Discover a surprising interior in this rare 1903 timber and tin Chinese temple.
Located in the midst of the tropical lushness of the Atherton Tablelands is the last timber and iron Chinese temple in Australia, the Hou Wang Temple. Donated to National Trust of Australia (Queensland) [NTAQ] in 1979, the temple has undergone meticulous conservation of its unique, historical integrity. Locals and tourists alike can explore and appreciate the significance of its Chinese cultural heritage. Far more than just a temple, Hou Wang Miao features a full display of cultural artefacts to engage and educate the whole family on what was once a site of social and religious significance for the region’s Chinese community. Established in 1903 by the large population of Chinese residents living and working at Cedar Camp, the Hou Wang Temple was constructed with the typical Queensland materials of timber and corrugated iron. Several decades of neglect saw the temple fall into disrepair once the Chinese population of the region waned after 1920 and a cyclone in 1956 saw the pagoda (tiered tower) in front of the temple blown down. The term ‘Hou Wang’ refers to a title bestowed upon the bodyguard commander of the last Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD) Emperor. The commander, Yang Liang Chieh, was left in charge of the rearguard when the eight-year-old Emperor fled from the invading Mongols in 1279AD.
Discover the beautifully preserved artefacts within the temple as you are guided by passionate volunteers who are brimming with facts and information about this exceptional property. It is rumoured to be the only existing temple dedicated to Hou Wang outside of China itself. Most of the temple fittings, including the elaborate carvings, bell and metal vessels, were made in China and transported to Australia. Members from the community contributed money to fund the construction of the temple in 1903, and their names are recorded on inscriptions within the building. Located on the edge of Atherton, the Hou Wang Temple is not to be missed when exploring North Queensland.
The Hou Wang Temple can be reached by car or by the daily bus services running from Cairns, Kuranda and Mareeba to Atherton. Admission fees to the property are listed below.