|Country of Origin||Ha Wang Chun, Wang Sui Heung, Toishan, China|
|Date of Birth||Dec 7,1882|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1898|
|Submitted by||Peter Liu OAM|
The remarkable stories of Lew Nam and his son Dr Eddie Liu OAM, OBE, Hon.D. Qld Univ. Part 6.
Eddie was a proud Chinese Australian who grossly resented the Japanese attacks and war crimes. Eddie’s determination, commitment, charismatic personality, people management skills and passion for achievement made his project an early success for the war effort. By this time Eddie had a wife and first-born child but, when he moved from Melbourne to Brisbane, he was not able to bring his wife and baby daughter because of stringent wartime travel restrictions.
Eddie had just turned 21 and had the weight of responsibility on his shoulders for the productivity and supervision of 2,000 Chinese workers. As fast as the barges were made, the Japanese forces were sinking them!
Thirty years later, Eddie and his son, Peter, visited some of the beaches and rivers in Papua New Guinea where thousands of soldiers died as the courageous Allies crushed the enemy’s advances using barges made at Bulimba to gain a beachhead and spearhead their daunting defence of our nation.
Eddie’s father passed away on March 18th 1946 in Melbourne but was not buried until the February 12th 1947. The reason for this inordinate delay was, Eddie wanted time to allow his younger brother, Richard, to come to Australia to say goodbye to his deceased father. Almost miraculously, Richard made it to Australia just a week before his father’s burial in the Catholic section of Carlton Cemetery. Richard’s health was pathetically poor because of the inhuman war conditions in China and he eventually passed away with cancer.
When the war finished with the unconditional surrender of the enemy, it was time for Eddie to exercise his entrepreneurial flair inherently creating hundreds of jobs for fellow Australians.
If you don’t crack the shell, you can’t eat the nut!
Eddie believed the only job you can start at the top is digging a hole and that the ladder of success in Australia does not care who climbs it! During his illustrious business career, Eddie has been a hands-on Seamen’s Union Secretary, small crop farmer, news agency owner/operator, real estate agent, service station proprietor, wholesale fruit and vegetable supplier, seafood business operator, restaurateur, property developer, Public Relations Consultant, charity fundraiser, Traditional Chinese Herbalist, and is nationally recognized as the Father of Brisbane’s Chinatown.
Eddie started the first Chinese restaurant in Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane after purchasing the business of Hamburger Bill’s. Hamburgers were the most popular meal in Brisbane during the war as American service personnel outnumbered the local population by three to one. He was a part owner of popular Cathay Restaurant in Fortitude Valley.
In 1966, Eddie was responsible for the preservation and restoration of the Chinese Temple at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane and was the prime mover behind legislation being passed to protect this cultural heritage. Eddie has served on many charity boards and community-based organisations during his lifetime. He has raised money to support The Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital, Leukaemia Foundation, The Mater Trust, Guide Dogs For The Blind, The Red Cross, the restoration and preservation of the Chinese Temple at Breakfast Creek, sponsored gifted students from China to study at Australian Universities, and raised funds to facilitate life-saving body organ transplants for several disadvantaged Chinese children.
Over the years, many Chinese Australians have died without surviving family and relatives. Eddie has personally buried many of these unfortunate souls with dignity and time-honoured tradition.
I look on that man as happy who, when there is a question of success, looks into his work for a reply
Eddie’s Awards include:
á Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), 1980.
á Honorary Ambassador, City of Brisbane, 1981.
á Medal of The Order of Australia (OAM), 1991.
á Australian of the Year, Local Hero Queensland, 2004.
á Australia Day Award for Senior Citizen of the Year, 2007.
á Honorary Doctorate in the Social Sciences conferred by the prestigious University of Queensland, 2007.
á Appointed Honorary Ambassador for the State of Queensland Ð Australia Day, 2008.
Queensland Greats Award, 2010 Ð The Queensland State Government honours individuals and institutions whose achievements have played a significant role in the history and development of Queensland.
See Conclusion Part seven.