Parramatta's Chinese history explored

THE history of Chinese people in Parramatta will be unravelled when Celestial City: Sydney's Chinese Story opens on March 29.

The Museum of Sydney exhibition will shine a spotlight on the Chinese communities of Sydney from 1840 to 1901, including the life of Ah Poo, a gold miner and later a market gardener at North Parramatta's Rocky Hall Estate.

"I have two ancestors in the exhibition," Brad Powe, Ah Poo's great-great-grandson, said.

"Ah Poo, later known as George Harper, was the first to arrive in Australia."

Mr Powe, 53, contributed family records to the exhibition including Ah Poo's 1862 gold mining certificate and a photo with his large family taken in the 1890s at the Globe Photographic Studios at Church Street, Parramatta.

Ah Poo's daughter and Powe's grandmother, Lily May, was married in 1896 at St John's Church, Parramatta, in what was described as a "fashionable Chinese wedding".

Curator for Sydney Living Museums Nicola Teffer said the exhibition would offer a glimpse of the vibrancy of Sydney's Chinese culture.

"The stories of people like Ah Poo show that the Chinese weren't just centred in the city, or Chinatown. We wanted to show there were Chinese people all over the city. It's a story for all of Sydney."

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