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Acoy, James ( - 1879)

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
Businessman, Chinese community leader and Interpreter

Born in Macau, James Acoy arrived in Sydney in 1852. The following year he caught a steamer to the colony of Victoria and promptly made his way to the Mount Alexander diggings where, it is likely, he engaged briefly in alluvial mining before becoming a butcher at the Fryer’s Creek diggings. He was soon engaged by the Chinese diggers at Forest Creek to act as an interpreter; this role was formalised by the colonial administration when the Victorian government officially employed him as a court interpreter. Acoy was well respected as a leader of the Chinese community and also proved to be a successful businessman, accumulating considerable wealth and property over the course of his life. Interestingly, as it was unusual for a member of the Chinese community to be a Christian, after his death, in 1879, he was buried with full Catholic rites in the Castlemaine cemetery.

Keir Reeves

Mount Alexander Mail, 31 March 1879. Details