Mabel Wang (née Mabel Wing Dann) with her husband David Wang and three of their children at the opening of the David Wang Emporium branch in Camberwell, Melbourne, in the early 1960s
From left, rear: Arthur Calwell, Gabrielle Wang, Mrs Calwell, Mabel Wang, David Wang. Front: Mark Wang, Lisa Wang.
Photograph courtesy of Mabel Wang.
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Arthur Calwell, Federal opposition leader at the time, officiated at the opening of the store. Mabel was a grand-daughter of Lum Gum and Chen Ah Kew. David had arrived in Melbourne as a military attache for the Chinese government during the Second World War. After the war, as he was a Chinese citizen, Australian immigration regulations only allowed him to stay in the country if he was engaged in import-export. So this is what he and Mabel developed. Commencing with a shipment of six camphor wood chests, they opened a small store which eventually developed into the David Wang Emporium with associated David Wang stores. Mabel's father, George Wing Dann Chen, who was in business with his brothers, had developed a close relationship with Labour politicians in the 1940s. Mabel and David continued this relationship, and Arthur Calwell was a strong family friend, regularly opening new stores.