- Quong Sin Tong Monument & Wan Nian Bao Ding
Quong Sin Tong Monument & Wan Nian Bao Ding
The Quong Sin Tong monument commemorates the Chinese community interred at Rookwood. It was erected by the Quong Sin Tong, one of the earliest Chinese societies in New South Wales. It was a local Chinese district society whose task was to help with the exhumation of Chinese graves from Rookwood cemetery for reburial in China. The process was, at the time, in accordance with the beliefs and practices of the community and was fairly common until the 1950s.
It is one of the earliest monuments at Rookwood that does not commemorate a specific individual. It dates back to 1877. While the exact function and purpose of the monument is not known, historical oral and photographic documentation provides evidence for the use of the Quong Sin Tong monument and the nearby iron roundel (wan nian bao ding) in Chinese ancestral ceremonies and rituals such as Ching Ming (Qing Ming) and Double Ninth Festivals.
The monument sits on a podium within a circular moat. The sandstone cupola is supported on four columns and bears a dated inscription “Quong Sin Tong Erected 1877”. The designer is unknown, but it was constructed by R. Larcombe, Monumental Stonemasons. It stands at about 4.5 metres high and stands on a square base in the centre of a moat crossed by four brick arched rendered bridges. Wrought iron posts serve as balustrades. Most of the original cast iron balustrading has been lost and since replaced with similar design.
The monument has four monolith shafted columns which serve a supports for the ciborium-like monolithic roof. Two stones, set in north and south, form the cornice which supports a pavilion roofblock. The monolithic upper dome section is topped with an ornate finial. The monument has an overall European monumental form and style, with Chinese inscriptions on the dome.
The moat and surrounding edges are heavily planted with Agapanthus on the outer rim and grass and reeds growing on the island of the monument and in the water of the moat.
The urn in the centre is a replacement. The original is located in RGC storage, and on display during significant events, such as Open Days.