Both William Yang’s paternal and maternal grandfathers came to Australia from the south of China in the 1880s to dig for gold. Both his parents were born here. William grew up on a tobacco farm in Dimbulah in North Queensland and was brought up as an assimilated Australian with his Chinese side denied and unacknowledged. In his mid-life William claimed his Chinese heritage. This led him to research his own family. He travelled around Australia and the USA piecing together a family history. He probably has met more relatives than anyone else in the family. He has scores of relatives from all walks of life in these two countries, some rich, but most are ordinary folk with menial jobs, and most cannot speak a word of Chinese.
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