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metadata.territorywomen.dc.title: Lily Ah Toy
Name: Ah Toy, Lily
Wong, Lily
Date of Death: 2001-10-15
Place of Birth: Darwin
Date of Birth: 1917-10-24
Place of Death: Darwin
Place of Burial: Darwin
Cultural heritage: Chinese
Occupation: Pioneer
Community Service
Business Woman
Biographical notes: Lily Wong was born in Darwin on 24th October 1917. At 14 she left Darwin Public School to become a housemaid for a European family. Lily married Jimmy Ah Toy on 9 November 1936, and moved to Pine Creek to set up a general store. Lily bore five children and raised another five adopted children. When Darwin was bombed by the Japanese, the family was evacuated to Adelaide and did not move back to Pine Creek until 1945. Lily then ran the Pine Creek store while Jimmy opened a new shop in Darwin. That shop, like most of Darwin, was devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Lily was involved with many different organisations and assisted with the establishment of the Crafts Council NT (now Territory Craft). In 1982, at the age of 65, Lily graduated from the Darwin Community College (now Charles Darwin University) with an Associate Diploma of Arts (Ceramics). At the time she was their oldest graduate. In 1988, as part of the Bicentennial Celebrations, Lily was one of eight Territorians honoured for their contribution to the Territory and in 1995, Film Australia produced her biography. 2001 saw Lily nominated to the Centenary of Federation Peoplescape project. Her philosophy in life was "work hard, always be honest and give a helping hand" (Film Australia). "We cannot recall her ever complaining, regardless of the heavy work, long hours and hardships she must have endured. She had to cook on a wood stove, boil water in a copper to wash clothes and to provide hot water for baths. There were no fans, and the kerosene fridge needed daily attention." Excerpt from Lily Ah Toy - Family Tribute, eulogy delivered at Lily's funeral by Laurence Ah Toy. Painted by Geoff Todd for Portrait of A Senior Territorian 2009. Acquired by Northern Territory Government House Foundation and can be seen on-line at their website.
Related link: Chinese-Australia Historical Images in Australia : Ah Toy, Lily
ParliamentNT : Launch of Northern Territory tribute to women
Digital Collections : Portrait of Lily Ah Toy
Digital Collections : Portrait of Lily Ah Toy
Digital Collections : Portrait of Lily Ah Toy
Australian Biography : Lily Ah Toy
PictureNT : Bishop O'Loughlin with Lily and Jim Ah Toy
NT. Dept. of Health and Families : Lily ah Toy (1917 - 2001)
PublicationNT : Giese, Diana 1947-. "All the Flavour of the Time Returns" : Using Oral History to Explore the Top End's Chinese Heritage. Darwin : State Library of the Northern Territory, 1994.
National Film and Sound Archive (Australia) & Film Australia. Lily Ah Toy 306686. Acton, A.C.T: National Film and Sound Archive, 2012.
HistoryNT : Darwin Commemorative Wall Quilt, Lily Ah Toy
Appears in Collections:Territory Women

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