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Rising to the top

Rising to the top

Professor Christopher Chen, Professor Wang Gungwu, entomologist Dr CS Li, civil engineer Patrick Pak-Poy, vigneron George Lau, businessman King Fong and conductor Helen Quach are depicted at work in this scene

Professor Christopher Chen, Professor Wang Gungwu, entomologist Dr CS Li, civil engineer Patrick Pak-Poy, vigneron George Lau, businessman King Fong and conductor Helen Quach are depicted at work in this scene.

Leading Australian Chinese

In the late 1970s, the aftermath of the Vietnam War brought refugees, many of whom were ethnic Chinese (Hoa ethnicity), to Australian shores. Some of these refugees were 'boat people', although many more were accepted as immigrants to Australia under the Orderly Departure Program. During this time there were also many changes taking place in the Australian Chinese communities. David Wang, the Melbourne Councillor, estimated that in 1978 nearly every Chinese family in Australia had at least one member who had attended university. Leading Chinese professionals from the 1970s and 1980s included influential doctors, scientists and musicians.

Professor Christopher Chen became a recognised world pioneer in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). In 1982 he succeeded in producing the first IVF pregnancy in South Australia and, a year later, made history by presiding over the birth of the world's first IVF triplets. Helen Quach (Kuo Mei-Chen), of Sydney, won first prize in the New York Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition for Conductors in 1969. Another notable Chinese Australian was Dr CS Li. Dr Li was a rice entomologist who discovered and found out how to control a new rice parasite in 1965 — a contribution of world significance.