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13. Death and Funeral.

Quong Tart is dead. Such was the sad news whispered across the wires of the State on the 27th of July, 1903. By a life of integrity, unselfishness, and self-sacrificing toil, he won the esteem of everyone—his name being a household word throughout the whole land, and news of his death came as a great shock to all.

His illness was brief, lasting only a week. On Monday, suffering from the effects of a chill, he went to bed. Dr. Traill, of Burwood, his medical attendant, was summoned, and found that pleurisy existed, but he was not considered to be in danger. As the week wore on he took a decided turn for the worse, and at nine o'clock on Sunday night he passed away, death being due to failure of the heart's action. He was only fifty-three years of age.

As a citizen he took an active part in everything which was for the advancement of the country; as a philanthropist he gave lavishly of his abundance to all objects and institutions worthy of assistance; as a Christian he kept his life unsullied.

His life was instinct with the highest ideals, the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. In his belief in these he never wavered.

Thus, thinking of his fellows and whispering softly, “Abide with Me; fast falls the eventide,” the flood gates of the West gently closed and shut his life forever from our view.

The funeral took place two days later, the remains being interred in the Church of England section of the Necropolis, in the presence of a large attendance of all sections of the community, thus testifying to the esteem and respect in which he was held. An immense concourse of people assembled in the immediate vicinity of his late residence, “Gallop House,” Arthur Street, Ashfield, while the streets, through which the cortege passed on its way to the local railway station, were lined with spectators.

The approaches to the station were also thronged with people, the male portion of whom reverently uncovered their heads as the coffin was being carried from the hearse to the special train, which conveyed the funeral party to Rookwood.

The coffin in which the body, fully dressed in the costume of a Mandarin, was placed, was of lead, encased in a handsome

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casket of polished oak, with silver mountings, and bore the inscription—


Died 26th of July, 1903,

Aged 53 Years.

At Rest.

And on the lid was placed his Masonic Apron.

A brief service was held in the drawing-room by the Rev. Joseph Best, of St. James' Church, Croydon, and at 2.30 the cortage left “Gallop House” in the following order:–

The Professional Musicians Association Brass Band (specially engaged by the Lin Yik Tong Chinese Benevolent Society); about two hundred of his fellow countrymen; the hearse, drawn by four horses, containing the coffin; the carriage containing the floral emblems; the relatives of the deceased; the representatives of social and public bodies, and the general mourners.

As the cortage moved away, the band commenced Chopin's beautiful composition, “March Funebre,” which was continued until the railway station was reached.

Numbers of people proceeded by special and ordinary train to the Necropolis, Rookwood, and to the number of about fifteen hundred marched in procession to the grave, where Archdeacon Langley, assisted by the Revs. Joseph Best and Soo Hoo Ten read the burial service.

The Rev. Soo Hoo Ten read a portion of the service in Chinese, the Archdeacon delivered a brief and impressive address, and the Very Wor. Bro. F. R. Bretnall, Past Grand Registrar and Secretary of the Lodge Tranquility, to which Mr. Tart belonged, read the Masonic burial service, while about forty of the brethren of the Order stood round the grave in regalia, and at the close of the service paid the last token of respect by placing the sprigs of acacia on the coffin. The devotional proceedings were concluded with the singing of Mr. Tart's favourite hymn, “Abide with Me.”

Many hundreds of beautifully worded letters and telegrams of sympathy were received by the widow, amongst them being one from the State Governor, the late Sir Harry Rawson, and others from Sir William Lyne, Sir Edmund Barton (the Federal Premier), the Railway Commissioners, Mr. Justice Simpson, the Mayor and Aldermen of Ashfield, and old friends of Mr. Tart's.

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The chief Chinese merchants of the city closed their premises as a mark of respect, and the flag of the Ashfield Town Hall was flown half-mast.

His funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Sydney. Many came by special and other trains; great multitudes lined the streets and blocked the railway station. A great number of floral tributes were sent to lie upon the grave. The press spoke of him in feeling and commendatory terms.

The Sydney “Daily Telegraph”—“Few names were better known locally or more highly esteemed than that of deceased.”

The “Sydney Morning Herald”—“Mr. Tart was in the best sense of the word a good citizen. His assistance was always forthcoming for a good cause. Between the Chinese citizens and the general community he stood as a kind of connecting link, highly respected by both.”

The “Town and Country Journal”—“No more genuine or widespread regret probably would be occasioned by the news of the death of any citizen than will be caused by the announcement that Mr. Quong Tart, the popular Chinese merchant of Sydney, has joined the Great Majority. In losing Mr. Tart, Sydney has lost a citizen who has always acted up to citizenship in the highest sense of the word.”

Extract from “Evening News,” 5th August, 1903.

Mrs. Quong Tart has received messages from all parts of Australia, conveying the sympathy of the many friends of her late husband. The messages, which include letters and telegrams from all classes of the community, are so numerous that Mrs. Tart is unable to reply to them all except by a general message through the Press, and she has, therefore, requested the “Evening News” to express her grateful acknowledgment for those condolences, and for the many floral tributes which were also sent.

Return Thanks.

Mrs. Quong Tart, of “Gallop House,” Ashfield, desires to express her thanks for the many letters and telegrams of sympathy and floral tributes she has received on the death of her husband. Mr. Tart had so many friends in all parts of Australasia, and their generous messages of condolence have been so numerous that Mrs. Tart is unable to reply to them individually, and she hopes, therefore, that they will accept this as a grateful acknowledgment of their kind messages.

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This man's life and works recall Longfellow's memorable lines in the soul soothing and yet inspiring “Psalm of Life”—

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time—
Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.”


Alas, poor Quong! A man of sterling worth,
Though not of our nationality—proud of Chinese birth.
Honoured by his countrymen, and by his nation, too—
Mandarin of Crystal Button—respected, loved and true.
Erect a noble monument to make a noble fame,
To all alike, both rich and poor, he ever was the same.
God rest him and reward him with an everlasting name.


Sydney, 27th July, 1903.

The few words on his monument erected by his wife, read —“A true husband, father, and friend.—Greatly missed.”

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