I met Lily Lee for the first time in Hong Kong, last Friday 15 June 2012. Why did we make contact? Aunty Lily's father, Philip Lee Chun sponsored my grandfather, Thomas Lee Fong to live in Australia, adopted him as a son, and ensured he was educated in Sydney at Newington College.
Lily was born in Sydney in 1910 and that makes her a "young" 101, and 102 next October. She was the third youngest of eight children, three girls and five boys ( excluding my grandfather). Aunty Lily moved to Hong Kong in 1933 with her parents returned to Hong Kong for a retirement holiday trip. They liked it so much they stayed on. When Lily left Sydney she was studying accountancy but never returned to complete her course.She began working in Hong Kong for Mobil Oil and rose to become Executive Secretary. Mobil Oil built the first large housing complex in Hong Kong - Mei Foo Sun Chuen. Lily was recalled from retirement to be the personal assistant to the executives in charge of the complex. One of her two barrister brothers was Professor of English at the Hong Kong Chinese University in Shatin when it was first opened. One other practised in Sydney. Another brother, an accountant, took over the family import/export firm in Sydney which operated from their own large three storey building in Haymarket, Sydney
Lily was in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in the 1940's. To most of us this would be difficult to comprehend but Lily spent her time working for the Red Cross and knitting for a living."We just got on with it," she said. After the war Lily returned to Australia for a while via an aircraft carrier, which she says, was a lot of fun, although it took 12 days to get there! Over the years, Lily worked tirelessly for the Australian Association In Hong Kong as their secretary for a time and remained active with the social events after she handed over her official'duties'. In addition to the activities of the Association, Lily has been a lifelong fan of horse racing -
although she is reluctant to share the secrets of her success in the betting ring! (This information comes from Fifty Years of Memories, Australian Association in Hong Kong, of which Lily is a founding member and honorary life member.)