Ma On Shan, the saddle-shaped peak in New Territories East, is widely seen as an extension of the Sha Tin New Town, with numerous residential buildings erected at the valley.
Its past as Hong Kong’s mining hub has long been forgotten.
But during its golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, the mining village of Ma On Shan had an annual output of more than 100,000 metric tons of iron with 60 percent purity, which was exported to Japan for further processing.
The iron mine was later abandoned after it lost its advantages to other less expensive sources in the 1970s. Some miners left but some decided to stay and enjoy the quiet rural way of life.
Today Ma On Shan Village houses around 80 families. Over the years the village has been shielded from the urban development, and as such, relics of its mining past still survive.
There used to be two churches — St. Joseph’s Chapel and Yan Kwong Lutheran Church — providing the villagers and children with medical care, education and, of course, spiritual guidance. Both had closed down along with the fall of the mining industry.
Nevertheless, the Lutheran Church has undergone its first phase of revitalization and has reopened for exhibitions, workshops and guided tours, inviting more people to get to know and help preserve the history and culture of the old village.
From/To: Take village bus NR84 at On Luk Street, or walk up the hill to Ma On Shan Village.
Time: Around two hours
Tips: Lutheran Grace Youth Camp, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong, is open to the public every first three Wednesdays and weekends of each month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours are available for those who register in advance. For details, please refer to this page (Chinese Only).
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 24.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
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