Story of the Library’s Establishment

Story of the Library’s Establishment

The current site of Sir Robert Ho Tung Library at No. 3 St. Augustine's Square was originally the mansion owned by Carolina Antónia da Cunha (Dona Carolina Cunha). After her husband, Governor Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha, passed away due to illness in 1850 during his tenure2, Dona Carolina Cunha remained in Macao, residing in the said location.

Sir Robert Ho Tung Building in the 1930s

Ordinance No. 5:984 in the Official Gazette of Macao dated 6 April 1957: Macao Government received the legacy from Sir Robert Ho Tung.

Ordinance No.6:020 in the Official Gazette of Macao dated 13 July 1957: Stipulate the nature of and the jurisdiction over Sir Robert Ho Tung Library.

On 7 July 1958, the Provincial Office of the Civil Administration Services announced the opening date and time of the Library.

The current site of Sir Robert Ho Tung Library at No. 3 St. Augustine's Square, was originally the mansion owned by Carolina Antónia da Cunha (Dona Carolina Cunha)1. After her husband, Governor Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha, passed away due to illness in 1850 during his tenure2, Dona Carolina Cunha remained in Macao, residing in the said location.

According to records on the Property Registry, the property was first registered on 5 April 1894, and was mortgaged by the then proprietor Dona Carolina Cunha on the next day. The date and price of its purchase are, however, unknown. After the passing of Dona Carolina Cunha, the property was put up for public auction on 28 March 1898, which was won by Zhou Dongsheng, and was subsequently re-sold twice. In 1911, it was purchased by Miguel Rodrigues Morgado. After his passing, his wife Eugénia Marques Morgado inherited 50% of the ownership, and acquired the other 50% at an auction in 1917. On 27 February the following year, the mansion was finally bought by Sir Robert Ho Tung at a price of $16,000.

Between 1941 and 1945, during the period that Hong Kong fell to the Imperial Japanese , this residence became Sir Robert Ho Tung's retreat3.

On 26 April 1956, Sir Robert Ho Tung passed away in Hong Kong. His will was to establish a public library collecting Chinese books in Macao.

On 6 April 1957, the Macao Government received the bequest from Sir Robert Ho Tung, including the property at No.3 St. Augustine's Square, and an amount of HK$25,000, based on his will concluded on 4 July 1955. According to the will, the property and its backyard were to be converted into a public library collecting Chinese books and named ‘Sir Robert Ho Tung Library’, and the HK$25,000 mentioned above would be used for the purchase of the books. 4On 13 July of the same year, Governor Pedro Correia de Barros, after collecting opinions, ordered the establishment of the library on the current site, and named it after Sir Robert Ho Tung. The position of the librarian was taken up by the director of the Macao National Library (now Macao Public Library), who was entitled to reside on the third floor of the property gratis. Regulations pertaining to the operation of the library were announced afterwards.5

On 7 July 1958, the Provincial Office of the Civil Administration Services announced, ‘from 1 August onward, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, located on the second floor of No.3 St. Augustine’s Square, will open from 3pm to 5pm from Monday to Friday, and from 11am to 1pm on Saturdays.’

On 11 March 1961, Governor Jaime Silvério Marques approved the Regulations of Sir Robert Ho Tung Library.6

 

  • The wife of Governor Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha.
  • Wu, Z.L., Tang K.J. & Jin G.P. (2009). The Chronicle of Macau (Vol. 4, pp. 1659). Guangzhou: Guangdong People’s Publishing House
  • 23 December 1945, Renascimento
  • Ordinance No.5:984
  • Ordinance No.6:020
  • Ordinance No.6:717