Autobiography of Stanley Herbert Young

I was born in Glen Innes on 5th May 1905 at the residence in East Avenue. I am the second son of Mr Percy Sing Young and Mrs Ethel Young. Dr Wrigley was in attendance at the birth and Miss Legge was the midwife.

At the age of 4 years I travelled back by ship to China, a journey of approximately three weeks. We visited Shekki and the village of Wing Ho in Kwang Tung province. I remember my grandfather’s shipbuilding yards. When I was 6 years old I used to catch frogs in Tum Jay village.

On returning to Australia at the age of 6 years, I spent a period of time in quarantine in Sydney because of an outbreak of smallpox aboard the ship.

I commenced school at the Glen Innes primary school and later became a pupil at the New England Grammar School where I won several academic prizes. I studied Chinese with a Chinese tutor after normal school hours. If the Chinese tutor did not demand so much time to study Chinese, I feel I would have had more time to study English with better results for an academic career.

We resided in the house next door to Chaffeys garage. Also at the cottage behind Kwong Sing & Co. Then down to No. 9 East Avenue. This used to be used by the staff for accommodation and they then shifted to the cottage behind the shop.

Whilst the house at No. 11 was being built for Walter Gett and Harry Yee, I sustained a deep gash in my knee while climbing over a brick wall. The mark is still visible! Next to the cottage behind the store a two storied building was erected and the Chinese school had a room on the ground floor. Mr and Mrs Harry Yee lived on the top floor.

In my childhood days, my mother’s sister and niece lived with the family and helped with the domestic chores. I am the second son in a family of seven boys and three girls.

I left school at the age of 16 years and served as an apprentice for several months for Mr Madigan in his architect’s office in town. After this I commenced services at 16 years of age in S. Kwong Sing & Co with office cleaning, grocery, ‘back store’, produce store, menswear, drapery, hardware and showroom. It was a six and a half day working week. I advanced to departmental buyer in each department.

In 1924, Father retired and sold Kwong Sing & Co. to S.Kwong Sing & Co. Walter Gett was the manager. Father bought shares for Henry, my brother, and me in the new firm.

On father’s departure to Hong Kong in April 1926, I took over the management of his business affairs and property interests.

In March 1927, I left Glen Innes for a stay in Hong Kong. I continued Chinese studies with a private tutor. With a group of young friends including Herbie Chong, Arthur Wong Yee, Ernie Mew Lun, we enjoyed the Hong Kong social life. We visited villages in Kwang Tung traveling by rickshaw and sedan chair accompanied by body guards for protection against bandits.

I married Miss Grace Mew Loong in Shekki on December 2nd, 1927. The wedding reception was in Shekki and also in Hong Kong at the Hotel Marn Kwok. We returned to Australia in April 1928 and lived in West Avenue, Glen Innes. I resumed work in Kwong Sing & Co, my wage was £3/10/- a week with rent free in a house of Kwong Sing & Co.

A daughter, Valmai Grace Ethel was born on July 21st, 1929 and a son, Harvey Stanley, was born on May 10th 1932.

We left Glen Innes in 1933 to join my brother Henry in the store J. Wah Gow in Crown Street, Wollongong. A second daughter, Olma Marie, was born on December 1st, 1934.

We made a trip to Hong Kong with the family in 1936 for a six month holiday. We returned to Wollongong then left in 1939 for Glen Innes when father arrived back from Hong Kong and the family took over control of S. Kwong Sing & Co in Glen Innes once again.

A third daughter, Leona Barbara, was born on October 28th, 1940 and a second son, Barry Graham, on May 24th, 1948.

I became the manager of Kwong Sings in 1939. I paid £300 to give my wife, Grace, shares in Kwong Sing & Co.

My father died in 1942.

I have had several trips back to Hong Kong – 1911, 1927, 1936 and in 1957 my wife went to Hong Kong for Valmai’s wedding. In 1960 my wife and I had a cruise of 5 weeks to Rabaul, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore to visit Olma on the ‘Oronsay’. In 1966 I had a cruise on the ‘Orcades’ with Jack Lindsay and Fred Lamb to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Pago Pago and in 1971, Valmai, Leona and I went to Singapore and Malaysia and in 1986 my wife and I, together with Valmai, Harvey, Olma, Leona, Janine and Michelle ahd a trip to Hong Kong and Shekki.

This autobiography was written in 1989.