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Tingha to celebrate rich Chinese history

Colleen Graham with just a sample of the sumptuous decorations donated by the Chinese consulate in Sydney for the Tingha Chinese New Year celebration February 20.YOU won’t find a ticket for love or money for Tingha’s Chinese New Year dinner on February 20.

Before the event to be held at the Tingha Sports and Rec Club was locally advertised, all 200-plus seats sold out.

“It’s overwhelming,” Tingha Citizen’s Association president Coleen Graham said.

The dinner to celebrate Tingha’s rich Chinese history was initially a repeat performance of previous celebrations held on a more modest scale.

“They were just small and intimate, a good fun time, so I thought it’s time to do another one,” Colleen said.

She has written to Sydney’s Chinese Consulate in the past for flags or small decorations to add to the festivities.

“They’ve been extremely generous in the past and likewise this time,” she said.

Colleen and her husband Bernie were in Sydney when she received the consulate’s latest response for this year’s event, and they were invited to the consulate.

“The Consul General was just a bit overwhelmed, and ‘honoured’ was his word that a little place link Tingha would want to commemorate our Chinese descendants by celebrating Chinese New Year,” Colleen said.

Impressed by the sincerity and homage to the former thriving Tingha Chinese community, some 3000 strong at the height of the tin mining industry, the Chinese consulate in Sydney decided to send two delegates to attend the event.

The consulate donated many beautiful decorations to the Tingha community for the dinner.

An advertisement in the Daily Telegraph was like a telegram, and the seats began filling, with nearly all bookings paid to date.

“We were particularly looking for Tingha Chinese descendants, and any ex-pats that were interested, so we have lots of those ex-pat Chinese descendants coming back, and coming from all over,” Colleen said.

After a thorough hunt, and help from Inverell’s Camping World and Macintyre Gas, the Grahams finally found burners strong enough for head chef John Choi of Armidale’s Mung Hung restaurant to lead preparations for the smorgasbord meal.

2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and Colleen has been collecting stuffed monkeys to raffle on the night.

Former Inverell radio personality Greg Kachel will emcee the night to be

Colleen said after the Tin Festival, Tingha residents pulled her up on the street to talk about it, and she felt it was a sign of good thing growing.

“We’re putting Tingha back on the map, I think,” she said.

“People are coming up and saying they had a really good time at the festival, maybe we’re going to have a good Chinese New Year.”

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