SEARCHING through family history there are so many twist and turns where people can end up, but never did the Stawell Historical Society know that Australian child entertainer, who appeared for many years on the Wiggles' program, Jeff Fatt, also known as the purple Wiggle, would have a long family connection with Stawell.
During the filming for an episode of SBS television show 'Who Do You Think You Are'? Mr Fatt visited the Pleasant Creek Court House Museum to take part in the TV programme. Several months before the show went to air, staff from SBS TV and Warner Brothers contacted Stawell Historical Society seeking information about Mr Fatt's great great grandfather. The Historical Society's records were a great help in supplying information to producers of the programme.
Mr Lee Young (Yung) was born in 1827 and arrived in Australia from Canton, China around 1852 and settled in Ballarat. He was a Chinese Interpreter for the Law Courts and the community on the goldfields of Pleasant Creek (Stawell). He was appointed a Government Interpreter in the early 1860's and commenced in Ballarat in 1862 and then moved to Ararat in 1863. He resigned from there in 1873 and moved to the Illawarra (Stawell) gold fields where he continued as a government interpreter until 1890 when he retired and moved back to Ballarat.
The witnesses who he translated for in court usually gave their oath by blowing out a lighted match. He was often asked by judges for an explanation about this for of oath taking. "If he no swear the truth, he go out into fire all a same as a match," he said.
This explanation generally satisfied the sitting judge.
An 1870 case at which Lee Young officiated involved a Great Western miner named An You, who accused a man named Millar of stealing his gold mining cradle. On reporting the loss to Constable Ford, of Great Western Police, he was told to go and look for it himself.
Mr Young lived in both Illawarra and Deep Lead in the Chinese camps when working at the Pleasant Creek Court House.
Mr Young died in Ballarat, aged 72 years at the residence of his daughter, Mrs Fong See in February 1899. He was survived by his four daughters, two sons and eighteen grandchildren.
He was married to Elizabeth who pre-deceased him.
In another piece of interesting history about Mr Young, he was the first Chinese national to be naturalised in Victoria. He was sworn in and took the oath before Sir Redmond Barry on February 18, 1890.
*This story was written with the assistance and information from the Stawell Historical Society.
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