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Sue Hoe ( - c. 1916)


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    Tong family, c. 21 June 1912, by Yeomans, 116 Bourke St, Melbourne, courtesy of S. Millard (private hands).

Hong Kong?
c. 1916
Alternative Names
  • Ah Tong Youk (also used)
  • Fouk Tong (also used)
  • Hue Sue (also used)
  • Sue Hoe (also used)
  • Tong, Mrs (married name)
  • Tue Hue (also used)
  • Youk Toong (also used)


It is difficult to identify Mrs Tong’s transliterated Chinese name from the English records available. This is complicated by the fact that Chinese women often kept their maiden name after they married but in Australia, where this was not the practice, they sometimes ended up using their husbands name (either given or surname) as well. Mrs Tong also appears to have called herself Youk (or Fouk) Tong (or Toon) and also Sue (or Tue) Hue (or Hoe). The name written on William Moy and Ethel Tong’s wedding certificate in 1927 was Sue Hoe.

Most records describe Sue Hoe as born in ‘China’, or on one birth certificate she is listed as born in ‘Canton, China’ in line with her husband. However Bow Jun’s (Elsie) birth certificate states ‘Hong Kong, China’, different from that of her husband. This difference and detail suggest this might actually be her birthplace. The age given on birth and marriage certificates however varies so significantly as to make it impossible to have any certainty of her year of birth.

It is not known exactly when she arrived in Australia. It was some time before 1900 when her first child, Bou Youk (Alice) was born, so possibly the late 1890s. The family believes she married Chin Tong in China in the 1890s. With Chin Tong, while living in a small home in Lacey Place, off Little Bourke Street in Melbourne she had eight children: Bou Youk/Alice (1900-), Bow Jun/Elsie (1902-c1912-16, Kay Sing/Willie (1903-), Boo Lan/Ethel (1906-1963), Bow Meu/Phyllis Edna (1910-c1912-1916), Chung Tee and two unnamed girls died at birth or as babies between 1900 and 1902.

While raising her family in Lacey Place, off Little Bourke Street, Sue Hoe appears to have developed friendships with several European women who worked for religious benevolent organisations in the area, such as Sarah Shaw of the Presbyterian Women’s Mission School, Sister Mary Emilie Anthoness of the Central Mission and Miss Pye from the Presbyterian Women’s Mission.

After her husband died in 1912 Sue Hoe returned to China (possibly Hong Kong) with her five children. Some time between their departure from Australia in 1912 and Bou Youk/Alice’s return to Australia in 1916 she died along with Bow Jun/Elsie and Bow Meu/Phyllis Edna. Her children surviving children were then placed under the guardianship of Chin Wah Moon, a Little Bourke Street herbalist and merchant.

Sources used to compile this entry: Victorian births, deaths and marriages; NAA(Vic), B13/0, 1920/13667; Oral history interview with Marjorie Law, 24 August 1999.

Prepared by: Sophie Couchman, La Trobe University

Published Resources

Journal Articles

  • Couchman, Sophie, ''Oh, I would like to see Maggie Moore again': Selected women of Melbourne's Chinatown', After the Rush: Regulation, Partcipation, and Chinese Communities in Australia 1860-1840 (Otherland Literary Journal), vol. 9, 2004, pp. 171-190. Details


Tong family
c. 21 June 1912
Australia - Victoria - Melbourne