Joe Yow followed his uncle to find work in Hong Kong in the 1890s. This would be at the end of Qing dynasty, and Hong Kong had just been cited to the British. Cross border movement between China and Hong Kong was still relatively easy.
He worked in as a carpenter apprentice in his Uncle’s shop in the central district of Hong Kong. The shop made wooden chest and furniture for domestic purposes. The business has some connections to businesses in SE Asia, at that stage known as Amoy.
Stories were told of a bare foot young apprentice that worked hard and collected enough money to take a wife in China. Joe Yow married Ms Leung. He was given few days leave to travel to China, get married and return to work in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was an entrepot, and a staging town for Chinese migrants to ‘Gold fields’ (gold mountains) of California and Victoria. He had an option to try to make a better life overseas. With the choice of US, Australia and Canada, he asked advice of a fortune teller. His quest was done using a joss stick draw 求签. The result and his preference for a newer ‘less popular’ destination, lead him to Victoria, Australia. His passage was pay for by himself, and possibly with a little bit of help from his father. He would be in the mid teens when he arrived in Australia.