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Oral History

Four Australians recall their experiences in China in the early to mid-twentieth century. 

William Liu (1893–1983) 

William Joseph Lumb Liu, businessman and Chinese community leader, was born in Sydney on 29 January 1893. In 1900 he travelled to China to study in his father’s village in Taishan county, Guangdong province, where he was to live for eight years. 

Listen to the full interview with William Liu.

Charles Patrick FitzGerald (1902–1992)

A noted scholar of China, Professor Charles FitzGerald first visited China in 1923. His China: A Short Cultural History was first published in 1935, and in 1954 he became Foundation Professor of the Department of Far Eastern History at the Australian National University.

Listen to the full interview with Charles FitzGerald.

Marjorie Stuckey (1918–2012) 

Marjorie Stuckey (nee Pennell) was born in China to English and Russian parents. She spent her childhood in Tientsin (Tianjin) and Peking (Beijing). She was interned by the Japanese during World War II before settling in Melbourne in the 1940s.

The full interview with Marjorie Stuckey can be accessed at the National Library.

William Hamilton (b. 1919)

William Stenhouse Hamilton worked as an officer at the Australian embassy in Nanking (Nanjing) from 1947 to 1949, just prior to the founding of the People’s Republic. 

The video footage of William Hamilton is available in our collection.

Many images in this presentation are from a collection of photographs taken in China in the 1920s by Stanley O. Gregory, held in our Pictures collection.