José Pedro Braga OBE1,2

M, #14487, n. 3 Agosto 1871, f. 12 Fevereiro 1944
José Pedro Braga #14487National Library of Australia

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 3 Agosto 1871, Cathedral, Hong Kong
Enterro: Cemitério de S. MiguelS. Miguel Cemetery, Macau
Falecimento: 12 Fevereiro 1944, Sto António, Macau



Jean Pauline Braga n. 23 Jun 1896, f. 1 Fev 1987
José Maria Braga+ n. 22 Mai 1897, f. 27 Abr 1988
Maude Caroline Braga n. 8 Dez 1898, f. 18 Out 1962
Delfino Braga n. 13 Fev 1900, f. 14 Out 1917
Clemente Alberto Braga+ n. 23 Set 1902, f. 7 Fev 1972
Noel Braga+ n. 6 Dez 1903, f. 29 Dez 1979
Hugh Braga+ n. 15 Fev 1905, f. 2 Jun 1987
James Braga n. 27 Abr 1906, f. 21 Abr 1994
António Manuel Braga n. 28 Ago 1907, f. 9 Mai 1994
João Vicente Braga+ n. 25 Set 1908, f. 29 Mai 1981
Caroline Mary Braga n. 19 Dez 1911, f. 21 Nov 1998
Mary Carol Braga n. 4 Mar 1914, f. 15 Jul 1965


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Nascimento*: Em 3 Agosto 1871 Cathedral, Hong Kong.
  • Condecorações*: ;

    CavaleiroKnight Ordem Militar de Cristo de Portugal /Military Order of Christ of Portugal

    MembroMember Ordem do Império BritânicoOrder of the British Empire
    CavaleiroKnight Ordem de Santiago da Espada de PortugalOrder of St James of the Sword of Portugal.

  • Ocupação: Testimonial dinner menu.
  • Enterro*: Enterro: em Cemitério de S. MiguelS. Miguel Cemetery, Macau, (um valor desconhecido.)
  • Falecimento*: 12 Fevereiro 1944 Sto António, Macau, 72.
  • Nota1*:
    His father went to Japan as the Chief Accountant of the Imperial Mint, Osaka, when JP Braga was an infant. Here he had a significant career in the early days of commercial practice in Meiji Japan. His career is recorded by K. Nishikawa, Nihon boki shidan, held by the National Library of Australia. He never returned to Hong Kong. JP Braga was brought up in the household of his maternal grandfather, Delfino Noronha, who had been the government printer almost from the beginning of the colony. Another major influence was JA Carvalho, who occupied a senior position in the Colonial Treasurer's office. Braga was thus brought up in an atmosphere of commitment to public affairs and with a strong community responsibility. He was a pupil at St Joseph's College, conducted by the French Lasallian Brothers to provide English-language education for the Catholic youth of Hong Kong. Excelling at his studies, he was sent by his family to Calcutta to further his education. Here he was Gold Medallist at Albert Memorial College in 1889. However, a smallpox epidemic led to the death of three of his brothers, and his mother requested him to return to assist in running the family business. His hopes of a successful legal career in Britain vanished. His hankering after a career as a barrister never left him, and was only satisfied by his appointment to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong forty years later.

    Back in Hong Kong, he threw himself into the family business and became active at once in public affairs, attacking what he regarded as injustice and discrimination against the Portuguese community in a small book published by his grandfather, The Rights of Aliens in Hongkong. He worked in his grandfather's printing business until the latter's death in 1900. Meanwhile he married on 5 May Olive Pauline Pollard, a member of the Pollard Liliputians (See Peter Downes, The Pollards, held by the National Library of Australia). They had 13 children, several of whom were to have significant careers, including JM "Jack" Braga, the eldest of nine sons.

    Braga was managing editor of the Hongkong Daily Telegraph from 1902 to 1909. In addition, he became the Hong Kong agent of Reuter's news agency from 1906 to 1931. From 1910 he ran his own printing business, JP Braga & Co, rising steadily in prominence and becoming one of the recognised leaders of the Portuguese community. In this community he was President of Club Lusitano and Patron of the Portuguese Company of the Hong Kong Volunteers. He was decorated by the Portuguese government with the rank of Comendador da Ordem de Cristo in recognition of his work in representing the government of Macau in dealing with a border dispute with China. In Hong Kong, he was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1919, a member of the Sanitary Board in 1927 and in 1929 became the first Portuguese member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

    He served two terms in this position, totalling eight years, being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935. His political career, widely reported in the Hong Kong press and recorded by JM Braga in his books of newspaper cuttings was often highly critical of Government, especially in its dealings with dispossessed and underprivileged people, mostly Chinese. He built up a fine library, almost all of which disappeared during World War II.

    The centenary of Hong Kong in 1941 was commemorated in many ways, one of which was the publication by JP Braga of a small book entitled Portuguese Pioneering: a Hundred Years of Hong Kong. It was the culmination of what had been a 50 year struggle to assert for his community equality of rights and equality of opportunity in a social, commercial and legal environment not always conducive to it. By 1941, his achievements had been considerable.

    Together with all Hong Kong residents, his world fell to pieces at the end of 1941 when Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. Braga, who had secured British citizenship before he went to Calcutta in 1886, was now forced to renounce it, claiming Portuguese nationality. At first, he remained in Hong Kong, hoping to lead the Portuguese community in the tribulations it now faced. However between February and April 1942, most of that community fled to Macau and on 1 June 1942 JP Braga joined them as a refugee, living with his son Jack until his death.

  • Anecdote*: Click to see booklet "The Portuguese in Hongkong and China".Click to read
  • KooThesis*: Mencionado em a href="uikoothesis.htm"> I > B. Koo Tese / i > / a >


  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-324.
  2. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., IV-646, IV-664, IV-666, IV-667, IV-668, IV-669, IV-670, IV-671, IV-672, V-256.
  3. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao, email to HA d'Assumpcao 15 Mar 2008.
  4. [S420] BHM Koo, "Koo, Barney thesis."

Jean Pauline Braga1,2

F, #14491, n. 23 Junho 1896, f. 1 Fevereiro 1987


Pai-Bio*: José Pedro Braga OBE n. 3 Ago 1871, f. 12 Fev 1944

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 23 Junho 1896, Cathedral, Hong Kong
Solteiro / Solteira3
Falecimento: 1 Fevereiro 1987, Hong Kong4


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Nascimento*: Em 23 Junho 1896 Cathedral, Hong Kong.
  • Nota1*:

    Musician and music teacher

    Jean Braga was the eldest of thirteen children. She attended the Italian Convent in Hong Kong, conducted by the Canossian Sisters, where she became dux of the school. According to family tradition, she was to have been awarded a scholarship for further study overseas, but the scholarship was awarded to another girl instead. Surviving letters show Jean to have been, like other family members, sensitive and fluent in prose and verse. She was brought up in the environment of her mother's conspicuous musical talent, becoming a capable violinist and pianist. She was vivacious and charming and was sought after as a music teacher. She became an accomplished horsewoman at a time when motor vehicles were few, and access to the family home at Robinson Road on the Hong Kong Mid-Levels was difficult. She was a woman of promise – good at everything to which she turned her hand. Three of the Braga sisters became music teachers. It has been claimed that Jean was the best of them.

    Jean was similar in personality and attainments to her mother as a young woman. She was a born teacher, and besides teaching the violin, also taught English at Ying Wah Girls' School, run by the London Missionary Society near the family home. When the family moved to Kowloon in the 1920s, she taught English and Music at St Stephen's Girls' School. She was also a born linguist, and was one of the few members of the family to speak Portuguese fluently – Jack and Maudebeing the others. For years, she was her father's companion at official functions; as a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council from 1929 to 1937, he had a significant public role. Jean, poised and elegant, was perfect on these occasions.

    From an early age, Jean gave her mother great assistance both in her music teaching and in the enormous demands of raising a large family. Although only 20, she was a tower of strength to her mother when her younger brother Chappie died in October 1917. Olive wrote to her sister Corunna, "Jean came with love to my rescue. She with such brightness and glowing love came like an angel.' Olive later wrote, in a letter to her youngest son Paul in 1943, of Jean's "extraordinary love for teaching and her wonderful aptitude in fashioning clothes.' Olive experienced thirteen births and at least three miscarriages in the twenty years from 1895 to 1914. She grew old and tired before her time, worn out by constant poverty, incessant pregnancy, loneliness and the wearying demands of small children. Much of the burden of raising this large brood fell upon Jean. The family was far from well off throughout this time; there was the constant worry of making ends meet and feeding extra mouths. Clothes had to be constantly mended and altered for handing down. The discipline, too, of the younger children fell largely to Jean. It was a very similar situation in some ways to the manner in which Olive herself had been brought up by her elder sisters. Her mother, Mary Eleanor Pollard, had died in 1873 of cancer of the womb following the birth of fourteen children in seventeen years. Olive the youngest, was three years old when her mother died, and she was cared for by her elder sisters and by her aunt, Corunna Weippert, who soon became her stepmother. A similar pattern was then repeated in the next generation.

    Her younger siblings' memories of Jean's household management were not always happy ones, though in later life they could laugh about it. Jean enthusiastically embraced supposed "health' diets, the most extreme being a lecture by a visiting nutritionist/faith healer who convinced Jean that one chicken liver was equivalent in nutritional value to a whole chicken. For a time, her younger brothers, ravenously hungry, were given half a chicken liver each for dinner, and sent to school next day with a slice of bread and dripping for lunch. Another memory is of being shut in a dark cupboard for misbehaviour. The picture is one of excessive expectation of a young woman who had little time to live her own life. Small wonder that only one of Olive'S four daughters, Maude, married, and she remained childless. Indeed, it is remarkable that Olive and her daughter Jean retained their love of and commitment to music, especially the violin.

    Jean remained unswervingly loyal to her mother and her family. She continued to live and teach in the family home on the Mid-Levels on Hong Kong Island, 37 Robinson Rd, and moved to Knutsford Terrace, Kowloon, with the rest of the family in the early 1920s. She paid for the education of her two youngest sisters, Caroline and Mary, respectively fifteen and eighteen years younger than herself, and for a year paid the university fees for her brother Hugh. She contributed to the weekly family budget. Later, she became her mother's principal carer during the 1930s, as Olive now saw herself, and was seen by her family, now adult and more caring, as an invalid. It was Jean who remained steadfastly at her post when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese in 1941. When the others escaped to Macau, she and Tony, looked after the Knutsford Terrace properties. In the last 18 months or so of the war, when Tony, in danger because he had been a member of the Hong Kong Volunteers, also fled to Macau, Jean held the fort alone: a courageous – indeed heroic – stand. She survived by breeding and selling rabbits and by selling the fruit of a large mulberry tree at Knutsford Terrace. The Japanese soldiers liked fresh mulberries, and the fruit brought in enough money to eke out a bare living until the next crop.

    After the war, she became a withdrawn and difficult person, and eventually a recluse, jealously guarding her possessions and furniture. She could fly into rages. The experiences of a hard life, and most of all the privations, loneliness and constant fear in the face of the threat of Japanese atrocities had eaten into her. Her sisters Caroline and Mary continued to teach music, Caroline becoming the doyen of piano teachers in Hong Kong between the 1970s and 1990s, but Jean taught little after the war. She survived into old age, but the four decades after the liberation of Hong Kong in 1945 were a shadow land, blighted by the years of hardship and the bitterness of opportunity denied and a life unfulfilled. Jean Braga had selflessly and loyally given the best years of her life to the upbringing of her younger siblings. That most of them lived lives more enriched than hers is a tribute to her care and devotion.

    11 November 1996, revised 7 December 1996, 19 March & 3 April 2001.3

  • Solteiro / Solteira*: Solteira.3
  • Falecimento*: 1 Fevereiro 1987 Hong Kong 90.4


  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-326.
  2. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., IV-675.
  3. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao.
  4. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao, email 9/1/08.

José Maria Braga1,2,3

M, #14492, n. 22 Maio 1897, f. 27 Abril 1988
Portrait of Jack BragaCourtesy: National Library of Australia, J. M. Braga Photographs, Box 2


Pai-Bio*: José Pedro Braga OBE n. 3 Ago 1871, f. 12 Fev 1944

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 22 Maio 1897, Cathedral, Hong Kong
Falecimento: 27 Abril 1988, San Francisco, USA


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Alcunha: "Jack."
  • Nascimento*: Em 22 Maio 1897 Cathedral, Hong Kong.
  • Condecorações: ; CavaleiroKnight Ordem de Santiago da Espada de PortugalOrder of St James of the Sword of PortugalGrande OficialGrand Officer Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique/Order of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal.1
  • Falecimento*: 27 Abril 1988 San Francisco, USA, 90.
  • KooThesis*: Mencionado em a href="uikoothesis.htm"> I > B. Koo Tese / i > / a >
  • Nota1*:

    José Maria "Jack" Braga, was born in Hong Kong on 22 May 1897, and died at San Francisco, 27 April 1988, aged 90.

    Jack Braga was the second of thirteen children, and the eldest of nine sons of José Pedro Braga and his wife, the Australian-born Olive Pauline (née Pollard). He was educated at St Joseph's College, Hong Kong from 1908 to 1913, passing the Oxford Senior Local in his last year. Like many young men in the Portuguese community, he then gained employment in the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. He joined the Boy Scouts as soon as it commenced in Hong Kong in 1913 and, when the British scoutmaster left in 1915, Jack succeeded him at the remarkably early age of 18
    After World War I, Jack moved to Macau where he lived and worked from 1922 until 1946. He married Augusta Isabel da Luz in Macau on 30 December 1924. They had seven children. She died in San Francisco on 14 December 1991 aged 93. Jack alone retained the Catholicism of his upbringing, whereas all his twelve siblings left the Catholic Church.

    Soon after his arrival in Macau, Jack Braga became keenly interested in the history of the European encounter with East Asia from the 16th century until the mid 20th century. With remarkable persistence and assiduity he set about recording and collecting the history of Macau covering four centuries since the arrival of the first Portuguese voyagers in the early 16th century. As well as amassing a large library of books, maps, pictures, newspapers and manuscripts, he recorded the minutiae of the historical record in a detailed, meticulous and highly organised way. His method was to create a series of files and chronological lists covering the events, the people and the written record of these four centuries. There were two principal lists. The main one was a 'General File' or 'Bio-bibliographical Index', organised alphabetically, which grew to more than 11,000 entries, extending to 2 metres of shelf space. The second was a Luso-Oriental Manual, a detailed list of the most significant Portuguese officials and missionaries in the Far East together with important State officers, chiefly in China, with whom they dealt between the 16th and early 20th centuries, concentrating on the era of Portugal's dominance of trade and missionary activities in the 17th century. In 1937 he began a collaboration with Charles Boxer, a British army officer with similar interests. They became life-long and very close friends. Braga had been a prolific contributor of articles in English and Portuguese to the local press from the late 1920s, and the friendship with Boxer enriched his scholarship. Boxer described his friend as a 'learned antiquarian'; later he would recognise him as an able historian.

    He taught English at St Joseph's Seminary, Macau, until 1934, and from 1930 to 1932 also taught at the Liceu de Macau1. He taught the Commercial course of English, educating hundreds of youths who joined commercial firms in Macau, Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai, Bangkok, Yokohama and Tokyo.2 He played a major part in establishing in 1925 the first Macau daily newspaper Diário de Macau. He was the Reuters representative in Macau (1932-45) and the English editor of The Macao Review (1929-30), as well as being a contributor to other papers, such as A Pátria, A Voz de Macau and Macao Tribune.3 In 1929 he became involved in a major project in the small Portuguese territory, the Companhia das Águas de Macau (Macau Water Works Co., usually known as 'Watco'). A private venture, this company proposed to supply town water to Macau, which until the 1930s had a completely inadequate water supply, with a very small catchment area, Guia hill. Macau therefore often relied on water brought in by lighter from China. J.M. Braga was effectively the company's founder and became its General Manager. The plan was to build a retaining wall, enclosing a bay on the relatively undeveloped north-eastern coastline of Macau, which would then be used as water storage. A filtration plant was to be provided.

    By 1934, the company was in a desperate financial predicament. It was without funds and salaries were unpaid. Jack, who himself had nothing from the company for several years, paid several workmen's wages out of his own pocket. Large sums were owed to the Hong Kong Engineering and Construction Co. (the Managing Director of which was his father) and other larger creditors. The Macau Government was not involved in the project, being itself in a difficult financial situation. The company went into liquidation, but after much effort and worry, was recapitalised, and the project was brought to completion in 1936, largely due to J.M. Braga's sustained commitment.4

    The population of Macau was then fewer than 200,000. In 1938, a flood of refugees fled to Macau when Canton (Guangzhou) fell to the Japanese. A few years later, the population, swollen by refugees after the fall of Hong Kong in 1941, reached 500,000. Without an adequate water supply, Macau could not have coped with this emergency. Braga remained General Manger throughout the war until 1946, when he moved to Hong Kong.

    The outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941 led Braga to collect intensively as much of the printed record of wartime Macau as he could, and the result is a unique and detailed collection which he prized greatly. At the outbreak of war, there were few members of his family in Hong Kong: Jack, Augusta and Jack's brother Clement. Therefore, after the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941, Jack and Augusta's role in their family was crucial. Over a period of two years, nine of the Bragas left in Hong Kong, including both of Jack's parents, escaped to Macau, leaving only Jean, Jack's elder sister. Another sister, Maude, who was married to an Englishman, was interned.

    Jack's activities in wartime Macau were diverse and extensive, and his accomplishments were quite amazing. He continued to write historical articles for the local press, often with an eye to boosting the morale of thousands of English-speaking refugees in Macau. He was instrumental in establishing the English edition of Renascimento, catering for the large refugee population. He wrote a weekly article broadcast from June 1941 to December 1942 on the station operated by the Macao Radio Club, there being no government radio service. After the arrival of his father from Hong Kong in June 1942, he gave 'JP' much assistance in commencing the book he had intended to write for many years. Although incomplete when J.P. Braga died in February 1944, Jack had a small edition published immediately of the twelve completed chapters. As well as all this demanding work, Jack became active in Allied Intelligence activities, and on at least one occasion, his life was in danger.5 He continued to be most active in community affairs, especially in setting up the Macau Technical College, a brave attempt to fill the void in higher education. In the last months of the war, he was a member of a group that prepared an emergency plan for Hong Kong should the Japanese kill all their prisoners at the end of the war and depart, leaving a starving population behind.6 Many people who experienced nearly four years of hardship and inactivity in Macau between 1942 and 1945 never regained their former vigour. Although he and his family experienced severe privations like most others, Jack Braga never lost his vigour and strong community spirit.

    For the next twenty years he lived and worked in Hong Kong, running a small import-export business, Braga & Co., though his friend Geoffrey Bonsall whimsically suggested that his book collection was really his business, absorbing most of his time and interest, while the business was his hobby.7 His passion for book collecting and historical research dominated his time and interest. Residence in Hong Kong gave a new dimension to his collection, which now extended to the history of British activity in the Far East from the late 18th to the mid twentieth century. In addition, his determination to record the history of Portuguese expansion took a new turn, and he now added many transcriptions of important papers documenting the activities of early navigators and missionaries. In 1952 he visited Portugal, and embarked on a project of securing transcriptions of the important Jesuítas na Ásia manuscripts in the Ajuda Library, Lisbon.8 He regarded these manuscripts as the most important part of his collection.9

    By the early 1950s, his output became more selective, and the continuing collaboration with Boxer brought about a substantial improvement in his scholarship. Boxer sent him several manuscripts for comment, and dedicated one of his major works to his old friend.10 Jack produced several scholarly papers, notably The beginnings of printing at Macao, Lisbon, 1963 and A seller of sing-songs: a chapter in the foreign trade of China and Macao.11 For several years he prepared an extensive bibliography for the Hong Kong Annual Report. His growing reputation led in 1949 to the award of Grande Cavaleiro do Ordem do S. Tiago da Espada (Knight of the Order of St James of the Sword) by the President of Portugal. However, a proposal made by friends for Hong Kong University to award Braga an honorary MA was unsuccessful.12

    During the early 1950s Braga came to realise that there was no long-term future for himself and his family in the Far East.13 The Korean War had again called into question the survival of Hong Kong as a British colony. However, he had first to see to his children's education. He had not had the chance of a university education himself, and was determined to secure this opportunity for his children. For many years his father, J.P. Braga, had been a close business associate of the wealthy businessman Sir Robert Hotung, who out of regard for 'JP' and also for Jack, whose role in public affairs in war-time Macau had been most praiseworthy, now paid for three of J.M. Braga's four daughters to attend Hong Kong University. In 1952, his three sons were sent to Sydney to complete their schooling, and two went on to graduate from the University of Sydney. Braga planned to follow them to Australia as soon as suitable arrangements could be made for his wife's two unmarried sisters who were dependant on him, and for whom visas could not be obtained. He also hoped to obtain a position for himself that would enable him to work full-time in his beloved library.

    Political troubles in Hong Kong and Macau associated with the rise of the Chinese Red Guards in the mid-1960s hastened his decision and, in 1966, Jack sold his library to the National Library of Australia and spent the next two years pursuing business interests in New York.

    In 1968 he eventually went to Australia, where he worked at the library as a consultant from October 1968 until February 1972, but his health was already failing. He set himself the task of translating into English the most important of the Jesuítas na Ásia manuscripts, António Gouvea's Ásia Extrema, hoping that it would be published by the National Library of Australia, but was able to finish only three of the six books.

    The twilight years were sad and very prolonged. Afflicted by Parkinson's disease, Jack went with Augusta early in 1972 to San Francisco, where their eldest daughter o Carol, was Professor of Gynaecology at the University of California, Berkeley campus. She gave her parents devoted care until their deaths, 16 and 19 years later. By then, his name was held in honour in the little Portuguese colony that he had done so much to promote. He was awarded posthumously the high rank of Grande Oficial, Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique (Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator).

    Jack Braga was a remarkable man. He grew up in Hong Kong, a place of opportunity until the years immediately following World War I, when business conditions were bad and opportunities few. Macau, the sleepy backwater that his family had left eighty years before, then became his home for the next twenty-three years. Jack worked diligently as a teacher and as a businessman. He never had sufficient means to support his growing passion for books, pictures and maps. Yet he persisted, and despite all the setbacks caused by depression, war and business difficulties, he left a fine legacy – a collection of abiding value and usefulness to Australia, where most of his family had made their home. Moreover, he left behind him in the Far East a name that continued to be held in honour and respect several decades after he had left.

    Stuart Braga

    3 March 2008


         1     Autobiographical sketch, in Portuguese, prepared in 1970. MS4300.
         2     P Haldane, The Portuguese in Asia and the Far East: the Braga Collection in the National Library of Australia, A paper prepared for the Second International Conference on Indian Ocean Studies held in Perth, Western Australia, 5-12 December,1984.
         3     From notes by Graeme Powell, formerly Head, Manuscripts Branch, National Library of Australia.
         4     National Library of Australia, MS4300 series 4.2.
         5     Letter of appreciation to Jack from John P. Reeves, the British Consul, 1946. This refers to assistance given to American airmen shot down off Macau in January 1945, and brought to Macau by Chinese fishermen.
         6     MS4300 series 8, folder 13.
         7     Obituary in Revista de Cultura.
         8     MS4300 series 6.1.
         9     Pauline Haldane, op. cit.
         10     C.R. Boxer, South China in the sixteenth century, London, Hakluyt Society, 1953.
         11     Hong Kong University Press, 1967, reprinted from Journal of Oriental Studies, v. 6 no. 1-2, 1961/64.
         12     Geoffrey Bonsall, the University's Deputy Librarian, was a prime mover in this.
         13     MS4300 series 3.2, Letter to Fr António da Silva Rego.


    1. Remembering Jack Braga, Review of Culture, no. 5, April/May/June 1988, Instituto Cultural de Macau, pp. 98-103.

    3. José Maria Braga, O Homem e sua Obra, Instituto Cultural de Macau, 1993.

    5. Entry on J.M. Braga in his 'A-Z', National Library of Australia, MS4300, series 7.2

    7. Pauline Haldane, The Portuguese in Asia and the Far East:
           the Braga Collection in the National Library of Australia
      , A paper prepared for the Second International Conference on Indian Ocean Studies held in Perth, Western Australia, 5-12 December,1984.

  • (Testemunha) Nota: [ ]; A Macanese Entrepreneur – Recollections of his family.6


  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-333.
  2. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., II-451.
  3. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., III-311, III-756, IV-666, IV-667, IV-669, IV-671, IV-687, IV-689, IV-690, V-256.
  4. [S420] BHM Koo, "Koo, Barney thesis."
  5. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao.
  6. [S277] UMA Bulletins, Notices, Spring 2009.

Maude Caroline Braga1,2

F, #14493, n. 8 Dezembro 1898, f. 18 Outubro 1962


Pai-Bio*: José Pedro Braga OBE n. 3 Ago 1871, f. 12 Fev 1944

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 8 Dezembro 1898, Cathedral, Hong Kong
Falecimento: 18 Outubro 1962, Sydney, Australia3


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Nascimento*: Em 8 Dezembro 1898 Cathedral, Hong Kong.
  • Nome-casamento: Franks.
  • Falecimento*: 18 Outubro 1962 Sydney, Australia, 63.3
  • Nota1*:


    Maude was named for her mother's elder sister, Violet Maude, 1867-1959). She attended the Italian Convent in Hong Kong, conducted by the Canossian Sisters. She was an energetic, friendly, vivacious person who throughout life, and despite difficult circumstances, retained an infectious enthusiasm for whatever life had to offer. She learned the piano from her older sister Jean and had a lovely singing voice, trained by her mother.

    She was a competent horsewoman and visited Shanghai to compete at a gymkhana there. According to family tradition, she became the first woman in Hong Kong to hold a motor cycle rider's licence – an interesting reflection of changing technology. She had the reputation of being good at everything that she undertook. During the inter-war years, she worked as a secretary for Standard-Vacuum Oil Co. Maude was the only one of the four sisters in her family to marry. Initially, she was engaged to the minister of the Union Church, the Rev. Arthur Whitmore, but in 1934 married Eric Stanley Franks, an officer with the Hong Kong Prisons Dept, though he had originally learned the trade of French polishing. He was an Englishman and a skilled photographer; they had no children.

    Maude and Eric were interned during the Japanese occupation, unlike other members of the family, all of whom successfully claimed Portuguese nationality. Eric's pride in being English and his cockney accent would have made such a claim impossible. Both were in Stanley gaol – Maude in the women's section, Eric in the tougher men's prison, where he had been a warder only a few weeks earlier. Both worked in the prison kitchen throughout the war. They were occasionally able to communicate with other family members, who had fled to Macau, by means of postcards authorised by the Japanese authorities. On the Japanese surrender in 1945, both Maude and Eric appeared to have survived internment in remarkably good shape, perhaps because of the strong sense of fraternity and discipline among the British community there. They were able to resume normal life at the end of the war. Both the Hong Kong Government and Standard Oil paid their accrued salaries for the three years and nine months of their internment, and Eric and Maude were repatriated to Britain for a few months' leave.

    However, when they returned to Hong Kong, they were almost penniless. Eric, like many other internees, seemed less able to cope with life, and had spent pounds as though they were Hong Kong dollars. Both were re-instated by their former employers, but about 1948, Eric was savagely attacked and seriously wounded by a Chinese prisoner. After a long spell in hospital, he was invalided out of Government service with a pension; there was no provision at that time for Worker's Compensation. Eric was then employed by the Sailors' and Soldiers' Home to care for servicemen ashore, and they lived in premises attached to the clubhouse for a year or two. Eric resumed his interest in photography, and produced excellent figure studies, most notably of the rich tapestry of Hong Kong urban life, with an eye for photographs suggestive of the character of his subjects.

    However, he never quite settled back to civilian life after his wartime experiences. He believed that he was owed a substantial pension in recompense for what he had been through during World War I, when he had been accidentally injured while serving in the British Army, though he did not see active service in France. He carried a chip on his shoulder that blighted his life from then on. Maude coped with this unsettled situation without complaint, and at family gatherings would spend time with her nieces and nephews, joining their games and building sandcastles with them on the beach. She took up painting, and found much fulfilment in this pastime.

    In 1950 Maude and Eric moved to Australia. Maude wanted to get Eric away from the memories and influences of Hong Kong – he was by then drinking heavily. They bought a small cottage at Frenchs Forest in Sydney, then a remote settlement far from the North Shore railway line, and with poor public transport. Maude kindly agreed to take her niece Sheila as a boarder in the first half of 1951, consequent on her brother Hugh's decision to return to Australia. Sheila came some months early in order to commence her schooling in the Australian system as soon as possible. Later Maude was guardian to the three sons of her eldest brother, Jack, when they came to Sydney to complete their secondary education at St Bernard's, College, Katoomba. They lived with her during the school holidays.

    In the early 1950s, the Franks moved first to Dee Why, and later to Mona Vale, both beach suburbs north of Sydney. These were larger communities than Frenchs Forest, and Maude found good friends among local artists and in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Her watercolours, especially of scenes at nearby Narrabeen lagoon, developed markedly in these years. She took lessons, and painted prolifically. She did well in several local competitions, and was stimulated by the response to her work. Both her growing interest in art and her involvement in the church may have been a response to an increasingly difficult situation with Eric, who had never been easy to live with. She never quite committed herself to membership of the S.D.A. Church, which she saw as needlessly strict. She agreed to give up tea and coffee, but baulked at becoming a vegetarian, laughing at herself both for yielding to one request and for refusing the other. The Braga family had never been tea drinkers, but she told church elders that she had eaten meat all of her life, and that her health would suffer if she suddenly stopped.

    Maude slipped in her kitchen in October 1962 and struck her head on the stove as she fell. Never regaining consciousness, she lingered in hospital for five days before succumbing on 18 October. She had been totally loyal to Eric throughout their marriage, and he was utterly shattered at her death. He lived on for many more years, latterly at the War Veterans' Home at Narrabeen, until about 1979, when he moved out, unwilling to contribute part of his pension towards his upkeep. He then lived in a boarding house in Manly, dying on 18 August 1983.

    Many members of the family have at least one of Maude's paintings. They reflect her personality well: serene, buoyant, interested in the world around. They are careful, methodical, well put together, confident and honest. The aphorism that art reflects life is certainly borne out in the life and the art of Maude Franks.


    Stuart Braga

    9 May 2007.4



  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-326.
  2. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., IV-675.
  3. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao, email 9/1/08.
  4. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao.

Delfino Braga1,2

M, #14495, n. 13 Fevereiro 1900, f. 14 Outubro 1917


Pai-Bio*: José Pedro Braga OBE n. 3 Ago 1871, f. 12 Fev 1944

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 13 Fevereiro 1900, Cathedral, Hong Kong
Enterro: Cemitério de S. MiguelS. Miguel Cemetery
Falecimento: 14 Outubro 1917, Sé, Macau


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Alcunha: "Delf."3
  • Alcunha: "Chappie."3
  • Nascimento*: Em 13 Fevereiro 1900 Cathedral, Hong Kong.
  • Enterro*: Enterro: em Cemitério de S. MiguelS. Miguel Cemetery (um valor desconhecido.)
  • Falecimento*: 14 Outubro 1917 Sé, Macau, 17.
  • Nota1*:

    Delfino Braga, named for his grandfather Delfino Noronha, was educated at St Joseph's College, Hong Kong. On leaving school, he was employed by the French bank, Crédit Foncier. What is known of his short life comes from an envelope of papers which appear to have been kept as precious relics by his mother when he died of septicaemia, at the threshold of promising manhood. They reveal a remarkable young man, with a maturity and self-confidence well in advance of his years. They also reveal a strong spiritual dimension that was warmly responsive to his mother's patient and loving up-bringing.

    'Chappy' (his family's name for him), or 'Delf' (as he signed himself) was clearly a leader in his family. Though he had two older sisters and an elder brother, Jack, nearly three years older than himself, he had seven younger brothers, all born in the next ten years. When Chappy was about fourteen, he got them to sign up as 'partners' in a recreational club in which each brother had to improve his fitness. He and Jack used to go rowing or swimming at 5.30 each morning to keep fit. He wrote well, was a good organiser and was meticulous in detail. His calligraphy was splendid, and he obviously took great pride in executing beautiful capital letters. He took himself very seriously, as high-minded teenagers tend to do, but he also had a great sense of fun.

    He was a keen sportsman and an enthusiastic Boy Scout. He was Patrol Leader of the 1st Hong Kong Troop of Boy Scouts, and willingly assumed responsibilities as secretary of the Football Club associated with it. He drew up rules for two sporting clubs: a Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association and a United Club of Hong Kong – and typed out a lengthy speech to be delivered at the inaugural meeting of the latter. These rules emulate, possibly consciously, his father's competence and experience in business affairs. In August 1916, he joined the Victoria Recreation Club. This was a largely Portuguese club, despite the British name. There is no record of his having linked up with the Club Recreio, the specifically Portuguese social and sporting club in which his father was a significant figure. He became passionately keen on stamp collecting, and during 1917 wrote to several stamp dealers in the USA, in addition, presumably, to local contacts. He was extraordinarily well organised, and kept a detailed cashbook of his income and expenditure. The last entry was 10 cents spent on a rickshaw ride on 12 September 1917.

    Perhaps the most significant indication of the values of this fine young man with so many interests and talents, is contained in an exchange of letters between Chappy and his aunt, Corunna Noronha ('Auntie Crun' to her nieces and nephews), in Manila, between 26 June and 24 September 1917, not long before he died. Corunna was, like her sister Olive in Hong Kong, a devout and earnest Christian. The warmth of affection and bond of understanding between aunt and nephew which the letters reveal is uncommonly strong. Corunna pressed her nephew: "Dear Chappy, Have you become a Christian and accepted Christ as your personal Saviour? Write and tell me, dear, for I pray for you and Jack every morning, also your Father." He replied: "I always thought you knew that I was a Christian, though not a very good one. The Scout movement has helped me, and so have the lessons on Sunday given by Miss Meadows. I have been there several times with mother and received from her a page of the Grace Gospel Tidings which you have been good enough to send me. .. as Mother told me you said that 'it pays to be a Christian' and really it does." He concludes, "Your Christian nephew, Delf". Corunna replied on 24 September, only three weeks before her nephew died. "It is, dear, such a joy to think of you belong[ing] to Him. Let each of His children shine and walk worthy of His love, for it means much to be a Christian, but it is worth all to have the joy of knowing you are His, and should death call you away, you go home to Him ..." Chappy, like most of his brothers, had recently left the Roman Catholic Church, and had devoutly embraced his mother's Protestant faith. Miss Meadows was a Bible teacher in the Gospel Hall, where they now worshipped.

    Chappy's last illness and death are recorded in a harrowing letter written by his mother to her sister Crun. He was taken seriously ill with what may have been an abscess on the liver following a bout of dysentery on 7 October 1917, and the doctors in Hong Kong were unable to do anything for him. After some days of indecision and ineffectual treatment, his desperate mother took him to Macau, then a ferry trip lasting several hours; Portuguese doctors had a better reputation than local people, and many British doctors were away at the war. Olive was prepared to go to any length to save her son's life. The trip only added to Chappy's intense suffering in his last few days, but he held fast to his new-found faith, bravely refusing to accept the Catholic last rites, until his mother persuaded him for his father's sake. When Chappy died at the end of a ghastly week, "Joe broke down like a little child in sorrow," wrote Olive. She could not find words to express her own grief.

    Forty years later, his brother Clemwrote to Jack on 14th October 1957. He always remembered that day, still mourning the loss of 'fine Chappy', who had not had the opportunity to go on to have his own family, 'as others of us have done. Why must it be so?' asked Clem plaintively. Fifty years later still, a nephew also feels the sadness of never having known a young man of such great promise.

    Stuart Braga

    18th April 2008.3



  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-326.
  2. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., IV-676.
  3. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao.

Clemente Alberto Braga1,2

M, #14496, n. 23 Setembro 1902, f. 7 Fevereiro 1972


Pai-Bio*: José Pedro Braga OBE n. 3 Ago 1871, f. 12 Fev 1944

Eventos Principais Main Events::

Nascimento: 23 Setembro 1902, Macau
Falecimento: 7 Fevereiro 1972, Vancouver, Canada3


Outros detalhes Other details:

  • Alcunha: "Clem."3
  • Nascimento*: Em 23 Setembro 1902 Macau.
  • Falecimento*: 7 Fevereiro 1972 Vancouver, Canada, 69.3
  • Nota1*:

    I believe that my father's early years were reasonably happy. The photos I have of him as a child and young man show him smiling, relaxed and cheerful with the exception of one. He must have been about four years old and he still had long curls – like a girl! I was told that his mother would not cut off those beautiful curls until he was much older.

    Clem, as he preferred to be called, was educated, as his brothers were, at St. Joseph's College in Hong Kong. He was disillusioned with the sternness of some of the teachers there and later in his life he eventually turned from religion as a source of spiritual guidance. What inspired and sustained him was his great love for literature, drama and art; and like many of his family, he was passionate about classical music.

    Clem left school at the age of 13 and joined the business world. It seems that the primary purpose was to help the family. He worked at a variety of clerical jobs – print shop, office clerk, and for a while at his father's newspaper. In his early 20s he travelled with two of his brothers to mainland China and later (on a passenger vessel) they worked their way over to Canada. The ship docked at Vancouver harbour for only one night and the brothers (then members of the Plymouth Brethren) were put in touch with three young ladies from a Baptist group. One of these was my mother, Muriel Williamson, who was 17. The following diary entry suggests that she took to him immediately: "Sept. 25: Meet Miss Meadows and Braga boys at Mrs. Reid's. Clement easily leads. We all thought so."

    Murielasked Clement to send her a post card of Hong Kong by night and a friendship began which continued through correspondence for four years. In 1929, Clem returned to Vancouver and asked Murielto marry him. Unfortunately, he lost an allotment given to him by his father in the great stock market crash of that year.

    Muriel accepted Clem's proposal but since she had medical problems, she wished to postpone marriage. Clem returned to Hong Kong and subsequently, Muriel would undergo X-ray therapy (a very new treatment at this time) for a deep brain tumor. It was, initially, successful.

    Between 1930 and his wedding in 1938, Clem joined an army regiment in Hong Kong. He enjoyed his time in the service since he had always loved the popular military bands, regalia and ceremony. Throughout his life this had inclined him towards a commission and he was very disappointed when he was unable to serve in World War II. He worked as a newspaper reporter during these years and seems to have had a very active social life both in Hong Kong and Macau. He sang in Gilbert and Sullivan productions and attended many musical events.

    Clem and Muriel married in Vancouver in 1938, returning to Hong Kong for their honeymoon. They were to remain there for eight years as a result of the Second World War. They, like other members of the family, successfully retreated to Macau where they spent the war years. Both Clem and Muriel became teachers at a local schools.

    English was a much.needed commodity and Clem was extremely proficient, working at the Liceo do Dom.Infante Henrique. Muriel had been trained as a kindergarten teacher and obtained a position training Chinese girls. Both had private pupils as well. This is an excerpt from a letter Muriel wrote to her relatives: "As soon as summer comes, four or five girls are joining Rosa to make a class. It takes quite a lot of time preparing lessons as I have to learn it all myself first! Clem is doing extraordinarily well at it and it seems to be the general opinion that if you want to be sure of learning English you must have him for your teacher. The new officials and officers coming out from Portugal will wait months to get him rather than take anyone else."

    In addition Clem wrote a regular literary column for the Macau Tribune called "From the Bookshelf", using the pen name 'Chips'. The couple were fortunate in being invited to stay in the English Consulate during the war and Clem did some work for the Consul, John Reeves. For Muriel, her experience as a bride in Hong Kong was both exciting and wearing. Her health was never perfect and the war years in Macau were especially difficult. Homesick, she left as soon as the war ended, on the first ship out of Hong Kong. Clem was not allowed to accompany her for some official reason. However, he was determined to leave China and begin a new life in Canada. He arrived in Vancouver about six months after Muriel. They now had a daughter, Lynne, three months old.

    Clem never really adjusted well to his new home. From a busy, vibrant Portuguese colony, full of family and friends, he arrived in Vancouver – then a smoke-obscured rainy port populated mostly by loggers, miners and dock workers. Initially the small family lived in a good neighbourhood with Muriel's sister and husband. Not wishing to remain there, they found poor accommodation for the next nine years in various rooming houses and apartments. Clem had difficulty finding work, having no contacts. First, he was hired as a waiter at the fashionable Vancouver Club, then as a salesman at a machine supply store and finally as a traffic manager in a small company called Canada Grain Export. There he worked for very poor wages for the next 15 years, making use of his knowledge of Portuguese (for translation) and his talent for diplomatic correspondence. After nine years in Canada, Clem was able to begin the purchase of a small, rather dilapidated cottage in an affluent area of the city. In what must have been a strange and hostile place, Clem found release in the dramatic arts. He discovered something of a niche in newly forming drama circles in the city, first appearing in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, then acting and producing for the Vancouver Shakespeare Society and finally, forming his own amateur drama troupe, the Harlequin Players. He managed to produce and direct several plays, including 'A Winter's Tale' and 'Lady Windermere's Fan'.

    Clem was a loving husband and father, fond of teaching his daughter French and German (he had taken these up as hobbies) and was particularly given to reading the Romantic poets and Shakespeare. He always retained his affection for music and was a talented writer as well as something of an artist, using this creativity in his dramatic work. Home improvement, though, was not a consideration, and to Muriel's consternation, he occasionally asserted that he did not like a lawn, that he would be much happier to pave it over with a stone courtyard.

    Unfortunately, as the little cottage deteriorated over the years, so did Muriel's health. Then, In 1963, Clem was released from his position at Canada Grain Export after 15 years of service, when the small organization was sold to a larger company. Soon after this happened, Muriel had a serious stroke and was hospitalized for three months. Clem did not give up and after an exhausting employment search, he secured a position at a film processing plant. Following Muriel's release from hospital, the couple decided to sell their home and travel to England, a dream they had always had. They were able to stay with Noel and Marjory in England and John and Louie in Edinburgh. This was a wonderful time for Clem since he had only had the briefest of visits from some of his brothers, James, Paul and Tony and one sister, Caroline, since leaving China. He obviously missed his family; he often remembered, with great affection, his older brother, Chappy , who died when Clem was 16. He also corresponded with other family members and always thought of them at Christmas. Although James did not live far away from Clem, they did not visit regularly since they did not see eye to eye on religion; but they always had warm regard for each other. After seeing something of Britain and France, Clem and Muriel returned to Canada, settling in Victoria, capital city of British Columbia. Clem had vacationed there a few times and admired the 'English' atmosphere of the place. However, Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, and so they would spend their remaining years separated from their daughter who worked in Vancouver.

    About 1969, Clem decided to open a small gift shop which he called "Checkers." It was not successful. Muriel's health continued to deteriorate; the stroke had resulted in epilepsy and her mental condition was unreliable. Clem, as always, cared for her with great devotion. Meanwhile, he took on part.time work as a bookkeeper.

    In the early 70's, Muriel had decided to attend a church, it seems, at the suggestion of James. One Sunday morning, she fell down the church steps and injured her leg. Clem began regular visits to the hospital, and it was on New Year's Eve 1972, while on his way there that he was struck down by a van driven by a celebrating neighbour. He was admitted to emergency, and perhaps fortunately, the lone resident intern was a Chinese doctor from Hong Kong whose English was imperfect. A diagnosis of subdural haematoma was suspected but not confirmed until the following afternoon. As it was New Year's weekend he was not operated on until Monday, which was too late. He was now comatose. Clem remained in this condition for a month, and Paul left his affairs in Hong Kong and rushed to Victoria. He was tremendously helpful in organizing things for one unfamiliar with British Columbia. With both Clem and Muriel in the hospital, and Muriel's relatives visiting, there was much confusion. Clem died of complications on February 7th and Muriel, unable to face the future, died three months later in a nursing home.

    Clem Braga was not materially successful. He earned little and never owned a car. He could be described as a dreamer, even eccentric; but a more sensitive, gentle and kind man would be hard to find. Always thinking of others, (often securing good employment for them) while unable to further himself, he will always be remembered fondly by those who knew him.

    Lynne Braga

    About 1996.4



  1. [S4] Famílias Macaenses 1st ed., III-326.
  2. [S642] Jorge Forjaz, Famílias Macaenses 2nd ed., IV-676.
  3. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao, email 9/1/08.
  4. [S46] Stuart Braga #14522, e-mail to HA d'Assumpcao.