Reverend S. Wong on board the tanker San Felipe at Geelong, c 1963.
From its early days Asian seafarers have regularly visited the mission at 717 Flinders street. A few rare early images of Japanese and Chinese seafarers dating from the early 20th C are held in the Heritage Collection. As shipping patterns changed and as much more trade was sourced to and from Asia the Mission needed to consider the spiritual and practical welfare needs of seafarers from India, the Philippines, Japan, and China. The 58th Annual Report, of 1963 noted the arrival of the Reverend S. Wong and his family.
“The innovation of a Chinese priest has proved an outstanding success and we are most fortunate in having the services in such a position, a man of the calibre of Padre Wong”
The Reverend S. Wong was warmly welcomed to the Mission to Seamen by State Secretary Reverend Perry Mitchinson, based at Port Melbourne and was based primarily working out of the Central Institute at 717 Flinders St serving all Seafarers using Melbourne Ports.
Rev Wong and Family.
Padre Wong as he was known, left the Mission after some five years of invaluable service and commitment during a time of considerable change in the ‘60s for both shipping and the Missions to seafarers.
Alan G. Mee (then State Secretary) in his Annual Report of 1965 noted that : “Padre Wong’s ministry amongst Asian Seafarers has become known far and wide and through his endeavours the “Flying Angel” has become known to Asian Seamen the world over. Together with his wife and sons they have made a profound impression upon the Missions in this State.