25 August, 2020
Celebrating Cassowary Coast's Chinese History
A tropical melting pot of cultural influences, the Cassowary Coast once featured a thriving Chinatown whose history is celebrated in Innisfail’s Lit Sing Gung Temple.
The prominent red and gold coloured Temple in Innisfail’s Owen Street was completed in January 1941, replacing an earlier Temple which was built by Tom See Poy in 1886 as a place of Confucian-based worship and traditional family culture.
To celebrate its significance to the region, Council has collaborated with the Innisfail Chinese Community Ltd to enhance its profile by funding two new signs, welcoming visitors to experience the Temple.
Cassowary Coast Regional Councillor for Planning and Regional Development, Nick Pervan encouraged both residents and visitors alike to take the time to experience the historically significant Temple.
“We have a long and rich Chinese heritage dating back to the late 1800’s when the Chinese came from Cooktown and the Palmer River Goldfields to start banana farming, sugar cane, fruit and vegetable farming, as well as general merchandising and servicing,” said Cr. Pervan.
“The Lit Sing Gung Temple is a hidden gem located right in the heart of our central business district, and it plays an important role in the fabric of the town”.
The Innisfail and District Historical Society’s Museum at 3 Edith Street houses See Poy’s personal collection of photographs, clothes and original shop fittings from the family’s Innisfail store in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Innisfail Chinese Community Ltd President, Allen Judson was delighted to receive the new signs.
“Many people don’t realise that our Temple is open to visitors, and these signs will help us to show that we welcome everyone to soothe their spirit in our Temple’s peaceful energy, and learn our multi-cultural history,” said Mr Judson.
“People of all faiths and ethnicity are welcome to enter the Temple to worship, meditate, pray and to reflect on their path through life.”
The Chinese Lunar New Year and Moon festivals are celebrated at Lit Sing Gung Temple with the Dragon and Lions parades for good weather, prosperity and health and safety for everybody.
Behind the Temple is a Community Area which is opened up (in normal times) for visitors, small groups of varying ages and particularly for school groups as arranged with the President and Committee. It houses the Temple’s Dragon and Lions and also the original wooden Blessing Boards from the 19th Century Temple.
For further information go to their website.