Sing, Sing and Sun, Sun shared the block

Sing, Sing and Sun, Sun shared the block

Some older Tenterfieldians will remember shopping at Sing, Sing & Co, and others at Sun, Sun & Co.

Actually they were two distinct businesses with their buildings still standing side-by-side on Rouse Street, but there was a family connection. Sing, Sing & Co is among the eight buildings to be the first to get the National Monument Project treatment.

Project advocate Robert Perry said the Chinese families of New England were all very close to one another in that era.

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Sing Sing & Co was built in 1914 by Tommy Wong Young, being 327 and 333 Rouse Street (where the Tenterfield Laundrette and Tenterfield Homemakers is now). Tommy also built the original Lyric Theatre next door, which was burned down in the 1920s and re-built in its current Art Deco style in the 1930s.

Tommy was only 30 when he built the project. He sold his business and moved to Stanthorpe in 1926, and then on to various other towns and enterprises.

"I gather World War 1 dampened his business in Tenterfield, having opened in 1914," Mr Perry said.

Tommy's eldest daughter Hazel, who was born in Tenterfield in 1914, married Eric, the eldest son of the Hons from Glen Innes, in 1935.

Eric, Tommy's future son-in-law, had been sent to Tenterfield from Glen Innes when he was 15 to open Sun Sun & Co. It was located at 297 Rouse Street where Frank's Furniture is now.

Eric's sisters ran Sun Sun's for 50 years from 1924 to 1974, focusing all of their energies and money on their youngest brother Edward becoming a doctor, with great success.

Edward Hon went on to become graduate of Yale and inventor of the foetal heart monitor.

Photographs of Sing Sing & Co were supplied to the National Monument Association by Kelvin Hon, Eric and Hazel's son and Tommy's grandson, along with a biography of Tommy and his wife Amy.

Tommy was born in 1885 in Sydney, but went to China as a two-year-old. In 1898 as a 13-year-old he returned to Australia and lived in Glen Innes, working at Kwong Sings.

In 1908 he again travels to China where he marries Australian-born Amy Ung Quay. He returns to Australia while Amy remains with her mother-in-law.

In 1911 he begins discussions to establish Sing Sing & Co and the couple are reunited in 1913 and Hazel is born the following year, in Tenterfield.

In 1915 tenders to build the new store are sought, with Mr H Cooper's bid of 1299 pounds accepted. The store opens for business on February 12, 1916, and the couple go on to have more children.

The Sing Sing & Co building was sold to the Tenterfield Co-Op society in February, 1920 for 4175 pounds and the following year the family moved to Stanthorpe where Tommy opened another store.