The Society from what I could gather was formed somwhere around the 1970s. The first President was probably Alec Fong Lim who was to become the Second Chinese Lord Mayor of Darwin later on ; the first being Harry Chan of course ;(So his daughter Katrina Fong Lim who is also our current Lord Mayor claimed). His wife Norma Fong Lim was given a life Membership by the Society for the contribution they made to the Society.
After Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin in 1974, I arrived from Western Australia to help in its reconstruction having just graduated from the Uni of WA Dental Faculty. Around 1977 or 8 I recalled Vice Chancellor Professor Thompson and Pro VC David Price from the Uni of NT called a meeting to restart the Society again to meet its aims and objectives of promoting friendship between people of Australia and China. The Society was quite small then as most of the people were still scattered all over Australia with many never to return to Darwin after the horrific experience. Many were still busy building their houses or business after the devastation . The Society however struggled on with social functions, Chinese New Year Celebrations, Moon Festivals and National Day celebrations attracting more members progressively.
Lady Jessie Kearney (Wife of Sir William Kearney a Supreme Court Judge) took over the rein around 1980 -85 and these were the golden years of the Society as she was a dynamic person with great charisma attracting many new members. The tours to China were always full and the Society made lots of money from the tours as the Society profits from a surcharge from sale of the tickets.( The ACFS by then had a monopoly). We had lots of activities like picnics at Lake Alexander, BBq for overseas students, and functions at the Kearney’s residence in Fannie Bay. Anna Li was to become the next President and she was the wife of Dr. Li Chin Seng of the Berrimah Research Farm. Anna was instrumental in organising school trips to China for Darwin high School students as she was teaching Mandarin at the Chung Wah Society and Darwin Institute of Technology .She also started a kindergarten /pre school in her native state of JeJiang Province in China in memory of her father in later years despite her health.
His Honour Austin Asche AC QC Ex Administrator of NT and Freeman of City of Darwin and Chief Justice was our next President. With his wife Dr. Val Asche who was the Head of the Manzies School of Research attached to the NTU then ,they promoted the Society to Higher Academic and professional people. The committee consisted of Bill Tingapple, Howard Chew, Dr. and Mrs KC lee the Dermatologist from Royal Darwin Hospital, myslf, Bill and Jessy Kearney, Bob and Kay Sanders etc. After Austin we had Dr. KC Lee and then Howard Chew who was instrumental in incorporating the Society in the NT. We also had some great fund raising functions to raise money for the victims of the disastrous flooding at the Yang Tze around the 1997-8. The Society raised $10000 and it was sent via the Red Cross (where com Member Pip Bremner was working )to the victims of the floods. We also organised the first National Conference in Darwin successfully during Howards times which was quite an achievement considering we only had a small committee.
Myself became the next President in 1998 and organised a big dinner concert at the NTU for celebrating the 50th National Day since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China.We invited the the Ambassador Mr. Zhou Weng Zhong but he was not available and sent his deputy MR. Jiang Zun Sai instead. We invited 2 top opera singers Wang Wen and Qu Dong Mei from HeilongJiang to perform and we successfully raised much funds for the Society on this occasion. Jeff Emmell our National President also came up from South Australia for this occassion. Next we had DR. Fred Mitchell followed by Bill Van Der veen as Presidents around 2000-2008 after which I was reelected till 2012 when Shu Li took over with her enthusistic Dancing Troupes dancing in many functions all over town giving great publicity to our ACFSNT.
-Chaplin Hsiong Z Y
Vice-President ACFS NT