My name is Kira Brown, I’m a 5th generation Australian; Anglo-Celtic and Chinese on my mother’s side. On my fathers side Anglo-Celtic. I grew up in Coonabarabran in the North West of NSW surrounded by my mother’s extended Chinese family. They had a great influence on my development and stimulated a growing interest in exploring my Chinese ancestry. This awareness of my Chinese cultural background combined with my father’s strong interest in our family genealogy ignited my imagination and spurred me to investigate further.
After school, I studied Industrial Design at Newcastle University. I started my design career in Singapore working for a Chinese-owned business in the mid-1990s. At the end of the 90’s I settled in Orange NSW and started my own graphic and web design company.
My ongoing interest in family history was rekindled when I became the custodian of the Chinese family objects, documents, and ephemera. The historical background to these inherited things initiated a focus on my Chinese progenitor, Chen Quin Jack. He was my great great grandfather. He arrived in Australia in the early 1850s to seek his fortune on the goldfields at Ballarat and eventually settled in Tingha, northern NSW. My exploration into the significance of my collection led me to Quin Jack’s extended family and decedents down to my grandfather Trevor Jack and my close family.
Most people inherit something from their forebears but usually don’t ascribe any significance to these objects other than considering them as curiosities from the past. I have become increasingly aware of how important it is to investigate these things, and the benefits of this project have informed and enriched my own life. The direct results of my endeavours have coalesced in this presentation and it is my hope that it will be of use and benefit to others interested in unraveling the story of Chinese migration in Australia.