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Jacjung, Lee Heng

East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
Chinese community leader, Digger, Interpreter and Shopkeeper

Lee Heng Jacjung was a forty-niner who sought his fortune in California, arriving there shortly after the first discoveries of gold. In 1855, he left for New South Wales to join the Australian rushes and, as a seasoned member of the gold-seeking generation, headed further south to the goldfields of Ballarat and Mount Alexander. Lee arrived on the Mount Alexander diggings equipped with an extensive knowledge of gold-seeking, good connections with the Chinese fraternal organisations that regulated and coordinated much of Chinese life in the new worlds, and possessing excellent bilingual skills. He became a miner, a shopkeeper, a government interpreter of Chinese, and a key figure in the Chinese community on the Mount Alexander Diggings. He followed subsequent gold rushes throughout the colony after getting into financial difficulties, and finally settled on a selection in far-east Gippsland, where he lived with his extended family until his death.

Keir Reeves

See also