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Benjamin Ming Tung Chow interviewed by Diana Giese for the Post-war Chinese Australians oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 1816379
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Chow, Benjamin, 1946- interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research; written permission required for personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 1998 Apr. 23 
2 digital audio tapes (ca. 102 min.) 

Post-war Chinese Australians oral history project.


Chow, civil engineer and property developer, speaks of his family moving to Hong Kong in 1946 to escape the Communists; in 1962 attending Waverley College in Sydney; whilst at Sydney University he mixed socially in the student organisations and joined committees on the Hong Kong Students Association and the Sydney University Chinese Students Society; how he became President of the Overseas Students Council of N.S.W.; Vice-President of the Australian Organisations Coordinating Committee for Overseas Students (AOCOSS); how after graduating he got a job as a trainee with the Hooker Corporation for whom he still works, by 1972 he was a project manager creating suburbs in the outer parts of Sydney.

Chow discusses how Sydney regulations in the late 1960s produced uniform, sterile real estate property but by the 1970s allowed property development that is environmentally friendly and includes well-developed community services; notes the very big lifestyle change in Sydney in the 1990s where young adults are not getting married and prefer townhouses and units in the inner city from the earlier trend of marrying young, starting a family and buying a house in the suburbs; how cuts in immigration have drastically reduced demand for new housing which has a roll-on effect on other industries such as white goods and transport; his very strong belief in the need for Chinese Australians to participate in Australian politics such as Helen Sham-Ho who initiated a special branch of the Liberal Party in Sydney's Chinatown.

Chow talks of the need to attract young people into the Liberal Party, how politicians should make themselves more accessible to ethnic and racial groups in the community through which the Labor Party has already had some success; his views of Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney Henry Tsang who was also a foundation member of the Chinese Australian Forum; his belief that a cost-benefit analysis of immigration would assist in meeting marketplace demands; Phillip Ruddock, the Federal Immigration Minister; his explanation of the role of the Australian Chinese Community Association as primarily a welfare organisation providing migrant settlement services; the reasons for the unpopularity of John Howard with the Australian Chinese community.

Chow speaks about his reaction to the Pauline Hanson maiden speech with which is in general agreement with such as national service for the unemployed and Work for the Dole schemes; how Whitlam changed Australia from self-reliant to government-reliant in comparison with the Chinese community which relies on self and family and clan associations and their belief, like the Jewish community, in good education; how he was a foundation member of the Chinese Australian Forum based on a 1986 meeting 300 Chinese Australians to form a unified national organisation to lobby the governemt on their behalf but its membership has proven very divisive; how his own children are more international than Australian like himself and though aware of their family history choose not to socialise in Chinese or Asian circles and so are now fully integrated Australians.


Recorded on April 23, 1998.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Summary (5 p.) and corrected transcript (typescript, 48 leaves) available. 
Subjects Chow, Benjamin, 1946- -- Interviews.  |  Hooker Corporation -- Officials and employees.  |  Chinese -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Real estate developers -- New South Wales -- Sydney -- Interviews.  |  Civil engineers -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Chinese Australians -- Political aspects -- New South Wales -- Sydney.  |  Engineers -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Chinese Australians -- Interviews.
Occupation Engineers.
Other authors/contributors Giese, Diana, 1947- interviewer


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 3707
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 3707 (transcript)
    Copy: Transcript
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 3707 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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