Weldborough Joss House in 1914

 
 

 

Weldborough Joss House

 

Weldborough Joss House was erected in c.1880 when Weldborough was the main regional centre serving a population of 500-1000 Chinese.    The Chinese population diminished on the tinfields c. 1910-1920 due to the decline in tin mining, restrictive immigration and old age.

 

By c.1930 only one full Chinese, Hee Jarm, remained at Weldborough.    He became the caretaker of the Joss House and fearing of its safety appealed to James Chung-Gon of Launceston for assistance.  Between them and the cooperation of the Launceston City Council in 1934 the contents of the Joss House were transported to the Launceston Museum where it continued to function as a place of worship as well as a museum exhibit.  

 

The Joss House was a weatherboard building with a corrugated iron roof and a large open sided covered area in front of the entrance but there is no record of the building being survived but only a sketched of the Joss House (below) that has been drawn from descriptions and dimensions given by first-hand oral sources.    This site was significant as it is the most important Joss House in the North East and for its relationship with the collection in the Queen Victoria Museum.

 

The Joss House is a place of worhip which was integral to the Chinese way of life in Tasmania and there were at least five Joss Houses in the North east but the one at Weldborough was the longest lived.     

_______________________________________________________________________

Artlcle taken from:  "Tasmaia's Chinese Heritage: An Historical Record of Chinese Sites in Norht East Tasmania" 

byHelen Vivian 

Australian Heritage Commission

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

1985