Mavis Gock MING [1916-2008] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Mavis Gock MING [1916-2008]

Mavis Gock
Birthplace (town, state): 
Perth, Western Australia
Birthplace (country): 

I am writing a book about my mother-in-law Mavis Gock Ming. Mavis was the daughter of Chinese father Gock Ming and Australian mother Mabel Jenkins. Born in Peth, Australia in 1916, Mavis' father took the family to Shanghai in 1925 where he worked for the Wing On department store. After completing high school at the Shanghai Public School for Girls Mavis returned to Sydney Australia where she trained as a physical education instructor with the Women's League of Health. In 1939 she went to Hong Kong to start a branch of the Women's League of Health. In Hong Kong she shared an apartment in Happy Valley with school friends Billie Lee and Pilan Petugura and later with American journalist and author Emily Hahn (see Hahn's China To Me for memories of Mavis and Billie Lee). Mavis' work with the League did not provide a full time income so she undertook part time secretarial work with the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives set up by Edgar and Helen Snow and Rewi Alley in 1938. Later she also worked for the International Women's Club (IWC) based in the Gloucetster Hotel. On 5 January 1942 Mavis reported to the Murray Parade Grounds in company with Mrs Anna Matthews and daughter from the IWC and was detained in the Tai Koon Hotel (2nd floor). Mavis was not sent to the Stanley civilian camp but was somehow released from detention. She escaped from Hong Kong on 4 March 1942 and walked into Free China eventually making her way to Chungking where she worked for the British Embassy until 1944 looking after Hong Kong refugees. In late 1944 she was repatriated to Australia via India.

Seeking information about:

  • The Women's League of Health (which ran exercise classes for women) which Mavis managed in Hong Kong from March 1939 to December 1941.
  • The Tai Koon Hotel where Mavis was detained by the Japanese in January 1942 - does anyone have a photos or memories of the hotels used by Japanese to detain civilians
  • Escape routes from Hong Kong to Free China - Mavis escaped on 4 March 1942 - any written records of other escapees and the routes they travelled
  • The Chinese Industrial Cooperatives movement established by Edgar and Helen Snow and Rewi Alley for which Mavis worked part time in Hong Kong 1939-1941
  • The International Women's Club based in the Gloucester Hotel Hong Kong for which Mavis worked part time with Mrs Anna Matthews from 1939-1941. The IWC provided a meeting place and support for all women in Hong Kong, regardless of ethnic or religious background

Photos that show this person



Have you tried the online copies of old HK newspapers? eg I found several columns about the Women's League of Health, which mention Mavis Ming, and these photos:

Mavis Ming & The Women's League of Health
Mavis Ming & The Women's League of Health, by Admin