In September 2014 I wrote a short piece about the grave of a Chinese male, Yip Yau and speculated as to whether the internet could ‘discover’ anything about this person. It took six years, but the mystery was solved.
Noreen Kirkman is an independent historian researching various topics including the Chinese who worked the Wolfram mines in the Northern Territory during World War II. She contacted me by email late last year and in part wrote:
I thought you might like to know that Yip Yau was evacuated from Nauru and arrived in Brisbane in March 1942. He was sent to the Hatches Creek Wolfram Mine in the Northern Territory. Yip Yau suffered a coronary occlusion and died in Alice Springs, 26 July 1943, aged 44 years old.
I am unsure as to how my father (whilst in the Army during WW 2) came to know him. The story I remember dad telling me, as a child, was that Yip Yau worked in the Sergeant’s Mess at the Army base where my father was stationed. Dad further said that Yip Yau taught him a little about growing Bonsai. As a child I have memories of a handful of Bonsai trees on a stand in our back yard. Interestingly I have been growing Bonsai for more than thirty years and still enjoy its challenges.