90By the 1960s it was clear the burial plot had become dilapidated. One contributing factor may be some of the buried has no surviving decedents, those graves would not have been maintained.
An example of poorly maintained Chinese burial plot
In 1971, the Melbourne General Cemetery authority raised the issue to the Chinese community, asking for repair or remedial work to be done. At the time the centre of Chinese community was in Little Bourke street.
A Melbourne General Cemetery-Chinese cemetery redevelopment committee was formed, to raise funds and redevelop the site. The committee campaigned and raised funds from leaders and commercial businesses in China town. It oversaw the reconstruction of the burial site.
The committee treasurer was Lau Son Yew 劉新耀 with auditor Chan Wah Yueng 陳華穰.
The reconstruction work started in late 1971, and was completed 1973 at a cost of around $6,000.
The committee the society also funded the restoration of an older momentum (stele) in the southern side of the cemetery.
The work was contracted to George Dawes, 621 Rathdowne Street. The stone mason, George Dawes is now part of Cameo Memorials of Fawkner.
A glimpse of China town in 1970s
In 1972 over $9,000 was collected from 125 individuals, restaurants and social clubs. A summary list of the donors is tabled below.
It was believed that majority of those buried in the Chinese plot were from SeeYup county (especially Toishan area). Therefore a fair portion of the donations came from individual and restaurants with a SeeYup heritage.
This list of donors also provided a glimpse of those who were active in the Melbourne Chinese community in the 1970s.
The majorities of donations came from individuals. The average donations amount is between $10 and $20 dollars. However, there were ten individuals with $100-$300 donations.
The number of donations are tallied by family names
Loeuy 雷 17
Chan 陳 20
Poon 潘 8
Leung 梁 8
Lau 劉 9
There were seven Village/Clan societies. These are benevolent societies set up clansman and people from same village or county. These included
SeeYup society 四邑會館
Ning Yeung society 寕陽會館
Kong Chau society 岡州同鄉會
Nam Poon Sung society 南番順會館
Yen Ping society 恩平同鄉會
Ming Yee Tong 名義堂
Two entertainment club made the donors list . These are
Sheng Lei entertainment club 上利俱樂部
New Shanghai entertainment club 新上海俱樂部
Masonic lodge 洪門民治黨
Chung Wah society 中華會館
Chung Wah commercial society 中華總商會
KMT, Australian Victorian branch 中國國民黨
Restaurants and grocery suppliers
There were 5 restaurants and a grocery supplier on the donor list. Most of these are no longer operating today. Wing Loong restaurant is the exception. The business is under new management, and operates four branches in the Melbourne Chinatown in 2016.
Wong Sheng Kee 王湘記飯店
Wing Lung restaurant 永隆餐室
Empress of China 帝后酒家
Louey Yan café 雷恩飯店
Chung Yueng restaurant 中央酒家
Wing Ying Cheung grocery 榮英祥寶號