ACRI Chinese History Series: 'Chinese whispers: In search of Ivy'

September 18 2018

The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) welcomed author Alison Choy Flannigan to discuss her book Chinese Whispers: In Search of Ivy (Black Quill Press, 2018) on September 18 2018.

The first in a three-part series, Chinese Whispers: In Search of Ivy tells the story of the author’s family journeying from China and settling in Australia during the Palmer River Gold Rush in the late 1800s. It pieces together the past in a series of vignettes linking Canton (now Guangzhou) and Hong Kong with Cooktown and Thursday Island in Far North Queensland. The book is underpinned by the author’s quest to learn more about her mother (Ivy, who was born in Cooktown, Far North Queensland in 1922) whom she tragically lost as a child, and her personal journey to reconcile her Chinese and Australian heritage.

Ms Flannigan delivered a presentation on her book before joining her co-researcher, Malcolm Oakes, a member of the Chinese Australian Historical Society, for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bob Carr, Director of ACRI, and participated in a Q&A session with the audience.

Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


About the panellists:

Alison Choy Flannigan

Alison Choy Flannigan, BA, LLB (Hons) is an Australian multi-award winning lawyer of Chinese descent, born in Sydney.

For over 13 years Alison has been researching the history of her family through various generations, and the communities in which they have lived, through National and State archives, birth, deaths and marriages and community records in Australia and overseas. This has included the history of Cooktown and the Palmer River Gold Rush and Thursday Island with its fishing and pearling industry in the late 19th Century.

Ms Flannigan is a partner of Holman Webb Lawyers and is a corporate commercial lawyer advising the health, aged care and life sciences. She previously held the positions of partner with a major Australian and international law firm and General Counsel of Australia’s largest private hospital operator. For each and every year since 2008 she has been named as one of Australia’s best lawyers in health and aged care in Best Lawyers International and The Australian Financial Review.

Ms Flannigan has a Bachelor of Arts (University of Sydney) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Technology Sydney. She has a keen interest in Australian history.

Malcolm Oakes

Malcolm Oakes SC is a member of the Chinese Australian Historical Society and a senior counsel practising at the New South Wales Bar. He has previously published a paper on William Lee, who in 1938 was the first barrister of Chinese descent admitted to the New South Wales and presented a paper at Dragon Tails 2017 on Otto Kong Sing, who was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales in 1895 and is the earliest identified person of Chinese descent admitted as a solicitor in any of the former Australian colonies. 

Event Gallery


Event Information
September 18 2018
6:00 PM
ACRI conference room
Level 18, UTS Tower Building
15 Broadway
Ultimo NSW 2007