Garibaldi Joss House

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I’ve found very little about Garibaldi’s temple. I’ve included everything below, with a break in the middle to consider the photo. Due to a lack of information, it’s hard to pin down the dates of use, but, based on available information, c.1890 to 1920s seems likely

A large Chinese camp has lately been built at the Garibaldi about eight miles from here, which will probably shortly become the head-quarters of the Chinese in this district. The only thing required to make it so now is a Joss House, which will probably be obtained, either by building a new one, or the removal of the one at Weldboro’, unless our respected missionary Wong Poo, succeeds in converting the majority to Christianity, when probably instead of a Joss House, they will have a church.
The Mercury, 3 April 1886

The Chinese new year is just over and the Celestials, numbering about 600 in camp, have had a rare festival this year. I hear that about £400 was gathered for the occasion, which went towards a new joss house at the Garibaldi claim, an addition to joss house at Weldborough, and £100 for fireworks.
The Tasmanian, 23 February 1889

Leaving the one main street we go a few hundred yards to a separate building of larger dimensions. This is the josshouse. Hundreds of visitors are round about it and here, too, we find most of the Chinese congregated. Beautiful and costly lanterns are hung by the josshouse door. Round some lanterns are paper mandarins, etc. revolving on stately procession. Inside the building one is almost overcome with the strong incense and heated air from multitudes of burning tapers. Heavily decorated silks, etc. shut off most of the end view, where, perhaps, Joss himself has his abode for the time. Most of the decorations are very elaborate, and some are exceedingly beautiful.
The Mercury, 1 March 1912

Garibaldi Joss House WC
Chinese Josshouse, Garibaldi
Weekly Courier, 21 May 1914

The panels either side of the door are in storage at the Queen Victoria Museum. The large text translates as “He whose Military Achievements are certain is fit to be a Warrior Deity” and “He whose Smaller print down the sides says “Respectfully presented by Lei Yi Chun from Xin Ning District” and  “Established on the auspicious festive day in an Autumn month during the 16th reigning year of Guang Xu” which I’m told is between 16 August 1890 and 13 October 1890.

Similar door panels from Weldborough are dated to a few months before the opening of the temple. Given that, plus the mention of putting “towards a new joss house at the Garibaldi claim” in 1889, I think a construction year of 1890-1 is a possiblity.

Another item of interest is the panel above the door. Although it’s difficult to read, on a higher resolution photo, the lower part of the left two characters is like the lower part of the left two characters on this panel on display in the museum:

The rightmost character is a bit harder to make out, but as the two characters on the right here say “Guan Di” that’s probably what the third character on the panel in the photo is. The whole sign says “Guan Di Temple”. The same sign appears the door in the photo of Weldborough. It is literally the same sign?

From “The Children’s Column”:

There is a Chinese camp three miles from here called the Garibaldi. A little while ago 1 took a friend, who is staying here up to see this camp. On our way up we had a look at the Joss House, which is their place of worship, and lies about one hundred yards from the camp; then we went on to the camp. Just as we got there we saw two Chinamen emerge from a hut and go to the Joss House. One was carrying a: roast fowl, and the other a jug of gravy. We walked the full length of the camp and came back. On our return to the Joss House we had a look in, and there, was one of the Chinamen preparing for prayers while the other assisted him. The one who was going to pray started by standing in front of the Joss and throwing his arms about in the air; he then knelt down in the same place on a mat and did the same process kneeling. After . this the assistant handed him two pieces of wood like sheep’s tongues. Ire threw these down in front of him; looked at them, and then .handed them back. He then threw his arms about again. Having done this the assistant handed him a wooden jar full of funnily shaped sticks. When the one praying had looked at these for a while; he selected one, handed the rest back, and put this particular one, aside. He then went through a lot more arm throwing, and then drank a small cup of gravy. All this having been done, he-picked some paper out of a box, came outside, and burnt it. He told us it was paper money, and seemed quite pleased we had seen him pray. The next and last thing lie did was to let off a packet of crackers. This performance having been accomplished, he took the fowl and. gravy home.
Leader (Melbourne), 11 September 1915

The Waugh tin mines are about three miles from Pioneer, in the direction of the Blue Tier, are close to the old township of Garibaldi, which in the early days of tin mining was quite a flourishing Chinese centre, even to a most pretentious Joss-house. But all that remains is a few huts, fast falling to decay, or only one or two Chinese inhabitants. Yet at one time, when the field was flourishing, there was a population of close on a thousand, with little camps dotted about the hills and valleys.
Examiner, 21 September 1925

One part-Chinese interviewee (aged 72) remembers at least 40 huts at Garibaldi in her early childhood. … The Garibaldi Joss house was pulled down in c.1926 and some of its contents passed to her family.
Tasmania’s Chinese Heritage: An Historical Record Of Chinese Sites In North East Tasmania, p. 24

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