|SHR Criteria a)|
|The site has a recorded history of continuous Chinese occupation since the 1870's.
The temple and many fittings and associated objects have remained substantially intact. The site and the temple are associated with many significant Chinese community members. These include Sam Warley, who operated a large import business with branches in Perth and Hong Kong, John Hoe, who operated a large timber business and formed the NSW Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Deen Bong, a successful cabinet maker who was an early manager of Tiy Loy and Co.
Many society members have been influential in the introduction, growing, marketing and distribution of Chinese vegetables and food. Society members have also helped to maintain Chinese festivals and celebrations, including the lion dance
|SHR Criteria c)|
|It represents a unique blend of Chinese temple design and Federation detailing. It seems likely that Federation detailing drew heavily on the decorative elements of the Chinese building tradition. The building is an example of the aesthetic of village temples. Standardised building codes and systems meant that temples build outside China strongly resemble those built within China. Exposed rafters and purlins demonstrate traditional Chinese roof structure and demonstrate the flexibility of this system. The highly coloured decorative paintwork used throughout is a very strong aesthetic statement the figurative ceramic roof ridge tiles are a very strong element of the external architecture of the temple. The interior fittings and objects, commissioned from China, represent excellent examples of Chinese decorative arts at the time the temple was built. Many similar pieces have been destroyed in China so that the aesthetic significance of this material is very high. |
|SHR Criteria d)|
|The complex has remained a cultural, religious and social centre for the community.
The temple Society has assisted community members, especially those newly arrived in Australia, by providing low cost housing, financial support and employment opportunities. This support was especially important when government policy meant that many community members were forced to live with only irregular contact with partners and families, who were still in China. Before the practice was banned, following the Chinese Revolution of 1949, Society members also arranged to return the bones of dead members to China for burial. Painted panels inside the temple list donors at the time of construction of the temple. These panels often refer to loyalty, brotherhood and the wish for happiness, prosperity and longevity. Many current Society members are able to identify the names of grandfathers, great uncles and other forebears on these panels and in the written records of the Society. The temple strongly communicates a sense of community identity and continuity. The Yiu Ming temple siting, orientation and layout follow principles of Chinese cosmology commonly known as feng shui. The main deity of the temple is Hong Sheng. "god of the southern seas". Hong Sheng is not a common deity either for Chinese Australians or for people from southern China. Cai Shen and Guan Di are other gods represented in the temple. The temple iconography includes much Daoist symbolism, including representations of the 8 Immortals and 8 precious things. There is also reference to Buddha.
|SHR Criteria e)|
|The temple illustrates various technical adaptations to local conditions and materials. It also demonstrates the internationally recognised versatility and innovative skills of Chinese carpenters during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Given the scarcity of examples of this scale of 'village' temple, even in China, the general adherence to traditional design principles is also of technical interest.
Inscriptions on the painted panels inside the temple provide much information about society members enabling further research into the history of the Society and its members. The records and documents of the Society appear to have been maintained. The Society's relationship to business, market gardening and the Chinese cemetery area at Rookwood are all significant areas for further research.
|SHR Criteria f)|
|This temple is one of only a small number (9?) of Chinese temples that survive in Australia. It also illustrates traditional Chinese architecture in transition, displaying various adaptations to local conditions and materials. The temple houses a range of movable objects that were specially commissioned by the community from artists and craftsmen in Guandong at the time that the temple was constructed. In mainland China, many village temples of this period have either been destroyed or are used for other purposes. |
|SHR Criteria g)|
|The building is an example of Chinese village temple design with distinctive local elements. Retreat Street represents a community approach to survival and adaptation to life in a new country. |
|Integrity/Intactness: ||The physical fabric of the temple and its associated objects retain evidence of the historical, architectural, social and spiritual significance of this site. |
|Assessment criteria: || Items are assessed against the State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection. |