工、修築了一條長程三十二公里的渠道,(後來延伸到八十三公里) 由 NEVIS RIVER上游引水到礦場使用,這綿長宛近山嶺間的水道,要派人日夜不停地沿線巡邏?。以防洩水而導至水堤崩潰,而全程卻衹有數名華工分工處 理。筆者早年曾和一位看過水龍的人談過,(看水龍人,就是沿水線行的巡邏者) 他說:將這水道分作若干段,每段一人管理,有小房子一間,為看管的 人起居住處,設有電話以方便聯絡之用。看管人於每隔一定時間中,就得沿水道前行巡察,必要與對面前來的同工在指定的地點相遇,然後作回程,回 到小房子後小歇又到另一方向行去,也亦如之,日夜不停,風雨霜雪無間,晚上則提「馬房燈」(燃油料的玻璃罩燈) 與偕,如於指定地點沒有遇上對面行來的人,則要繼續前行,務求相遇以了解真相,概恐有意外發生。據聞:這份工作大多數的人是幹不多久的,因長期孤獨地住在人跡罕有的山野間, 這種寂寞感實在是教人難受的。

肇開公除了貫注精神於事業外,也兼顧到鄉情與僑情,一八八二年間,他曾以最高的捐款數額 (四十英鎊) 倡議成立「昌善堂」。這個組織是專為番(番禺),花(花縣),從(從化)等地華僑骸骨運回祖國安葬的,總堂在禺北江高鎮高唐街,置有產業以維用度;當先友骸骨運抵總堂時,就派人尋訪先友 骸骨中之所承親人,知領回安葬,并給予奠儀葬費俾能達入土為安之義。舊時代華僑的思想,老死異鄉仍以歸葬本土為安;昌善堂在紐西蘭,每隔十五 年就掘拾先友骸骨一次,運回故鄉安葬。那次共捐得義款四千英鎊,而掘起的骸骨則有五百具之數,以歐他高 (OTAGO) 和西海岸 (WEST COAST) 二地掘起者為多。一九零一年徐肇開不幸去世。一九零二年昌義堂運先友骸骨回籍時,那艘 S S VENTNOR 船上就同時載有徐肇開的遺體,不幸的 S S VENTNOR 船那次途徑 HOKIANGA 外海時觸礁沉沒了,噩耗傳到了金培耳裏,他就迅速僱船打撈,結果非常失望!衹有十具棺木沖洗到岸邊,餘皆杳然。事後昌義 堂也曾得到了保險公司的賠償,後來番花會館購置會所的款項中就有當年那些賠款在內。從那次以後,昌善堂就沒有再運先友骸骨回籍之舉。

在新西蘭箭城(Arrow town)博物管介紹了不少肇開公及其早年華僑的事跡, 各位有機會可以去參觀參觀,領略一下早期華僑的生活.


Choie Sew Hoy & Eliza Prescott late 1880s

Choie Sew Hoy's Story:

Born in 1838, the son of a farmer, Choie Sew Hoy was raised in his ancestral village of Sha Kong (She Gang) [Altar Hill]. Sha Kong, which then had only about 200 inhabitants, is 20 km north of Canton (Guangzhou) in the Upper Panyu (Poon Yue) district of Kwangtung (Guangdong) Province in China.

After gold was found in California, Australia and New Zealand, many families in Cantonese villages sent young men out to the Gold Mountain?to earn money for the family. They often went in family or regional groups, so that there was a constant stream of young Chinese men setting out and returning across the Pacific. As a young man Choie Sew Hoy first went to the goldfields of California where he worked as a miner and then to Victoria where he set up as a merchant.

In 1865 the Otago Provincial Council invited the Chinese miners of Victoria to come to the Otago goldfields. Choie Sew Hoy arrived in Otago in 1868 and set up business in Stafford Street as a merchant, supplying miners and goldfield traders. He imported goods, outfitted miners, exported fungus [muk yee] and invested widely in gold mining and water-race construction. His two sons Kum Yok and Kum Poy both came out to Otago to join their father in this family enterprise.

Sew Hoy Building Stafford street, Dunedin (with original frontage) in1938. The sigh shown on the cover of this book is hang to the left of the door. The door signs read "Sew Hoy" and "Nokomai Mining Company".
位于Stafford street, Dunedin的肇開大樓, 大門左上角掛著的正是本族譜用來作封面招牌

Choie Sew Hoy had eleven major gold mining operations, including parts of the Shotover River, and the Queen Victoria quartz mine at Macetown. In 1888 one of Choie Sew Hoy's companies built the world first successful gold dredge, to work his Big Beach claim on the Shotover River near Queenstown in Central Otago. His four dredges were the first to be able to work river flats, and could earn up to £40 a day. This revolutionised gold mining methods and started the first Otago dredging boom, using dredges based on the Sew Hoy design.

In 1894 Choie Sew Hoy and Kum Poy used their hydraulic mining experience to begin the huge Nokomai hydraulic elevating and sluicing operation in Southland. This mine became the biggest of its type in New Zealand.

Choie Sew Hoy was naturalised in 1873 and became a notable figure in both European and Chinese circles. He gave widely to charity, regularly attended race meetings and was a Freemason. He was one of the Dunedin commercial leaders who marched in William Larnach's funeral procession, campaigned to end the opium trade, and signed the illuminated address of welcome to the visiting Governor, Sir James Fergusson. By 1882 he owned freehold land in Otago and Southland worth £4,432.

The daughter of Choie Sew Hoy's dredge-master recalled him as "a well-dressed, kind gentleman who always brought gifts and sweets for her family", while his 1901 obituary in the Otago Daily Times referred to "his reputation for upright and honourable dealing".

Sew Hoy dredge built in 1888, on Shotover River

這是一封寄給肇開公的信,信封只寫肇開 Dunedin(市名), 一封只寫姓名及市名的信都可以順利寄到的信, 相信肇開公司當時都頗具規模.

Choie Sew Hoy was fluent in English and signed his English letters "Sew Hoy". This was mistaken for his family name and he became known to Europeans in New Zealand as "Mr Sew Hoy" and "Charles Sew Hoy".

Choie Sew Hoy had four children by his first wife, Young Soy May. There were two daughters, Choie Chay Ho and Choie Chay May, and two sons. The two sons were Choie Kum Yok [Golden Jade] 1855-1932 and Choie Kum Poy [Golden Upholder]

Choie Sew Hoy had two children by his second wife, the New Zealand-born Eliza Prescott (1869-1909), who had worked for him as an English secretary. They were Violet Eliza Kum Fon [Golden Phoenix] Sew Hoy, born in 1892, and Henry William Kum Loon [Golden Dragon] Sew Hoy, born in 1895.

Choie Sew Hoy's house in China

Choie Sew Hoy was always concerned for the welfare of people from the Pan Yu and he was a leading member of the Cheong Shing Tong - the welfare group which cared for the poor and elderly among them. It operated from his store in Stafford Street. In 1883 Choie Sew Hoy helped organise the sending of the bodies of 230 miners back to China for burial at ancestral sites. He died in 1901 and unfortunately his own body was part of a second shipment of 498 former miners, which was lost at sea, when the Ventnor sank off Hokianga in 1902. Choie Sew Hoy's biographer Dr James Ng notes,"It is still remembered, however, that he wished to be buried in the Cheong Shing Tong's cemetery in Upper Panyu, with the bodies of otherwise friendless former associates buried around him."

By the start of the 21st Century Choie Sew Hoy had well over four hundred direct descendants, not only in China and New Zealand but also spread around the world.

 

Sources:
- Windows on a Chinese Past, vols 1-4, by Dr James Ng, Otago Heritage Press, Dunedin, 1993-1999.
- Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, ed by Jane Thomson, Longacre Press, Dunedin, 1998.