In February, the Year of the Pig was welcomed in with Lunar New Year celebrations across Sydney, including Glebe. For decades, Glebe’s Sze Yup Temple was a site for celebrations. The Dictionary of Sydney says that, since the 1860s, ‘celebrations took place at Sydney’s oldest Chinese temples, at Alexandria and Glebe. The celebrations were both exotic and exciting for white Australians and celebrations were regularly reported in the mainstream newspapers. … Fireworks and lion dances were all part of the spectacle.’

The Dictionary of Sydney also reports that ‘one of the earliest impacts of the celebrations of Chinese New Year to be felt in Sydney was on vegetable prices. As Chinese people took a few days off work to visit family and friends, or even took weeks off to go back home to China, vegetables at the markets became scarce and prices shot up! This side-effect of Chinese New Year celebrations can be traced through newspaper accounts of market prices from the late 19th century.’

Sze Yup Temple in Edward Lane, Glebe 1904, (image: Dictionary of Sydney)