Portuguese Community Life in Hong Kong: 1841 - 1941 by Roy Eric Xavier | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Portuguese Community Life in Hong Kong: 1841 - 1941 by Roy Eric Xavier

more hong kong stories here:


[2020 Admin update: Vanessa's links from 2012 no longer worked, so I've updated them to link to the archived copies of those pages. The macstudies website is still going strong though, at https://macstudies.net/]

Thanks Vanessa, looks like an interesting site. I've just subscribed to their RSS feed to be notified of new articles - it's at http://www.macstudies.net/feed/

Regards, David

Another resource by Jose Pedro Braga: http://www.library.gov.mo/macreturn/DATA/PP31/index.htm


When you are talking about Portuguese in HK, I am interested in a school- Portuguese Community School at 7 Cox's Road. This school is now no longer a school for Portuguese children but for the ethnic minority children. Anyone have some knowledge of this primary school?

The school was known as the Escola Camoes formed after WW11 to provide primary education in the main to Portuguese/Macanese children. Other nationalities including Chinese children also attended.

I was a teacher of Portuguese at the Escola Camoes in the years of 1965-66 paid by the Portuguese government. Does anyone know what happened to other teachers, including to the head mistress?

I heard from former classmates that the headmistress passed away years ago. Most teachers must have retired already, some probably have moved overseas.  It was a good school.

I read that the school became "Po Leung Kuk" and has moved to a new location in To Kwa Wan since Year 2012 and is renamed "PLK Madam Chan Wai Chow Memorial School". But I am confused why there is also another school called "PLK Camoes Tan Siu Lin" which seems also to be derived from Escola Camoes.  I have been trying to find out what becomes of the Escola Camoes building at 7 Cox's Road, Kowloon but cannot find anything more about it.  Has it become vacant, since the PLK school has moved to To Kwa Wan?  Or does it continue as a kindergarten?  I hope it will not be demolished and that the big tree in the smaller playground still stands.  I hope there can still be schools that keep the Christian faith and provide kids initial knowledge about Genesis, the 10 Commandments and Jesus' teachings, because they are tremendous blessings and I am glad that there was that initial exposure and knowledge that I got from school, which helped me to seek further and grow in faith later on in life. I am still growing and have lots to learn. I remember religious knowledge classes, drawing God's creations (the earth, the moon, the stars, the trees, the waters, the animals, the people) on a piece of paper, a Sister coming to the classroom to play the guitar, singing Hymns and listening to the teacher talking about Jesus' parables.  I wish that schools can also give kids that kind of initial opportunity to grow spiritually, not just intellectually, emotionally and physically.  I find that today's parents often enroll their kids in all sorts of extracurricular activities and sports in addition to academic studies, which are good if they are meant to help the kids to learn and grow positively in terms of intellectual, emotional and physical development.  But more importantly is spiritual growth that brings forth faith and humility, as opposed to pride and fears; a character and a life growing in the Light and the Word of God, truly loving God and loving others; starting with faith, then growing with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love (as mentioned in Peter 1:5-7). I wish today's parents would want these for the kids and not be too entrenched in popular culture, material things and this world's value system and measures of people's worth.

Hello, this is a bit of a long shot but does anyone have any information about or is related to the former Hong Kong lawyer "Ginger" Soares? I have recently received information that he may be connected to my family in some way. Thanks

Hi, if you don't get any answer immediately, you could make a Person page for him (ie http://gwulo.com/node/add/person) with whatever information you know about him, and see if Google brings any knowledgeable people to you.

Regards, David

Hi, David.

Thanks for the suggestion. However, I don't know his birth date nor his death date, so I'm not able to create a profile for him.



In his memoire, Paul Tsui mentioned that the Club de Lucitano was located at the basement of St. Joseph’s Mansion at No.2 Robinsin Road.  It had a long hall where the large Portuguese community in the neighborhood held their well-attended dance parties.  In the floors above, the residents were almost exclusively Portuguese. He thought that the St. Joseph Mansion was the first reinforced concrete highrise building in Hong Kong. 

When St. Joseph’s College moved out of the complex to its present day location at Kennedy Road, Wah Yan College rented the highrise and the adjacent classroom block from the Catholic Diocese in 1921. After Wah Yan Hong Kong moved to the present Queen’s Road East site in 1955, St. Joan of Arc Primary School moved in.

In the early 1920s, there was quite a large Portuguese community living in the parish of the Catholic Cathedral. They lived at St. Joseph’s Terrace just above the Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Building (same as Mansion?), 4-10 Robinson Road, the Belilios Terrace (5-15 Robinson Road), the entire length of Mosque Street, and part of Mosque Junction. There used to be a Choral Mass at the Cathedral, with sermon in Portuguese at 8am every Sunday.  On the first Sunday of every month, there would be a procession of the Blessed Sacrament.  A small group of Chinese Catholics would join the outdoor procession under the banner of St. Joseph – Patron Saint of China.  On Passion Sunday, a huge procession bearing the status of Jesus carrying the cross would be borne by several Portuguese gentlemen, followed by a brass band playing marches.  A special sermon in Portuguese would be delivered by a visiting priest from Macao.  In October or November every year, the St. Vincent de Paul Society staged a bazaar in which the Portuguese community played a major part (in recent decades, it has been referred to as the Annual Caritas Bazaar). 

My grandfather, Peter Tsui, received a scholarship from the St. Vincent de Paul Society to study at St. Joseph’s College, not long after immigrating to Hong Kong, as a boy, from the poor hilly region of Ng Wah in Eastern Guangdong.  He was running errands for the Christian Brothers de La Salle at the beach of the Telegraphic Bay (now Cyberport).  They admitted this counrty boy to their prestigious school.  He became a Catholic and his godfather was Noel Botelho, who in his 90s in the late 1960s, was an icon, always seen holding the St. Vincent de Paul’s Poor Box outside St. Joseph’s Church, Garden Road, after every Sunday Mass. 

Peter Tsui returned to teach at St. Joseph’s College for several years before starting his own Anglo-Chinese school, Wah Yan College Hong Kong in 1919, and Wah Yan College Kowloon in 1924.  The two Wah Yans quickly became very successful and were made Grant-in-Aid Schools by the Director of Education. It was popular for Overseas Chinese who sent their sons to Hong Kong to learn English & Chinese in good schools. Boarders at WYHK were housed at the St. Joseph’s Building. Graduates of Wah Yan also found good employment particularly in the service of the Chinese Maritime Custom where being bilingual was an asset.  The two Wah Yans were handed over to the Jesuits in 1932 and 1946 respectively.  The Jesuits brought the two schools to even greater glory in their good hands.




I am interested in learning more about the Portuguese section of Hong Kong you describe. It will assist me in the research I am conducting at U.C. Berkeley. Would you be willing to share sections of your father's memoir?

In any case, please contact me off-line at rexavier627@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Roy Eric Xavier

It was a wonderful moment and it will be great of meeting some old schoolmate

Stumbled on this accidently. This is Christopher Xavier. Went to Escola Camoes on Cox's Rd from Kindergarten to Primary 6 . 1961-1967. My brother Antonio and my sister Fernanda, also went to Escola camoesLike to link with any old students around that time. Remember Mrs. Guiterrez, Mrs. Maroney,  Dona Lilia etc.

Christopher Xavier

Hello all! A couple of weeks ago, classmates from my Primary School in Escola Camoes amazingly bridged the decades to get in touch with me.  We are now on a rampage to try to find everyone who studied there.  The school no longer exist, somehow, it was merged with Po Leung Kuk, and just retains the name Camoes so it's Po Leung Kuk Camoes ... something like that.  

We're trying to reconstruct the memories and find all our classmates, schoolmates from the time the school existed as an amazing educational institution for our precious formative years.  

If anyone studied in that school, please find us all in FaceBook by searching: ESCOLA CAMOES ALUMNI.  We are aiming to have a reunion in Hong Kong as well. Do please connect with us - so much wonderful childhood memories to share!

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Hello everyone.

Walking (Googling) down memory lane I thought I'd look up my old knidergarten (late 1950's) and found the old building is still there (would you believe?) on Google Earth. It's 'hiding' behind all the monstruous buildings that have erupted there since 1997.

What was the gardener's patch looks like a tennis court now. That big tree on the right as you entered the concrete playground/assembly yard is either stil there OR been succeeded by another. Alas the Boys Scout hall below, looks like it's perished too. Think the old school survived because it's almost inaccessible for constuction, remember all those steps up Cox's road? Guess what, they are stil there.

Have we had a reunion yet? If not, when?


Hello Christopher.  I am Francisco das Caldas.  I was known then, in P6 back in the 60s, as Francis Caldas.  I remember the names of some of my old classmates.  They were: Michelle Chaves, Antonia Ozorio, Fernanda Xavier, Edwardo Marques, Daniel da Costa, David Tsai, Rutland Chan, Arthur Atchim, David Richardson. Our Headmistress was Mrs. O'Sales, Class Teacher Mrs. Maroney, Portuguese Teacher Mrs. Guiterrez, Music Teacher Mrs. Ho.  Then Ah Boy (the janitor/school messenger/bell ringer/gardener), and the 'popsi-man' as we used to call him (rides his Dairy Farm ice cream bicycle to Camoes and waiting for us by the roadside railing before and after school hours).  As far as I know, the garden was later removed for the Kindergarden play area.  Otherwise, nothing changed over the years.  I was up there some years ago.  Kindled a lot of happy memories.  Sometimes, I wonder where have all my classmates disappeared to.  The Portuguese Community now is a lot different then.  Perhaps others will read our post and perhaps we might even have a reunion ... perhaps.