Mystery rock on Cheung Chau | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Mystery rock on Cheung Chau

Mystery rock on Cheung Chau

Photo courtesy of Laura Darnell.

Laura asks if anyone recognises where this is. The children are her brothers and sisters.

My guess is that it is the rock visible in the distance beyond house #29 on the left edge of this photo:

House #29, Cheung Chau

It would be somewhere near their house, so they'd know it well. And if you walk south from house #29 to the coastline and then look east, you should see the peninsula shown in the main photo above.

Can anyone confirm?

Regards, David

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, January 1, 1940


In the photo of the children, the photographer is looking down on them. It suggests the photographer is up a fairly steep slope, above the children. That doesn't fit the rock shown in the photo of house #29, so we can ignore that.


Shot here from south Cheung Chau, looking along coast towards west - to area near the weather station.

Perhaps includes same rock


south Cheung chau

Hi there,

Is this the end of the little path going up to a house before reaching the bend of Peak Road West?  I believe the rock formation showing in your photo might be exactly the one shown in the old photo if we take the vegetation away.  I believe House #29 used to be up that slope.

Best Regards,


Hi all,

Thank you for posting this picture. The formation of rocks near the upper right center of the newest photo could very well be the mystery rock. Since I do not know the topography of the island, if this shot had been taken above and downward toward that peninsula would the peninsula showing in the photo match? If so, I would guess it is the mystery rock or rocks. I had assumed the shot was taken at a shoreline but could very well have been taken from above and created that illusion.

FYI, the little toddler to the right of the picture and in front of a dark haired head, is me! So the picture was taken circa 1939 or 1940. The other children are my siblings except the two oldest brothers. Living on Cheung Chau Island for four years was a very happy carefree time for our family. If anyone was also living on the Island at that same time, I would be so happy to correspond with them.

Warmest regards,

Laura (nee Ziegler)

mysterious rock solution

I believe the rock is actually below the rock in David's photo; the rock circled in this photo is the rock in Laura's photo. I grew up on the islands and so am familiar with the local geography.

I can recognize all landscapes in the photos, brings back memories.

edit: The rock in question is located approx (22.199962, 114.028048), you can enter the coordinates on google maps; the original source for the photo is , also found posted on google maps.

Thanks Tung Lin.

Any idea how easy it is to get to the viewpoint in the old photo, to take a photo of the same view today? It looks quite overgrown there on the satellite photos.

Regards, David

Hi Tung Lin,

Thanks for the extra information. I'll go over there for an explore some time this winter.

As far as we can tell from the old map, (see, the meteorological station is on the site of houses #29 & 30. I think the current building is on #30's site, and some of their instruments are on the site of #29.

Please do you know if there were any buildings on those sites in the 1950s, or had the sites already been cleared?

Regards, David

Hello folks,

This is the only picture best shown of the entire local geography about the Laura's Mystery Rock Group on the Cheung Chau island. It should help many others who once lived here to recapture their happy times  they had enjoyed.

Please be free to enjoy your own memory lanes from it.

If you decide to revisit the island, don't rely on this outdated photo.

Good Luck!!

There may be paths still usable.

Mystery Rock, Aerial view

By the way CC NDB stands for Cheung Chau Non-Directional Beacon which is a radio beacon for air pilots to skip over Cheung Chau as an aerial navigational guidance  en route to Kai Tak  Airport in the old days.

You may see more details from other photos on the gwulo photo gallery.


Pls enjoy!



Thanks Tung Lin. It has got a lot more overgrown since the aerial photo was taken!

Regards, David

Early 1950s, being the youngest in the family, I was repeatedly, warned of not to go up west of House #27 ( the Catholic Priest House) on Peak Road alone.

Almost daily for few years, a local quarry team performed explosion to break down boulders in the area for rock materials in construction use and  creating clearings. There were lots of rocks in this Sen Yan Jiang area. Before every explosion, a worker in beige uniform wound  stand on some high location and send out the warning by banging his gong for few minutes, then there was a period of silence as we pricked our ears and waited for the thundering sound and echo to come.  There was smokes and smell too. After that we knew it's safe to go there again. 

I still remember those stonecutters. Sweating under the hot sun, a hand holding the spike and the other cranking the big hammer  to crack the piece of  rock work. They smoked cigerettes and listened to the radio in maximum volume. The hill there was not so quiet...spikes banging all day in the summer winds. Heaven, please be gracious, don't rain on the stonecutters for they are dedicate workers.

The  SYJ , area is the upper-right in this photo, the Chuen Li Choi Yuen village  (CLCY)  my family lived -- same direction near the bay. The biggest boulder ( above ground) in this area is the one visible by the Peak Road near House #27, the Catholic Priest House:

 Pls enjoy


In the mid-1950s, I sometimes walked passing  aound the Radar Station ( House #30)  on the Peak Road and  carefully went down  the steep grassy slope to the snug cove around the other side of  Laura's mystery rocks. It is the first cove of the Kau Kwoon Tong area.  The place was very hidden and undisturbable. An ideal spot for a diligent student to study, or watching the rolling waves with dreams. Fishing here just a minor option. My brother and I came here to see friends who liked  telling history stories, or just gossips in town. A simple retreat of no idea for the boring good kids . A hiding place.

Being there means we were truly teenagers, even though I was underage.

There is a geological crack running across the beak , back then the landscape was fairly barren with thin grasses, so the cracks of land were distinctly visible.  More or less like a geo.  Near the sea level the crack appeared as a big flattened cave on north-east corner. I found a photo which has this cave right on the front area:

(google search: 'over cheung chau island', and select the one from ' 

The cave opening was wide and bright during daytime.  Waves and wave foams constantly brought in live sea creatures. clams and small crabs were common here,  ocean garbages as well. At the opening,  the air was always very cool. I went inside sometimes and once more deeper than usual during an extra low tide in the summer of....probably.. 1958 or so.  Normally it constantly flooded with waving sea waters. There were slits of sunrays through some cracks way, way up above. The cave seemed to be quite deep and became narrow and dark ahead, not so sure you could continue to walk through.   

After about several dozen feet, I decided not to advance further. There was darkness ahead .But the other boys verified in our sight that they somehow squeezed their bodies and  jiggled through the maze of fallen rocks in the far side of the cave and emerged out of the cave on the other side and climbed back from outside.  So we knew this sea cave was in fact a secret tunnel between Nam Tam Wan to Kau Kwoon Tong.  

Today's overgrown could hide from our sight  the fault line which lies not too far from the south side of the House#29 site ( now we know) , it remains clearly visible as an open ravine to the Nam Tam Wan  shoreline. People still come here to watch the wavy seascape, but who knows there is a sea cave so hidden. Had Cheung Po Tsai  ever kept his goodies here, I wondered. If he did, I bet he had a warehouse inside here. ( not like that tiny one which became a tourist hot-spot on the island!!) This cave is much adventureous to explore, according to my friends' ordeal. It's so hidden from outside world, yet open to those fearless and restless little kids of my childhood years.

Cheung Chau,  Cheung Chau, more kids will remember you, because the joy you offered us and the courage you induced us before we set our vision afar.


There was a surprise visit of a freighter to Laura's mystery rocks  due to the stormy sea by Typhoon Ruby in the early September of 1964.

A 7000-tonage cargo ship, named "Shun Feng" landed on the rock bed just off the cliff where Laura's mystery rocks stood.. The bow came very close to the villa of Mayland Villa ( now: the Kin Lan Yuen or Kinlan Garden). Basically, this cargo ship got stuck around people's front porch, backyard, or next to their windows. It's amazing. 

The ship stayed there for few years, lazily drifting within the tiny bay as it underwent gradual dismantlement before its final towaway. This special scenario in an aerial photo appeared nicely on the 1967 Hong Kong Year Book ( please, help me to confirm and post up). It turned out the freighter was originally a canadian freighter.. the Simcoe Park.. built in North Vancouver Shipyard .( BC, Canada) the end of WWII.  We could almost see the nose front of the shipwreck  near the area we used to fly our kites. The shipwreck attracted many islanders coming here  to stare at the huge mess done by the storm, for their curiosity and awesome viewing.

 There were  photos of the shipwreck appeared on few books or magazines of the 1960s , positioned differently from the days of Typhoon Ruby. But they are really hard for me to find them. At least  there is one appeared on the gwulo photo stock of the '1960s Cheung Chau'.

Pls enjoy


There was a mystery about a huge bony object  in our Chuen Li Choi Yuen village since the 1950s. My brother told me that was a piece of whale bone. I trusted him because he always found the information  reliable. Yet we had no other piece of information to relate of it.

After reading the stories about the Ziegler children, I guess I can imagine more ,,, During their few years, the early 1940s,  on House #29, there was a whale being washed up to their shore and that must be a big incident for the islanders, not just for the Ziegler  kids........

But.....was there any things from the whale remain for us to remember?

The old landowner of CLCY also run a retail shop selling imported foods like jams. cheese, milk, and other diary products. Many of his customers were the western people, the foreigners on the island. He took in lots of luggage-sized ice block for his cold storage room and also retailed the ice for others. Well,  who else could afford to take home some chucks of that smelly, rotten whale ? Who else could afford to divide or  the authority to store some of the whale body parts on his own property....the CLCY ?

I could  still remember that piece of bone was about four or five feet long and thicker than an adult's limb. It seemed to be a part of the longer bone. The bone was still there at the time we moved away from CLCY in the summer of 1958.  In 2003, I revisited the CLCY village. There were great changes all over except the quarter where our house and the whale bone located. That section remained as in ruins or unrented.  And  I was unable to gain access to check details.

I was so lucky, after a long absence of over thirty years, to meet up with a family of  previous next door neighbor and a childhood friend who we always played together as kids did. Maybe next time, I should also check out the whale bone. It might bring back even more childhood stories there.





Hi Tung Lin, I hope that the whale bone is part of the same whale Laura's family saw - that would be a great link. Fingers crossed someone knows where it ended up and will let us know.

Regards, David

Hi, David ,  A search on google reveals in fact there seems to be a set of more complete  whale bones being on display at ,  probably,  the Hung Sing Mew (Hung Sing  Temple).  This locates about half-way between the ferry pier and the CLCY village. Pls look at this photo --picture 1973-15-023  from

(The geography: discounting the north island section,  the foreground's north forest area is the CLCY village. the H S Mew is on the mid-distance green area. The far-distance in green is the Police Station area next to Tung Wan the public swimming beach.

Picture 1973-15-024 has a house outstanding on top of CLCY. It blocks the view of the houses below where the CLCY whale bone rested for long time in mystery.)

OK, now,

How the bone set becoming a shrine subject? Very strange.....mmm.  What is its originality? Could it be from the same whale washed up to the island during the Zieglers time?  or what     ....        can someone  tell more...

one of the google search result:

The photo of the whale bone is next to the photo of the Hung Sing Mew. If the both being shot on the same spot, then we have an interesting clue. would someone  check it out pls!!

And even the famous Pai Tai Mew ( Pai Tai Temple.....where the stage ground for the Bun festival in late Spring) ( which is at the foot of the North island region) also houses some whale bone fragments....( pls scratch head...!!)

Next time people will have one more reason to visit cheung chau...

(remember: last time they say... go to see the   one and only Olymphic Gold Medal of Hong Kong . Cheung Chau is home to the medal-owner, the surfer  Miss Lee Lai San  )

Few photos here will give a good idea of the physical existence of the rock in the area........and maybe... the same area the whale beached decades ago.

pls enjoy...

Hi there,

A google search with 長 洲  +鯨 骨  would turn up quite a few entries showing photos or blog pages.  Pak Tai Temple n Cheung Chau have various bigger pieces of Whale bones (likely of pieces of rib-cage), and a few snouts of sawsharks.

Temples on other islands around also have such display, like the Tin Hau Temple in Lamma Island.

Best Regards,


Welcome to Nam Tam Wan,

The name in three words means ' South---Little Cove--Bay'.  It is definitely not a place for swimming because the shoreline is very rocky, water is very deep, and the wave and sea current are too strong.

The area actually contains three tiny coves; the east Nam Tam, the middle Nam Tam and the west Nam Tam.

All offer itself a place for artist,  musician,  philosopher, peace-seeker, or set free a burdened mind. One should spend some quiet time here first to sight-seeing, then sit down on a piece of rock in front of the wide ocean wonder.

You on the Yellow rock, embrace the Greenish Blue ocean under the Sky and stay very still to hear the whisper of Nature's Song in the seabreeze, from the forest, the breaking waves, the hellos from the hovering eagle or a dashing kingfisher. Try to discover the bueaty and words of wisdom yourself.

In the 1950s I know of a professor who came once every few years for a hide-away for few days here in a cave. He was a humble scholar, an adviser to the president's office of a powerful regime at his time. 

Nam Tam Wan is also home to several institutes which train people with visioned calling to care about others in despair. It is good to come to Nam Tam Wan.....

pls enjoy 




Hello Everybody,

It is a happy time to go down the CC memory lane again and glad to recall some long-lost scenario related to the aerial photo in one of the previous postings. A photo of the south island of Cheung Chau as seen by air pilots over the Vicinity of the Laura's Mystery Rocks  and the Peak Road west area.

( Mystery Rock, Aerial View ):

These pilots would come over from the Italian Beach (also known as Pak Cho Wan),  follow the Peak Road west, encounter the two Barbers Poles of the Radar House by their west, and fly over the huge boulder west of #27 house. Now the jetliner already on a gentle descending flight path homing onto the Tai Choi Yuen, a valley of farming and residential mix, at about 300 feet level and unload the landing gear.

The continual jet engine noise thundering upon the community below is truly deafening. A diagonal line cutting through the upper-left quadrant of this photo below would be part of the flight route mentioned here.

Select ' Nam Tam Wan of Cheung Chau ' from 

Now the jetliner would go on a level flight at about 200 feet, over the valley of rows of farmer's fields, my home at the top of other side of the valley, the Government High School, the Power Station. There were lots of old-grown trees along the way and the last house they flew over was the island's Police Station on the beachhead of Tung Wan Beach. Beyond this point the jetliners would increase the throttle and retract the landing gear, taking off to its flight again at a higher level. The entire CC passing is somewhat over a mile long. Or about fifteen to twenty seconds depending on actual flight speed.

There is a rear view photo as the plane passing over The bueatiful Tung Wan, from the same '18 districts/islands photo gallery ' . Select the 2nd ' Aerial view of Cheung Chau'. The entire flight path is on the left, you may sort out the details here yourself.

In the 1950s and 60s the Peak Road west also offered a good place to enjoy the airliners lineup as they 'tried' to land on Cheung Chau.  The airliners or later the jetliners would fly in from about 5 km south-west from the Italian Beach  on descend by homing onto the CC NDB radio signal station (Locals called it the Radar Station). This flight path would give the pilots a direction heading to the next NDB station at the Stonecutter Island. 

While over the airspace of the south island of Cheung Chau, usually they were flying way below the 1050 feet ceiling. However most commercial jetliners would take on a let-down approach to as low as about 250 feet during passing over the south island. That was quite an awesome viewing to many islanders and youngsters liked myself. Of course the pilots couldn't located the runway, there was none actually, so they headed up again as they reached over the water of the Tung Wan beach and flew toward the Stonecutter Island in the western Victoria Harbour where they would turn right to over the city of Kowloon, and then proudly made a cool and very tight turn right in front of the notorious Checkerboard seconds before the final Kai Tak Airport landing.

Most people outside the Cheung Chau island did not know much about the CC NDB approach. Government never talk about it. More than once an air-traffic controller came visiting my family and he didn't tell me anything. Maybe he wanted no trouble on his job.

Nevertheless, we now learned from retired pilots that some of them did enjoy the CC NDB Approach, quite exciting as for a real man! And I know it very well.

The joyful runs ended in the early 1970s with newer flight path system called the CH NDB and later the CH VOR/DME....IGS.... pretty confusing. Which just meant the jetliners would no longer fly over the south island and on let-down approach, but would fly over the north island on a higher level like 1000 feet or so. A less risky approach to the island.

As a kid, I enjoyed the awesome passover and its deafening noise! They flew over my head many times a day for many years! Children of Cheung Chau had named a game they loved to play in small group as ' hopping (on) the airplane game' and it could well be inspired by the joy of watching those low flying passing airplanes.

There is a set of old Cheung Chau photos taken by the Global-Mariner, from the hill-top of Peak Road west--the Radar Station area. They were the few nearest equivalent views of the air travellers could have seen through the left-side windows of the airplanes. And the flight route was just along the outside of the right margin in the first picture.

Here is a dreamed dialogue between the Control Tower at Kai Tak and a B707 pilot in 1965:

Pilot:  Hello Kai Tak , we are CA501, 10 km west of CC NDB and closing in, for Kai Tak on RWY 13, over.

Tower: CA501,  CA501, we read you. Welcome to the Colony. The weather is near perfect with just a mild shower cloud 600 feet above Cheung Chau NDB vicinity. Please keep 180 knots as you're OK to proceed with due care. Over.

Pilot:( the B707 just enters in the dark cloud) Jolly Good! Thanks Tower, over.

Tower: CA501, CA501, where are you? we don't see you on the screen.  Please report position! over.

Pilot: (trying to identify the island features amid the wetty cloudy air)

Pilot: CA501 calling Kai Tak, we are fine! over.

Pilot: CA501 just coming out of the CC shower Cloud  bueatifully at 300 feet and still on gentle descend. Speed 180 knots, holding well and just passed the CC NDB in good wet. Over.

Pilot: Hey, look, there they are... the Mystery Rocks group on the cliff nearby, beyond the two Barbers Poles. over.

Tower: This is Kai Tak calling CA501. Happy to hear you're OK! Just to let you know that  my boy at the Cheung Chau Police Station has his ground-to-air missile ready to shoot any planes flying below the 199 feet threshold for protecting the island. Am I making it very clear to you? over.

Pilot: CA501 understands Kai Tak's joky reminder very well and is just now passing over CC at 200 feet with a free shower wash, over...... this bueatiful island. over.

Tower: CA501, your Cheung Chau Passover's well done.  Your next call is about 10 km ahead. Good Luck! But be serious to watch out for the hillside Checkerboard ahead prior RWY 13, it is a huge sucker-Magnet, over.

Pilot: CA501 calling Tower. Thanks for Checkerboard advance warning, since  the ChessMaster already missed the flight. None of us on-board would dare to play the game. No match today. over.

Tower: CA501, anything else we can do for you, over.

Pilot: CA501 calling Kai TaK, just give us a million dollars. over.

Tower: OK CA501, That's easy indeed. The cash car is sitting on the runway to meet you! Over.

Pilot: Oh my Heaven! over.

End of the Dreamed talk!!

Hope that someone will share on the same topic.  Thanks



PS a picture covering the flight path will be posted later. The mystery rock group can also be seen too.

For aviation enthusiasts, this technical document entitled Aeronautical Information Publication published in the 1950s available  on shows the approaches to Kai Tak after 1945 via Cheung Chau Island and/or Waglan Island up till the opening of the reclaimed single runway in 1958.

The Cheung Chau Non-Directional Beacon (CC NDB) was a homing, holding and let-down facility. The CC NDB instrument let-down approach was a "figure of eight configuration" whereby an aircraft would make its descent over Cheung Chau tracking inbound, then outbound and finally inbound again in the expectation that the flight would "break cloud" and become visual with terrain and the surface for continued flight towards Stonecutters Island and Kai Tak. If the flight did not have visual reference after Cheung Chau, the approach would be aborted.

The "barber poles" described previously are the CC NDB station aerials which have since been decommissioned.

The CC NDB Instrument Approach Chart prior to the decommissioning of Kai Tak Airport can be seen here





Thanks Moddsey,

The materials are  great, quite a treasure to read, and helpful to understand the reason behind the frequent air traffic over my house in all those years.

I was so happy to watch all those propeller-flyers flew over my childhood landscape near the CLCY village. In the early1950s, they appeared from behind the green grassy hill, and dashing towards the airspace between the Island's Police Station and the Hospital by the Tung Wan beachhead, before vanishing in the distant air. Back then, they flew at a slower speed and gave more time to enjoy seeing their details. Now I had to go to the library or the internet  to sort them out with my blurry memory.

In the mid-1960s I also had an opportunity to spend a month at HAECO  of Kai Tak as a summer student  that provided the really close look on lots of jetliners I used to watch in the overhead sky.

My only regret is never take any photos at them myself as, color prints were quite expensive and also other things had occupied my activities. Now, for me I would like to paint them on my drawing artworks as one of the retirement hobbies soon come in sight.

And ....there seemed to be some kind of float-planes flying-by .... the early BOAC Short Sunderland ( or a variant ?)..which came to my attention lately .. It would be nice if they had been allowed to land and to moor on the water in front of the coconut trees of the Tung Wan beachland,

Imagine... how nice!



The tiny Snug Cove just southwest of and below the House #29 site , ie behind the Mystery Rock, was the one where the Ziegler kids had dismantled a live British Navy mine and  also found a beached whale during their stay of 1937 to 1941, was part of the Kau Kwun Tong coastline.

It had couples of rock table on the shore quite suitable for fishing activity. My primary school teacher, Mr. Tong, loved to come here doing late-night fishing when the moon was high and bright among the twinkling starry night during the 1950s. Usually nobody would come to this barren and remote part of the island at night for there were many grave sites along the pathway down the shore. People were afraid of ghost stories from this area but he just did not fear of them. Even his children were happy to go with him at times for there was so much joys to their neighbours and friends who were being invited to share the mid-night seafood porridges in chats and laughters.

Mr. Tong had told us that on more-than-one occasions that he saw some bright round glowing white or yellowish flying object or objects silently hovering over the water of the eastern horizon , not knowing how far away they were. The size of each luminous object may be small or large seemingly due to the changing distances. The biggest one appeared to be slightly bigger than a full moon  and the trace of each flight seemed to be zig-zag-able in swift movements unlike of any kinds of aircraft. Durations of sightings were by few minutes, he insisted. He did not understand the sightings but he could tell these luminous objects were not from any aircrafts to the best of his knowledge.

I myself had one different UFO sighting on Cheung Chau.

So... I left the island first time in the mid-1960s for attending boarding school in Hong Kong. There I learnt with curiosity how to spot the solar reflection by the tiny satellites in orbital motion before and after sunset. The Space Race between the Two was on and I just loved to follow any update news about it. So I had certain knowledge to spot them. Mostly they looked like a tiny star with obvious much faster speed on its own locus in the sky. Sometimes It allowed me to watch the same satellites by weeks or months, in the early evening.

One evening back on Cheung Chau, probably in the summer of 1965, while I was watching the Milky Way in the backyard, something really awesome just suddenly appeared.

I was standing the way I used to spot the on-coming air traffic passing over the hill at CC NDB, that was facing the southern sky. The trees and other landscape features blocked off part of the skyscape on my left, leaving a good portion of the south and southwestern sky unrestricted and cloudlessly clear to be watched. We had a WWII vintage binocular, a trophy of my dad from a battlefield decades ago, that enable me better in study of the beautiful Milky Way in fashion, but it was not on hand as the unexpected event suddenly caught me unprepared.

While swirling my head to look up like a turning radar screen, there it was a huge green glowing object silently sailing high above my overhead sky against its background of multitude of stars in the Milky Way that was partly blocked off by the branches and twigs of the trees. Yet, the bright light of the  green halo penetrating through the voids among the foliage hindrance, was enough to attract my attention right before it came to the clear portion of the sky.

Was it a UFO? Oh my Heaven!  My very own sighting of a possible alien UFO flying right over my airspace? Immediately I paid full attention to observe it with great caution, I didn't even have time to call others in the house.

The luminous object seemed to be round, and  had a size of 10% full moon, glowing in bright green halo, completely silent and moving on a seemingly parabolic path from northeast towards southwest west direction. It was very big and bright like a fireball but in green instead of iron-red as compared to the starry background. It was not possible to figure out the real shape due to its intense luminosity and the darkness of the sky. It looked to be on a sub-orbital altitude that it never drop to the horizon during the sighting. With excitement, I started by instinct to count its flight time with  piano ticking skill. I estimated that was about 6 seconds before it vanished into the depth of darkness of the western sky.

Back then I didn't know how to estimate its speed. Nowaday in hindsight of the sighting evidence, I could do a rough speculation on its speed. Based on the 6 seconds I counted, it covered a good distance of over 60 miles at least. But let just assume a smaller distance of 48 miles. So that means a speed of 8 miles per second; that equals ( 3600 seconds times 8 miles per second )  miles per hour. So the speed was at least 28,800 mph which is a speed enough to travel free from the pull of gravity and easily manage ins and outs out the earth orbit! It confirms that was a spaceship.

I never see the same ever again even though I was hopeful for its return at that time. I just don't have a clue to explain.  It's not like airplane, nor  satellite, nor a spaceship or rocket I knew of at that time, nor any similarity of asteroid or meteorite.

Why it had the bright green light? Could it be having a physical shape but the unlit section of which was being unseen in the darkness except the round luminous section. By the way, if and only if, the object was indeed at high altitude, then it must be pretty massive like a  alien starship Galaxtica. Judging from what I saw, it must have enormous kinetic energy way excel of our human technology can attain at that time. And I started to accept.....

It could well be my personal experience of  The Encounter of the 3rd Kind....

So Amazing and So fascinating!!

Thanks Heaven, and  Salom to our Universe Visitor!


Dear Tung Lin

I lived in Hong Kong between 1966 and 1985. As you may have noticed I have posted some questions on Gwulo about unusual animal stories in Hong Kong.Do you remember any strange stories yourself or from your friends and family? By unusual I mean sea serpents,crocodiles,black leopards,etc. I am particularly interested in stories of dholes/jackals.

Best wishes,Richard Muirhead

Hello Richard,

Back in the 1950s, the Colony was still wildlife everywhere except the city districts. We didn't need Hollywood to brighten up our storyline.

Once having Dim Sum lunch with my family elders after a storm, we saw a very large snake swimming in the river by Sha Tin's mudland and everyone were excited and amazed to watch from a safe distant ,for a quarter hour, as it seemed to struggle against the angry downstream current rushing to the seawater. It must be more that ten feet long.

Once on a hot day ferrying back to Cheung Chau island from Hong Kong, a school of dolphins were chasing the ferry from behind. Those day, the rear of the ferry's upper deck was like a open balcony and soon all the passengers were aroused to enjoy watching the happy chasers. In minutes the dolphins passed us on the left and made lots of noise and splashings along the course. They surely won the race and screamed wild in victory!!

But the most famous or notorious events were the sighting of South China Tigers in the New Territories. They were being spotted on various parts of the New Territories causing nerveous incidents for not only the Chinese and the British but also the Japanese in WWII. Few were captured or shot dead or unmercifully slaughtered for tasty reason or trophy of selfish glory, near  Kowloon's city outskirt by the Shing Moon Reservoir area or remote hillside forests in Tai Po, Yuen Long or Fan Ling ...etc  area. Yet most of them left the New Territories without a trace, holding the population in fear for long while.

We liked to read the news updates when the Colony's safety was shaken really hard by some lost-minded beasts.

As to jackals, I think on the Lantau island's terrains, folks hunted on a kind of popular small wild dog known as Wong Gann (means Yellow little Jackal). Occasionally the poor unlucky animals were being entrapped and were brought to the street market for the highest bidder as a choicy rarity meat. 

There was also an unexplained sighting of a strange long-eared wild man jointly acknowledged by the children of the CLCY village. In our adulthood, some of us did talk about our own sightings on the same subject as a real  bizaare experience. Will report mine's later.

Real funny!


Hi Tung

Thank you very much for your reply with the interesting strange animal information.I am very interested in the long eared wild man.What year would that have been and whereabouts was the CLCY village? I think the Gwulo group and I would be very interested to hear more details of this.How big was it and what colour was the hair? Could it have been some strange sort of monkey?

About the Wong Gann.Was that the same animal as the dhole/Indian red dog? I mean, was the yellow colour the colour of the juvenile of the dhole ?

Were there more tigers in Hong Kong during the War because they escaped from zoos or because the Japanese were too busy occupying Hong Kong to stop them crossing the border from China?I read a story of a mystery cat in Shing Mun or Shung Shui in the early 1960s I think.I am also trying to find out about a dugong/sea cow photographed in Hong Kong in 1940 or 1941.Do you think the mermaids reported near Hong Kong once were really dugongs?

Best wishes,Richard

In the 1950s the tiny island of Cheung chau was quite a different world as being shown on many photos seen on the Internet.

The CLCY villages remains as The CLY village ( Chuen Li Yuen or Chuen Li Garden) that is on the rocky headland at the end of Chung Hing Str. Just below and outside its western boundary there is tiny temple ( the Tin Hau Kung, a shrine for Ocean Mama ). The CLY villagers still enjoys relatively spacious territory with green belt of forest as compared to other dwellers by the west Harbour.

People would show the way if being asked. But the old day beauty of CLCY is lost for sure.



Thanks Tung

I wonder if the ape-man with big ears was a kind of gibbon,orang-utan or monkey as the CLCY Village was near a forest? 

What year did you see it?


Hello Rich,

Many old photos that overlooking the ferry harbour on the west side of the Cheung Chau island were being taken from the Peak Road West area near the Radar Station. The place always presents a paramount view good enough for postcard. The CLCY village always appeared as a foreground feature on the photos' bottom-left.

If one examines the 1930s picture, there were couples of gigantic rock formations amid the forest over this tiny headland. It seems to be quite undeveloped but it had a well of plentiful fresh water for the village families around as well as for a tofu maker. The most demanding factor for tofu making is the good quality of the water; that's why this well was always protected from outsiders by a watcher family who also supervised the fruit trees  especially the dozens guava here in seasons. The watcher had been quite mean to us, always gave warnings as if we were criminals by birth.   However we never actually got punished for picking the fruits.

West of CLCY this  land was owned by another rich landowner who set up a private forested garden with clearing overlooking the narrow sidewalk on the shoreline and the fishing junks close-by. We never know much on this side of the forest until the 1960s.

Further west was another hidden valley of the fishermen folks. They built their homes on the junks that were settled on the valley's mudland. These boats were only in the water during rainstorm days. In the 1950s folks of this area were like squatters without a proper land entitlement but more likely on a traditional agreement with some local owners. (Today this squatter land no longer exists.)

The long-eared wild man we saw , around 1953-54, was half-naked, perking on the bushland bordered between this hidden valley and the CLCY village. He was also seen covered with fur skin and leafy clothing with weird hair decorations from seashells, eyes so red like being on fires and voiced very low-pitched as a very old man. He was big, more hairy than normal, kind looking and quite majestic, like a Chief from the Amazon forest. His ears were very big, long and curled up with hairy tip on each top. He smoked with a very long bamboo pipe and seemed always on guard on his tiny territory with a rod like a prophet under the torching sun, sometimes eagles and ravens flying in circle in the sky above. More than once he wanted us to come closed to his den which was like an opening to some unknown shelter next to this forest. For the sake of our parental advice, we never accept his plea, our curiosity always directs our thinking that he might be a fairy because  his location was on the edge of the area known as Sen Yan Jiang which means The Fairy's Well.

real mystery,

and that's not the only fairy we knew (?) on the island.

Anyone know about this one: A legendary story of the " Flock of Silver Chics in the Bamboo Forest near Pai Tai Temple"

Believe it or not!




 PS a good look of the area can be seen from the harbour view ( 1st photo bottom right) from Globalmariner's Web page: Junk Harbour Cheung Chau

Who was the Vice Principal of Ching Tak Kindergarten (CTK) on Cheung Chau?

OK, here are the clues:

1. Time: four decades ago

2. Color: Like majority Chinese

3. Dutiful: never leave school boundary all year round, watch and patrol on most activities indoor and out, always come to the staff office to check things out without any VP style, never disrupt a class in progress but able to calm student unrest simply by a nose-up show-up, however VP sometimes got to chase off the sparrows that fly and wander into the classroom that wound cause everyone jumping up at once joyfully to cheer for VP's athletic skill for VP deserves all noisy applauses.

4. VP knows many languages for VP understands and never discriminate people by race although VP can't either read or write any of them. Just look into VP's beautiful big eyes that you surely know VP must be very clever and indeed VP knows how to go inside or outside when the door is closed. Isn't it  amazing! Marvelous!! And every time a stranger comes visiting the school, VP wound take a watchful perk on a high place from the roof-top or some tree branches before reporting of new arrival.

5. VP is so kind, although VP has a body-length whip but never use it to discipline students; just like Charlie's Hooked Stick-- only a real buddy for self-entertaining.

6. VP loves classical music. On the high-pitched frequencies of the soprano violin, VP must lie dowm flat to enjoy but get up to run on Beethovan's concertos.  

7. VP is so humble. VP doesn't show off the knowledge. VP responds to all enquiries by asking: "What is that?  What is that ?" in cantonese----which sounds like: (  "mu-yea-ah?  mu-yea-ah? " or " me-o-w, me-o-w " when saying it really really slow)


So who is the VP of CTK on Cheung Chau?

Anyone knows?




What is the story about the flock of Silver Chicks?

Yes, for a while I was busy of other things, unable to keep up my previous intention on the stories on Cheung Chau. I still do searching for favourite antiquated island pictures posted on computer and think hard for what's still in my memory.

For example, those on '1930s Cheung Chau' clearly show the abundancy of old grown trees in this fish-port township. Here the magnificient banyan trees were like the landmarks for each section, with a street name, of the few long avenues linking the north and south islands of Cheung Chau.  Maybe quite weird to most westerners yet absolutely logical to many local islanders, a simple shrine must be found at every location of the huge Banyan tree  as if one of the living gods is in business ready to listen the people's prayers at the tree. Like many Chinese southerners, every old-grown banyan tree is being regarded as a god-tree, or a Wishing Tree . These locations under the spreading of the Banyan tree, especially on a hot summer's day, were indeed very easy to slow down one's busy day. One would  see some folks come here for rests and gossips, and could even learn stories about the kindness of those gods of the Banyan Tree.

It was said  long long time ago a poor CC islander, not sure of his name now,  had a lucky strike with a tree-god near the location of the present-day Pai Tai Temple. It happened probably one or two centuries ago. The tiny island  Cheung Chau was already well-known to the shipping traffic as an outpost for fishermen vessels, western traders, legal mariners and pirates as well that entering the south China waterway. 

Being very tired of a day's toil, this fellow fell asleep under a Banyan tree and he had a dream that urged his action to rush to the small forest at the north shore of the main harbour, a open area at the foot of the hill there. So he woke up and went there immediately. Yet nothing was either new or so different to be discovered, there stood the houses and boat-houses near the tiny forest and of course with bamboo trees as boundary between some neighbours. Everything there was so ordinarily familiar.

Typically besides people and children there maybe dogs and cats in the yards. Pigs really like to rest under the shade of big tree. As for the hens family, they like to hang out around a bamboo shrubbery nearby and that suddenly caught his attention. A particular group of little chicks seemed to be  brighter than usual like silver under the sun. They didn't lose the intensity even as the miniature group was moving into the shade of the bamboo shrubbery area. His dream under the Banyan tree now seemed make sense to him. He felt something very unusual just going on and he tried to approach the silvery chicks but he soon lost sight on the them entirely. Openly under the sky, they just disappeared among the bamboo trees. So strange !! He asked others if they also saw the same things but in vain! No body saw what he thought he saw.

So with this vision in mind he worked even harder to save enough money in order to buy out the land where the silver chicks disappered. And years later he claimed of his lucky strike ----there were substantial amount of currency in solid silver buried under the bamboo shrubbery. This tiny piece of land in his name had secured very well the ownership of everything on and below within its boundary. Of course he was graciously rewarded. And since then his family continued to be one of the rich families on the tiny Cheung Chau island.

By the way, the location of Silver Chicks Treasure is just a stone's throw away from the Staging Ground of the nowaday and world famous  Annual Bun Festival.

What I am not sure about is this: Chronically which appeared first? the Silver Chicks or the Pai  Tai Temple.

I really don't know. How true it is? You decide!

Next: The mystery of a little concealed dungeon on Cheung Chau, by the hillside of the Fa Peng headland within the ex-European zone where some of the european houses once stood.



Thanks Tung, that's a good story. With its history of pirates, maybe there really was some buried treasure to be found?

Regards, David

It seems to be no dispute about the pirate leader Cheung Po Tsai of the 18?0s and his activities in the South China coastal waters. In the end, he was remembered with respect from people as the oriental Robinhood, an outlaw of charity who cared about his people by robbing the riches.

A friend of mine had once told me that his great grand father was the imperial court appointed official who negotiated the surrender of Cheung Po Tsai to the Ching Dynasty regime since the authority never able to catch him. Finally Cheung agreed to accept the offer and was relocated to the Guangxi province as a land-based official. No more oriental Robinhood at the sea since.

But the legend is quite alive because the Cheung Chau island has one of his hiding caves.

Yes, maybe his treasures too....somewhere

That's why we liked to check all over the island in our childhood days. And we discovered the little dungeon in the Fa Peng peninsula

Details later




Hello folks,

I need help!

One of the many mysteries on this beautiful island is: who planted those rare Erythrina caffra trees there and in what year?

Back in the good  old 1950s and 60s, the shorelines of both the crowdy fishermen harbour and the gulf of Tung Wan beach had dozen of Erythrina trees. They seemed growing very well near the salty water, even yards away from the harbour.

As for the proper name of these trees, no one on the island seemed to care about. They just didn't know. So some names came up by imaginations, as some villagers would often do. Names such as Cock's Crest Tree, Water Barrel Tree,..... I would like to call them the Chinese New Year Tree since the firey blossom always falls on the Chinese New Year season. They are actually the African Coral Tree, probably introduced to other parts of the world by means of seafaring human activities long long times ago.

Why should I mention about this tree ? Our yard at home had had a twin set of the huge and very old-grown Erythrina caffra  trees which, I believe, were the biggest and oldest of its kind for sure on the CC island. The diameter of their trunks were one being more than 4 feet across and the other was about 3 feet something.  They could be well over hundred years old  at least before our occupancy there. We did like to take photos near  them with visiting guests sometimes. I speculate they were planted by the early missionaries from Australia or New Zealand because our yard was once the site of a bible school or gathering place some long times ago..I know that the landlord around these Erythrina Tree region was a local Christian convert. During the 1940s, he donated a small portion of his land just next to the two special huge trees, to a local church ( which remains fairly alive in serving the island community today ) at the time when the local and western missionaries were pioneering their good works for the islanders. .

It seems that most Erythrinas trees that were known to me before are no longer there now. I have tried the Streetview of Google to look for them and the result is not very exciting at all. There are lots of information about this tree from the online internet now. Should anyone remember or know about these trees on Cheung Chau, I would like to listen the stories related to these trees..

I know through news reports that the trees were also on the Stanley area of southern Hong Kong. I also found a couple of same type ( almost )  by the Sydney Harbour National Park at Chowder Bay of the Mosman in Sydney ( Australia ), within walking distance from the famous Taronga Zoo. They blossom around July-August (winter under the southern sky). Over there the flowers attract many colourful birds to spend their days with them.

My memory lane of it :

I used to enjoy to see those passing jetliners, guided by the CC NDB signals, flying over just few hundred feet above our home, through the voids of the Erythrinas' thick and magnificient spreading in summer.

But for its awesome wonder, it has to be in the dry winter days which could be sunny but very cold, from Christmas through the Chinese New Year, numerous clusters of eye-catching red Erythrina flower bundles would appear like sprouting all over the bare and leafless branches against the clear blue sky. Just these two gigantic flowering trees alone greatly transforms the airspace of the entire garden. One would be happy because of the blossoms. It totally looks like going to heat up the chilly winter with these glowing flowers, a perfect gift of decoration by Nature for the seasonal celebrations. They were so proudly out-performed but without jealousy at the humble hedges of poinsettia plants in the garden below them. Of course, various kinds of birds would come in to join the red flower party too during the daytime !!

That was a perfect scene for any artists!!

So amazing! !

Thanks Heaven for  another piece of Nature's Song : The Erythrina Caffra Concerto below the CC NDB !!!




PS I found a comparable scene at

Erythrina-caffra-coral-tree.jpg, by Janet Davis


Tung, you might find something about them in HKGRO:

The annual reports of the Botanical and Forestry Department might have a mention of them if you're lucky.

You could also see if the HK Gardening Society know the answer:

Regards, David

When I lived at La Hacienda, Mt Kellett, The Peak Hong Kong island 1966-85 there was a huge,old tree that I never knew the species of. If I find a photo of it I`ll try and post it here.

Do you remember any more unusual Hong Kong fauna stories?


Hi Tung,

Is this the same type of tree?

Erythrina caffra ?

I saw the flowers this morning on a walk along the path below Lung Fu Shan on Hong Kong island.

Regards, David

Thank you folk for responding on the topics about the CC Erythrina Caffra tree.Yes, The tree in the picture is Erythrina Caffra.  It is a wonderful decorative tree which can also be found even on many South Pacific Islands and the Hawaii Islands,,,

But right now , my thought is with the families of the victims at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe's Hostage Incident recently in city centre of Sydney.  I 'd been there before. The memory of the place is still very fresh in my mind.  I pray that Heaven will grant Comfort and Peace to those being in sorrow, grant them the Strength to live each day, and the Hope to show their Loss will bring Greater Understanding between People.

Few years ago, during a visit to my mom ( Soon Kan )  I was lucky enough to enjoy ,in a very limited time slot, the Erythrina blossoms by the eastside of the Park at Chowder Bay ( once was a naval base) and later that afternoon I was taken to the Lindt Chocolate Cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee and a sandwich snack with my sibling. We were having great time for the rarity occasion since we live away across oceans. And mom was stll doing great there too for Heaven have been very gracious to her. .

While we all have different journeys in life, let's not forget some special flowers also are grown for each of us for some very meaningful reasons. As for me, they watch me and my family, including the family cat and her kittens, growing up through my  teenage years !!!   What's yours that the Nature provides?

Thanks Heaven !!!



Hello David,

Thanks for the picture of the Erythrina tree.

I guess the climate decades ago is different from today's because there are still some green leaves attached while the some early blossom appears, indicating the weather is not cold and dry enough for shedding off all the leaves during the fall season. I try to figure out more information from your photo.

Those appears like a length of curved chopstick on the thinner branches is actually the handle of a single flowering cluster remained after the blossom. Most opened flowers will loosen off to the ground. They attract the ants, flies and other insects as the nector is quite gluey and probably is a food to them. Some of the flowers on the branch handle continues to develop the fruit body in form of legume up to about 8 to 10 inches long with several bean pockets. These bean are poisonous but, once hardened, can be used as ornamental stuff. They too will finally fall to the ground during the summer as the leaves are in full flourish. I used to collect the legunes and the beans for fun. .

Of the picture there are only three flower bundles  For a healthy tree, it would have two or three dozens instead. I speculate this is due to the overgrown around the tree's rooting ground, causing constant malnutrition. The flowering can be improved with the removal of all vegetation below its spreading.

The wood of the tree is very light so the depletion of root nutrition will make its branches dangerously fragile and vulnerable to high winds like typhoon and gusty winter air. If some branches keep broken off due to the weakness of this kind. Eventually the tree will die branch by branch as termite would colonise the tree progressively. An accident happened in Stanley of Southern Hong Kong few years ago in which one unlucky schoolgirl was crushed to dead while walking under the collapsing Erythrina ( which was quite old-grown ). So sad because the Tree Department did not properly protect the Erythrina Tree.

The accident could have been avoided if TD did their duty well. The Erythrina Caffra needs a wide open space and ground which must get enough water from the regular rainfalls in order to substain for a healthy crown of foliage on every trunk of a huge old-grown, insteads the entire tree just stood on a well of soil in the middle of a narrow road side-walled by opposite buildings. Even worse, people by the street level even rinse waste water which is toxic enough to cause harms over the well of soil, sickening the tree even more. So mindless!!

I hope we learn something from the Erythrina Tree.

I do have some black and white pictures of the twin Erythrina Caffra Trees with line-ups of students and staff of the CTK during the 1960s. Here's one:


{C}CTK_erythrina.JPG, by tung lin{C}


By the way,                       Merry Christmas to Everyone!!

                                    O Holy Night,  The Erythrinas Blooming.......


erythrina caffra flower bundle.jpg

{C}erythrina caffra flower bundle.jpg, by tung lin{C}

Thanks Heaven!!!



Update: Aug 01 2021-----Will try to post more CTK photos in future and let us figer out how old the Twin Erythrina Trees could be!

Hello Richard,

Yes, I remember there is one other huge fruit tree at the CLCY village, not knowing its proper name. There is not a second of the same kind on the entire island and in fact I never ever see the same fruit appear in any market place.

Every late summer the CLCY landowner would send his family folks and a team of workers with several big bamboo baskets to harvest the fruits of this huge tree. A day of excitement for these people. The landowner used to stare at the tree as if coming to visit an old friend. He smiled like an idiot, maybe he was the planter of it. Who knows? The tree was so huge with numerous branches, about 15 meters in height covering area of about a row of three houses. Children who were not afraid of the height could climb up the branches and easily run and jump between the thicker branches. The real risk however was the sudden appearance of snakes, usually quite poisonous. We always keep in our mind that was also their territory and we be very watchful over our trails and steps there.

Each full grown leaf is a large singular one, about 6 to 8 inches long and as thick as the Bayan's. It stands well against the force of typhoon. The crown of the tree can shield off the heat of a hot summer day, providing a shady, cozy forest air pocket below  for kids during the summer holidays. As a decidureous tree, all the leaves which turns yellow and dried, would fall on the ground. Some villagers would collect them to be a fuel for the wood stove. Many of those fallen leaves would eventually losing all the greenish ingradients but still have their entire leaf fibres remain nicely intact would be picked up by kids and be dyed with flower colors for turning into a craft such as the bookmark.

The fruit, as mysterious as it can be and having a size of a child's fist, is like a smaller green soursop with a very soft chicken-skin like surface, and the ripen fruit is turning to greenish yellow or orange similar to the papaya's color. If not pick in time, it will fall to the ground and burst apart on the ground because the meat is quite like a portion of yellow jelly, much softer and juicier than a banana.Then they soon become rotten in the open attracting many bees and flies. So, using a hook at the end of a long bamboo stick, we pick those which is at the lowest level, just as they begin to turn from pure greenish to half yellowish. Their shape is quite variable. It can be of two, three, or even four lobes, quite asymmetrical and irregular. Some can be round like an apple or a deformed pear other can look like a tongue. They never taste sweet but kind of mild sour to most. I don't really like them. But the fruit tree just overlooking the west end of our rowhouse. Many villager tenants love to eat them for free, and lots of them enjoyed the health benefits they claimed.

The landlord would sell portion of this special fruit harvest at his store near the ferry pier area. He did not have a proper name of the fruit for labelling. As usual, there is a make-up name which is so obscene. Sorry I won't tell here.

With a trunk of about 60 centimeters in diameter, the tree must be over 40 yrs old. I think it likely come from southeast Asia.

Any idea?



This is very interesting but I am unfamiliar with the tree

I have often wondered why (and I may be wrong)the Chenese Giant Salamander is not recorded in books on the wild life of Hong Kong when it seems to occur just across the border in Shenzhen and elsewhere in Guangdong Province? OK its probably been sold in the past in food markets but surely it must have turned up now and then?

i appreciate this isn`t a zoology forum but perhaps its been mentioned in an old newspaper or book?




Hello Rich,

Lantau the biggest island in the Colony of Hong Kong and a BIG BIG  brother island of the nearby Cheung Chau. Hunters there sometimes would sell their whatever trophies from Nature of the Wild at the pier area of Cheung Chau for cash benefits.

When I was really little, I heard Lantau was a hunter's paradise....almost anythings in the wild are hunt-able! Scouting was one of my dream that never come true to me. I didn't get in the right school those years.

Eventually, as a young teenager,  I made my decision one day! Then...

I went to the area near the Silvermine Waterfall couple times to catch some little fish for my aquarium. There are also snakes and other clawing creatures I had to watch out and avoiding confrontation. Back then I was just a kid who must run for life in any fearful condition. My friend Wing was so badly shaken when he was head to head meeting a wake-up snake.

I saw many huge mosquitos, about 2 to 3 inches long skating over the water surface. One of their predators could be Salamander.........possible too. If so, they probably are of smaller size like few inches to half-a-foot. I am not quite sure though. In the mud fields and the creeks there were plenty of Cat-fish, sizes from very tiny up to more than a foot long.

In the late 1960s, sense of protection and the bylaw had come to the public's attention. We just couldn't go there and  get whatever we would like.



Hi Tung,


Please can you tell me anything you know about a possible Hong Kong salamander.On Lantau?


I think there were Salamanders on Lantau Island but we never pay attention to their existence.

Back in 1950s & 60s, hiking over hill and valley on Lantau was quite easy because the grass field on the higher ground there was quite comfort to walk on. You see where you can go or not. So to get great view, just keep go up along the ridge of hills. I think we once climbed higher than 1200 ft' from the Silvermine Waterfall area. That was pretty exciting for us kids.

The experience would be very different for today as Lantau Island has changed a lot. One needs to plan ahead their routes now to prevent from get astray.

By the way.........

Does anyone know stories about the Adamastor Rock in the waterway between Cheung Chau and Lantau Island? and Good close-up photo of this Rock? Why this name?

Is it mysterious?



Hi Tung, I haven't heard of that before. Please could you make a Place for it ( to show us where it is?

Regards, David

An explanation is given here Another variation perhaps of the naming of the rock as viewed here

A marine light buoy is placed in the Adamasta Channel at the location.

Hi Moddsey,

Thanks for your reply.

I also found out from Google search that Adamastor was the name of a Portuguese light cruiser which run aground and being damaged in 1906 near Cheung Chau. The ship was built in 1898, so was quite new then. I speculated it was repaired in the shipyard of Hong Kong and the rock was so named after the incident.

As a matter of fact, in history, western power always give names to whatever islands or reefs  they ' discovered' and don't care about any dispute in the old barbaric way. But the ' Adamastor rock' may not be the case because Britain was already the ruler of Hong Kong and they can name it anyway sensible.

Yet ' Cheung Chau Reef'  is better known to many locals.....if they don't know its story or history!!

Can you tell more?



I tend to agree that the 'rock' was named after the Portuguese cruiser. The accident occurred on 11 May 1913. The cruiser was patched up, refloated and towed to the Hong Kong Whampoa Dockyard for repairs. The Adamastor was out of dock in mid-July and expected to sail the following month. The papers of the day have accounts of the accident.

Hi Moddsey,

Thanks for search result which helps me quite a lot for I would like to work on drawings and paintings on this piece of history.


Hello Everyone,

I am very interested in to know the locations of the old South Africa Coral Trees in Hong Kong  SAR today. I hope they deserve the attention and care treatments in Nature among the dense populated city.

Recently I working on a simple piano music about the Twin Erythrina Caffra trees from my CTK days and would like to share it with those who may have the same interest.




Hi Tung,

The flowers in the photo I posted above are on a walk along the path below Lung Fu Shan on Hong Kong island. It's a small open area that has been paved, but I'm not sure if the tree was planted by the government or by local morning walkers. I see I took that photo in December, so maybe good to ask again at that time when the flowers are in bloom.

Regards, David

PS Feel free to post a link to your music for anyone interested to take a listen to.

Hello David,

In the old day, friends kept asking what kind of tree that was and we just had no idea at all. So mysterious yet its flowering never fade away from my memory! The Twin EC at CTK had known to me from the very early day as being an infant. I have a photo showing I was carried in my mom's arm under one of the Twin EC. Based on the size, I estimate they were likely the first batch of imported trees during the mid-1800s.

Next time wherever if there are the dried EC seedpods fallen to the ground to be found, I hope, someone would help start more new plants. They are very ornamental and a paradise tree for some birds.

My music is near complete as far as the music score is concerned and will surely open to all who love to play it.

Warm regards


Hello folks,

I would like to thank gwulo ( how to pronounce it? ) for inspiration on many ideas.The music score, without lyrics, is basically done and will be released to be shared with others. Since I am really not a musician, to myself it is quite a bold project which motivates my desire to express or learn through using the electronic keyboard to create something within my limited ability. Hopefully we might enjoy it and have more other tree songs from others too.

I purposedly drop the word Caffra in order to include a much larger selection on various sub-trees under the Erythrina family. All their flowers bear many similarities. Therefore the title is to be called as The Song of Erythrina Flowers Wonders. Also can be : Song of Flowering Coral tree.

Will welcome other suggestions too!

Regards, Tung

Hi Tung, it's my attempt to write a roman alphabet version of 古老.

Regards, David

Hello David,

Good day!...........Now it seems quite cold and dry for this Winter in Hong Kong, is it not? I guess the season of the Erythrinas Blossom has come once again. Could you help to call for a photo taking or watching on this red flowers, which origin is from Africa or India. Hope to spread the beauty of this amazing Corel tree to warm up the City of Hong Kong. Kung Hey Good Health!!!




Recently I have an interest on the work the London Missionary Society during the early years, like 1905 and so on,  on the island of Chung Chau. That would be  records and files, even pictures  somewhere.

I have a feeling that the Twin Gigantic Erythrina Caffra Trees at the CTK kindergarten site was somehow an early location of their contact. The Twin Trees were so huge that I estimate that could be easily over 150 years in 1950s. I was there as a baby in one of my family photos.

Later on my father operated the CTK on the same old building site. Our neighbour was the Cheung Chau Church of the Church of Christ In China. Its forerunner was a mission church formed by London Misssionary Society in the early 1900s.

Several years ago, Sean had mentioned that his grand father received a Bible from Rev. Pearce of LMS. Would that be the same person?

And Where the LMS site on Cheung Chau in those early days? 




Thanks David,

& as for the Twin gigantic Erythrina trees, I suppose they were planted around early 1800s. They might be from India, .....What business they did on the CC island?  From many old pictures I also realise there once was a huge ' Rock' about 60 to 70 yards east of the bigger Erythrina tree. By my time, this huge Rock became a group of shattered boulders, with evidences showing dynamites were used to break it up and probably became constructional.

But during the 1800s, Cheung Chau was in the Cheung Po Tsai time. Maybe the Chinese navy need help from the British navy to shift out the pirates......... Can you be a little bit more creative.....

Regards, Tung

Hello David,

I always remember the beautiful CTK site with several huge trees. It was the rear portion of the green belt of thick forest begining from the shore at Hung Shing Temple, running through the land of Fong Pin Hospital and CC Residents Association and CC's Church of Christ in China, It also covered up Shun Tak Tong Xian Hwui (sound right?) and the Tai Sier Tann.

Today one can access the old CTK site by stepping up the lane way to Yan Chak Yuen from School Road. It is the same lane way to the CC's Church of Christ in China. There is a concrete signed open gate visible from the Intersection at School Road, about the same location of a garbage collection spot and a protestant church..The sign which is several steps  from the main School, tells the names of two or three buildings, namely, the Kam Kwong Kindergarten and Nursary, and the Church of Christ in China. So going up for about 20 plus steps, there was once a tiny Y-intersection (  going to the back of Tai Sier Tann, but may not exist now) just outside the building of  Shun Tak Tong Xian Hwu, one can see there stands a Bounary Stone. It could be under some bushes now!!

This stone can be lined up roughly from the St. John Hospital with Goa San Cheun Street across the valley of Tai Choi Yuen, all the way to the Fairly Well area.

As I remember our old landlord had told us that there  was a boundary line between the CTK and  CC in China because of the stone naerby. He thought the line was a guideline for an avenue to be constructed  in future.Therefore all new housings or properties must give up to government for a partial reservation on that purpose. Which means if everything goes as being said, one of the twin Erythrinas on the west would be directly in the way of such an avenue. Today the Erythrina site is the Yan Chak Yuen, having 3 (or 4) residetial blocks.

Again the Stone is about 60 plus feet before the entrance to the yard of YCY.


Do you want to check it out

Regards, Tung

This is my speculation....

It was probably a special fruit tree from India.

During the 1890s migrants from India tried to look for employments in Hong Kong, they first settled on the island of Cheung Chau as a step-over. They probably were asked to stay around the Tai Shek Hau area behind the Tin Hau Temple.The hillet here was full of boulders big and small.and it was not a good choice to be a village. So the colonial department might allow a temporary work camp for the Indian newcomers in transit to help develop the aera as much as they could do.

They probably did not bring their families with them. That explain why they vanished almost without a trace. And the mysterious fruit tree was then planted and grew very well since. That is the only evidence we have to conclude about their temporary stay, maybe just a few decades of the early colonial era. Not only that. they also started the small guava plantation too. But the fruits were quite bad, due to the poor quality of the soils.Only some yielded tasty guava.

Do you remember the long-eared wild men I once mentioned in one of this gwulo postings? He could be part of the evidence about the past existence of a Indian village or work camp there.

By the time the CLCY landlord made his claim on the property in the early 1900s (?), most Indian migrants no longer needed Cheung Chau island as the step-over to the City of Hong Kong ( ie Victoria )



A careful examination on the CTK site from the 1924 Nov 25 aerial photo of Cheung Chau, I actually realise there were dubiously a tiny forest of 4 to 6 huge Erythrina trees on the parcel of land there. These decideous forest in wintery Novemner can easily be identified among the other tree patterns with my rusty memory.The other huge decideous trees were the Chinese Greenberry Trees, but were exterior of the Erythrinas.The photo shows a clearing on the north-east with 2 to 3 tiny rowhouses by the huge rock mentioned earlier.

And about 1941,  2 to 4 huge Erythrina trees needed to disappear for the future church ground and the landlord's villa. ....Sounds good ?

Also, through gwulo, I realise in 1808 Daniel Ross of the Bombay Marine Co had his ship came ashore on Cheung Chau. What and why....Don't know. But that was the same years the navies of China and the Western counterparts were in hot hunting of the Pirate Cheung Po Tsai and his fleets in the same area.

My bold assumption is based on the timing that the Chinese Navy and Taxation or Custom Department were working in agreement to allow a tiny guest camp for the Western soldiers and sailors in transit when they helped searching the Pirate CPT on CC. The Erythrina Trees were planted on the camp ground to denote the location so that other western soldiers or sailors would know the place they could stay once they were invited therein. We don't know which foreign navies, British or Porteguees or both.

The origin of the Erythrina Trees can be traced from the records of the cargo log lists of the ships once anchored in the CC harbour. Good guess is from India. Just like the mysterious fruit tree of CLCY village. Somethings so nostalgic for the soldiers or sailors who usually were, hired to do the job, from India.

And the estimate of timing of the early 1800s is just so paradoxical!

Of course , no knowledge of the Cave of Cheung Po Tsai was ever made known to the Navies at that time since the CC islanders probably chose to protect their 'hero'.

Any other thoughts?


PS... Very sadly the remaining Twin Gigantic Erythrina Trees were eliminated when CTK turned into Yan Chak Yuen residence flats in early 1970s.



During my childhood years of the 1950s, we lived in a part of the oldest rowhouse among few houses on the CLCY village, which was right on the hillet behind the Tin Hau Temple of Tai Shek Hau district on CC.

You would discover over there was the largest forested area overlook the Main Harbour of CC. There also grew a wide variety of Tropical fruit tree which is rarely to be found on elsewhere on CC. However we don't see any Lychee nor Loongan ( dragon's eye )  trees---those were supposingly common in South China. And of the huge trees that stood tall and around the CLCY village, they were usually only one tree per speices if they looked to be non-local.

So you would see just one for the following speices: the Mysterious Fruit tree, the huge Starfruit tree, the huge Flaming Flower tree, the Fruitless Mango tree by the well, the huge Banyan tree,  and so forth.

One exception is the Guava tree. There was a small plantation within the village, a dozen or so remained quite fruitful as we knew them.

Another important clue is a lot of snake pits on the site. Some were known to be deadly to us if being bitten without anti-dose treatment within hours.

Local CC islanders won't like to live here. Can you imagine.....

My information from the mouth of the founding Landlord of CLCY indicates the following,

1 He was born around the 1870s

2 He, as a kid,  worked as a meter-carrier for the colonial serveyor on CC from about 1880s

3 The oldest rowhouse already existed before his claim over the CLCY site.

4 The site was vacant for years and nobody really wanted to live there.

5 His colonial boss allowed him to own this Land of  Snakes as free gift as the retirement benefits at the end of his Service. So nice!! About 1930s speculation.

That's why or could you

imagine the sightings of the Long-eared Wild man on the Bushes next to the CLCY in the early 1950s .... It could be the last menber ( & displaced ) of the Lost Community of India. And People from India respect snakes so nice that many even worship them as deity.  CLCY site was once a temporary work camp for people from India, to my opinion, was quite possible.

Be serious, I'm not kidding!!


Thanks for showing this photo as I'm pretty sure that I used to sit on those rocks to wait for the ferry back to Hong Kong island. I left HK in 2004, so haven't been to the rocks that I'm thinking of for a long time, but I used to spend Sunday of most weekends one one of the outlying islands, and whenever I visted Cheung Chau I followed a set routine - disembark, walk round the island on the pathways, then sit on some prominent rocks overlooking the ferry route to await the ferry that I wanted to catch back to Central. If the photo shows the same rocks, then the island in the background is Lantau, and the ferry from HK would approach from the right of this photo, to berth at the Cheung Chau ferry terminal to the left of the picture. 

Fun fact: each time, I would watch the approaching ferry for a while and try to time the end of my day's trip by climbing down off the rock and getting back to the ferry terminal in time to be early in the queue so as to get a good seat on the outside deck at the back (stern?) of the ferry, but not so early that I spent too much time waiting in the terminal that I could have spent sitting on the rock, still an acutely-remembered dilemma.

I was never able to get the dash down from the rock to the terminal right, and would always arrive 'late', when a large queue had already built up. But it was worth it for the sensation of waching the ferry approaching - always seemingly 'slowly' yet, and this was the game,  too quickly for me to beat it to the terminal!

Remember that the island in the distance is Lantau, and hopefully those rocks can still be found - they're some way from the concrete path and as I walked through the grass/knee-high plants to get to and from them I used to wonder if there were snakes around.

Best wishes,




I read your post about Cheung Chau with interest, especially the account of the shipwreck during Typhoon Ruby in September 1964. We were in our house in No. 18 Peak Road when the cargo ship came drifting helplessly out of the storm and was thrown against the rocky coast not far from us. It was a truly horrendous drama, and a sight I will never forget. Fortunately the ship lodged in a crevice and was therefore not smashed to pieces. There was nothing we could do to, but fortunately the emergency services came to assist the crew shortly after the shipwreck.  An aerial photo of the ship was printed in Hong Kong Annual Report 1964. I have mentioned this horrific memory in a Facebook posting titled "The Island of Adventure" on the Facebook group "Hong Kong in the '60s" on 31st May 2020. We spent numerous holidays on Cheung Chau in the 1950s and 1960s, so naturally I have many wonderful memories from the island. This memory is probably the most dramatic one.

Hello Shatin Boy,

Glad to know you have witness account on the Shun Fung shipwrecking on CC during the Typhoon Ruby Passover!! I wonder if you would post some related photos on the gwulo page here, for I don't really access to Facebook in most cases.

The location of the shipwreck is right up to an acute rocky shore of the tiny bay where Laura's mystery rock group is in the mid-hill background as seen from #25 or #26 Peak Road. Local kids knowed many wild pineapple plants growing in this cliffy area and some of them loved to harvest this tasty fruits despite of the risks of falling off the cliff.

It was just a few minutes walk from the CLCY village.

I once had a H K year book which includes a flyover photo above the shipwreck, That is the best memory remaining in my mind.

BTW, your stay address on CC is very close to Lok Yuen where a friend of mine once lived in those days.

Thank you for your sharing!


018 Facebook CC..jpg
018 Facebook CC..jpg, by From Hong Kong Annual Report 1964.

It brings back many happy memory too!



Recently I am lucky enough to reconnect with a childhood friend who was one of the few knowing the trick to climb up and play games on this huge tree! One needs to be very gifted for without any rope or ladder it is impossible to climb up vertically on this big trunk.  Hopefully he might share about his happy experience or knowledge with me about this tree.



Hello folk

Could some one on Cheung Chau tell me: What is the latest develpoment project on the site at the top of Go San Chuen Road?

From the empty field there, it seems to appear some new changes for the land use. I remember very well that was once the windy headland ideal for Kite Flying to many village kids. I hope it would be a open park again. Is it be good enough for the CC kids today?



I would like to help you, but I don't know about a Go San Chuen Road on our island.

Can you please check the spelling?



Hi Hans

A recent viewing on CC island through satellite image shows a change of land development on the site near the top of the Go San Chuen Road. My spelling to the name may be wrong, its local name in chinese would be 高 山 村 路 or  道。The lane  winds up to the Peak Road from Tai Choi Yuen Road, at a T intersection not too far from a church.

In the old days, there were only rowhouses or tiny bungalows in the area. That is how I remember in my memory.



Sorry Tung but I can't help you as I can't identify the location, even I know the island very well.

You may want to browse my Facebook as I have posted a lot of drone aerial pictures covering most of the island, and you may find the location and write a comment.

Or use and get the correct spelling of the road. 

Have a great day and health.



Thank you Hans,

Using the map link given by you, it appears as Ko Shan Tsuen area on the slope between Tai Choi Yuen Road and the Peak RoadThis map shows the site is full of trees.

The particular area would be the upper portion, the image I got for the same site has a big area of trees removed, even no grass on the ground.  It seems to be the same area we kids loved to fly our kites in our childhood days.

Is there some kind of new project or development going on now? The site has a very nice view to half of Cheung Chau's landscape plus all around!! Would be great for a new park to the CC islanders and tourists!!

Happy New Year!



Dear Tung,

I believe which place you referring on Google Map now. 

Over the past years there were many building sites to manly erect privates housings. 

This is one of them.

The government build many additional facilities as well. Some where needed and some are just white elephants in my opinion. 

I wish I could use a time machine and experience the view you had as children flying your kiters there.

Where are you based, nowadays?

I lived around Fa Peng for the past 17 years in 3 different houses. 

We just moved into Seascape Peninsula on 28 Don Bosco Road which used to be house 20. 

Have a great Sunday.



Hi Hans

When I had to move away to study and later to work in the City District, my mind didn't care about whatever changes going on the CC island. I didn't take much photos before leaving for Canada. So many photos available on the internet are indeed very helpful to solve my empty mind.

To me, the worse was that on my departure off CC I didn't say good-bye to many friends and acquaitances. They were the true beauty of CC islanders; they helped to enrich my brighter side of life in the early years.

About 20 years ago, being an outsider, I revisited the island, I still felt the friendliness like back in the old days. It is truly amazing even though so over-populated there. I think the local has big headache about housing issues. That's no kidding!

BTY I went to the small English College at the junction of Don Bosco Road and Fa Peng Road for few years. Really best natural study enviroment!!  I once went fishing nearby at Nam Tam Wan during a lunch break!! ( better than where I live now-- Vancouver ) But it looked to be a very run-down site now. I remember they had very gifted teachers! 

I am sure that CC remains to be a very friendly community!!

Bless my CC forever!!