THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHINESE TRIBUTE GARDENS
Chinaman's Dam was built in the 1860's by German brothers Herman and John Tiedmann to provide water for the sluicing of their Victoria Hill gold claims. The brothers, at some time in the 1870's sold their area to a Chinese group who then worked on the site.
In 1955 Burrangong Shire Council included the dam in its provision for modern recreational facilities making it a public recreation reserve. Besides providing a place for swimming it also provided a place for water for railway engines in the days of steam. Funds raised at the Young Festival of Centenary in 1958 were put towards improvements at the dam. In 1961 the road from Young to the dam was bitumen sealed and in 1970 a modern brick kiosk with facilities for swimmers and picnickers was built (unfortunately swimming is no longer permitted at the dam).
In June 1992 members of the Rotary Club of Young adopted a beautification project for the development of the Chinese Gardens at Chinaman's Dam. A new entrance (donated by Taronga Park Zoo which featured the gateway as part of their Panda exhibition) was erected as well as a new car park, lawns and an irrigation system, installed by local business Thomson's Rural Supplies. A new lake and bird sanctuary was also built and the Chinese Gardens commenced.
During August 1992 Madam Lou Xiaoyan, the Cultural Counsellor at the People's Republic of China Embassy in Canberra viewed the works at Chinaman's Dam in the company of Shire President Cr Marie McCormick. In December the same year the Cultural Counsellor also opened the Chinese Ceramic and Photographic exhibition at the Burrangong Gallery. The exhibition and sale of Chinese items donated by the Chinese Embassy benefited the Rotary Club project at the dam.
Young was given a $75,000 Australia Day present in January 2993 by the Federal Government, as a result of a deputation to meet Minister Ros Kelly, led by Rotarian Mr Leo Callinan. The National Cherry festival also donated $ 15,000.00 towards the project that year.
In November 1996 Rotary handed the project over to Young Shire Council. Encouraged by Mayor Tony Hewson the Council formally dedicated the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden "in recognition of the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860's and the ongoing contribution of the Chinese community to Australia as a nation."
The positive act in a time of upheaval caused by the intensifying of the immigration race debate, brought the town national and international parise from media and politicians from all sides. The Chinese Gardens project was covered by the Today Show, John Laws Show, 7.30 Report and the American program CNBC Asia.
Mayor Hewson then formed a foundation of prominent Australians to assist with fundraising and the strategic direction of the project. Many prominent members of the Sydney Chinese community also played a key role.