Head Office: 1304 Hay Street, West Perth WA 6005, Australia - OFFICE NUMBER: (08) 9481 8228

History of WACCC

History of WACCC

The Founding of WACCC

The Chinese community were small but present in Western Australia at the time of the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829. The first documented Chinese was a man named Moon Chow, a carpenter by trade who came in the vessel Parmelia and worked around Fremantle. Eventually, more Chinese arrived mostly as indentured labourers. And by the turn of the 20th century there was a sizable Chinese community that was thriving in Western Australia in spite of many difficulties.


This community built the Chung Wah Hall and currently still stands as a heritage building on 128 James Street, Northbridge. This building was established in 1909 to meet the needs of WA’s Chinese people and represent the community in the face of increasing government legislation against Chinese migration to Australia.


At the time, the Business and Professional Group of the Chun Wah Association was not sufficiently resourced to oppose the Australian government’s legislations. However, after many discussions with other business migrants there were two individuals who stood up to take a stand. Mr Simon Lee collaborated with Datuk SB Cheah and came up with the idea of a Chinese Chamber of Commerce.


On March 15, 1987 this idea was well supported and a Certificate of Incorporation for the Western Australia Chinese Chamber of Commerce was handed over to the inaugural President at the Chung Wah Hall, and thus the Chamber came into existence.

The Early Days

The Chamber started operations in a spacious office within the renowned Bankwest Tower located on St. Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD area. During this time, there were many people milling around organising various functions. The spirits were high and the air was filled with excitement. As things begun to take shape, WACCC was able to have their first trade mission, their first seminar and various after-work meetings held at the office and several local eateries.


Although the developmental work took some time to mature, many people exhibit a great deal of commitment to the cause. This had led to the organisation of seminars, discussions and workshops on a regular basis. As a result, trade missions abroad intertwined with receiving trade missions from overseas and cooperative agreements were signed.


The Chamber’s President at the time, Datuk SB Cheah, was widely known as a significant business leader through his many achievements one of which was setting up the University College in Joondalup. His work in Education won him an Honorary Doctorate from Curtin University which further accentuate his credibility. Furthermore, Dr. Cheah was bestowed a Datukship from Malaysia (which is equivalent of a knighthood).  In 1991, this honorary position in the Chamber was later past to the Vice President, Dr. Simon Lee.


In Dr. Lee’s time as President, the Chamber formed a Trust that acquired a new home on Hay Street, West Perth.  In additional to acquiring a new home for the Chamber, Dr. Lee was very much sought after and became one of the most influential business people in Australia. He was given high awards for his works including becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia. In spite of his busy schedule, Dr. Lee contributed to the local community and was involved in many positions, and the Chamber was surely benefited from his activism.


Following our Dr. Lee, was Roger Kwok whereby he was able to keep up a scintillating pace of progress with his highly supportive and capable team. The Chamber’s efforts during this time were focused on Chinese connections and trade missions. Mr. Kwok continued to be a stalwart of the Chamber to this day and he has been awarded the prestigious title of Honorary President of the Chamber.


Since then, Mr. Wilson Wu and Mr. Richard Tan rose up to the occasionally as the subsequent next two Presidents where there brought stability. Collectively, they brought a different style to the chamber but no less active. Their efforts have significantly brought forward education projects in China and thus had improved the life chances of many young students here.


And here we are today with the Chamber’s current President Mr. Khoon Tan.

Certificate presentation ceremony at the Chung Wah Hall

The First Western Australia Chinese Chamber of Commerce - 1987

The First Western Australia Chinese Chamber of Commerce - 1987

Sir Charles Court and Chief Justice David Malcolm and Company at the 10th anniversary celebration

Sir Charles Court and friends from the Chamber at the 50th Coffee Shop Forum

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke & WACCC President Khoon Tan