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Ancestors Of Li Jiquan

Sydney James Leesoon 1875 - 1942

Sydney James Leesoon Sydney James Lee Soon, eldest son of Lee Soon (Li Jiquan) and Elizabeth Lee Soon, was born in Ballarat on 27th June 1875. Little is known about his early years, other than he grew up with his family around Golden Point (China Town), where his father Lee Soon owned hotels, a gaming house and ran a wine store at various times. In 1884 at the age of nine, Sydney was recorded as attending the Chinese Sabbath School, (a Chinese Sunday School).

On the 4th August 1900, Syd as he was known, married Mary Ellen Cartledge at Ballarat East and on 15th August the same year their first child was born. This child was named Sydney James Lee Soon after his father and from here on referred to as Sydney James Lee Soon 11.

Syd and Mary remained in the same district and had four more children;

Mary Ellen CartledgeIn 1915 at the age of four, Levina Maude11 passed away. In 1921 at the age of sixteen, George also passed away. The following year (1922), Syd's wife Mary was to pass away at the age of forty-one.

Most of his working life Syd spent as a miner and in his spare time was known to play Iron Quoits, a common game of the time, often played between hotel patrons. Syd played in the same team as his Sister Levina's husband, John Hustwayte.

After the death of his wife Mary, Syd moved to West Geelong where his eldest son Sydney James Lee Soon II was now living and starting his own family. It was during this time that Syd lived with a woman in Gertrude Street and fathered a child who was also named Sydney but was given the mothers surname of Jennings. After an argument with the woman he was living with, Syd left Geelong to work in the mines around the Meredith and Elaine areas with his daughter, Maxine Elizabeth (Liz)'s husband Les Latter. photo of Sydney James Leesoon (standing) and his son Sydney James Leesoon IISyd lived with them until his death in June 1942 at the age of sixty-five., as a result of pneumonia. Syd was buried in the New Ballarat Cemetry in the same grave as his wife Mary, son George and daughter Levina.

Although slight in stature, Syd was known to be quick tempered and handy with his fists. A story is recounted of Syd drinking in a Ballarat hotel and being on the rceiving end of some derogative remarks about people of Chinese origin. Syd responded by knocking the offender to the floor before anyone had time to think about it. Despite this, Mrs. Jennings described Syd as being a well liked and respected gentleman.

It is a sign of the then times and the views that were still held about the Chinese that Syd's grandchildren, the children of Sydney James Lee Soon II, grew up not knowing their grandfather even though for a period of time he lived but a few streets away.

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