Gone are the sounds of a busy community - no steaming pork at
festivals, no clatter of drays full of maize, nor the crack of the teamsters’
whips. While little of Chinatown remains to be seen, the memories linger.
The Temple of Hou Wang still fulfils one of its official roles
– a place where the ancestors are venerated.
Beneath the grass lies the archaeological story, and in the archives and
the minds of descendants and neighbours, lie what remains of those challenging
Through the work of archaeologists and historians, the museum
at Atherton Chinatown brings together stories of the community that once
Names like See Poy, Jue Sue, Gee Kee, Fong On, Low Choy and
others, are an integral part of North Queensland history. Through a series
of interactive multimedia displays, guided tours and exhibits, their stories
are brought to life.
A visit to Atherton Chinatown includes:
• Chinatown museum: interactive diplays, oral histories and artefacts
recovered from the Chinatown site
• 30 minute guided tour of Hou
Wang Temple and Meeting Hall
• Chinatown gift shop
restoration of chinatown
Atherton Chinatown is a rich source of history. The entire area
is heritage listed as a significant archaeological site.
During 2000 - 2002 Atherton Chinatown was the focus of a
conservation and interpretation project funded by the Queensland Heritage
A total of $1.3 million was spent restoring the temple complex and
developing the interpretive centre.
Atherton Chinatown has received the 2003 National Trust of Queensland Gold
Award for excellence in cultural tourism.
Atherton Chinatown has received the 2003 Tropical North
Queensland award for New Tourism Development.
In order to help care for the Temple, the Friends of
Hou Wang Temple was formed in 1995. With the completion of conservation,
this group disbanded and has since formed the Tablelands branch of the
National Trust of Queensland.
Enthusiastic members, have spent many hours as volunteer
conservators, guides and custodians.