LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE: Old Photos Of Macau From Decades Before The Boom

leroy demery macao 1980

[credit provider=”Leroy W. Demery Jr.” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwdemery/sets/72157613872356792/with/5027615892/”]

If you’ve seen the new James Bond movie, you know the opulence found in Macau today is without parallel.The tiny region, comprising a peninsula jutting out from the mainland and a nearby island, is seen as a proxy for both China (whose wealthier citizens use it as a playground) and the gaming industry as a whole.

Among the crazier facts about Macau today:

  • Growth has averaged around 19% for a decade
  • In 2006 Macau’s casino revenues  surpassed those of Las Vegas
  • The Sands Macau, opened in 2004, recouped its $265 million construction costs in one year

It wasn’t always so.

In the summer of 1980, Leroy W. Demery, Jr., an expert in Asian transportation, visited the country (then still a Portuguese protectorate) and documented his journey. 

He recently posted his copyrighted photo collection to flickr, and with his kind permission we have reproduced the snapshots here.

Click here to see his photos >

Here is his introduction to the collection:

I traveled by overnight ferry from Hong Kong to Macao, spent the day (1980 July 16) in Macao, then returned to Hong Kong by overnight ferry.

“Overnight ferry” for a 60 km distance?

Yes, one boarded the vessel about 10 p.m. The fare included a bunk in an air-conditioned dormitory – “Spartan” but very comfortable. The vessel sailed after midnight and certainly arrived within 3-4 hours. Passengers were awakened at about 6 a.m., as I remember.

Yes, catamarans and jetfoils were much faster, but fares were higher, and the overnight ferry permitted one to save the cost of overnight accommodation.

Macao, in 1980, was quiet. Very quiet. It had a distinct “small town” atmosphere that contrasted sharply with the Central District of nearby Hong Kong. Much has changed since then. Remarkably, the land area has nearly doubled, from about 16 square km to nearly 29 square km. Many of the images in this set are certainly “vanished scenes.”

I regret that do not have a 1980 street map of Macao, and so am not able to locate some of these images.

By the way, we can only imagine what it must be like for notorious gangster “Broken Tooth,” who just got released from prison after a 14-year sentence for plotting to murder the country’s police chief, to see the city now.

Anyway, read on to take the journey to Old Macau.

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permalink=”just-to-get-you-started-heres-what-macau-looks-like-today-1″
title=”Just to get you started, here’s what Macau looks like today.”
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[slide
permalink=”and-heres-what-it-looked-like-back-in-the-day-this-is-leal-senado-legislative-seat-during-portuguese-rule-now-home-to-the-institute-of-civic-and-municipal-affairs-2″
title=”And here’s what it looked like back in the day. This is Leal Senado, legislative seat during Portuguese rule, now home to the Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs.”
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permalink=”this-section-of-the-harbor-is-now-reclaimed-land-demery-says-3″
title=”This section of the harbor is now reclaimed land, Demery says.”
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permalink=”the-arquivo-historico-the-beginning-of-restoration-work-may-be-seen-at-right-demery-writes-today-the-building-appears-in-splendid-condition-4″
title=”The Arquivo Historico. “The beginning of restoration work may be seen at right,” Demery writes. “Today, the building appears in splendid condition.””
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permalink=”outer-harbor-facing-taipa-island-one-of-macaos-twin-landmasses-5″
title=”Outer Harbor, facing Taipa island, one of Macao’s twin landmasses”
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[slide
permalink=”taipa-island-from-macao-peninsula-this-scene-was-transformed-by-construction-of-the-second-macau-taipa-bridge-started-in-1990-and-completed-in-1994-demery-writes-6″
title=”Taipa island from Macao peninsula. “This scene was transformed by construction of the second Macau-Taipa bridge, started in 1990 and completed in 1994,” Demery writes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106daecad043b7500001b”
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[slide
permalink=”taipa-coloane-causeway-completed-in-1969–five-years-before-the-first-macau-taipa-bridge-was-opened-this-is-very-much-a-vanished-scene-demery-writes-land-reclamation-has-created-an-entirely-new-town-cotai-on-what-was-once-open-water-between-the-two-islands-7″
title=”Taipa-Coloane causeway, completed in 1969 — five years before the first Macau-Taipa bridge was opened. “This is very much a ‘vanished scene,'” Demery writes. “Land reclamation has created an entirely new town, Cotai, on what was once open water between the two islands.””
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[slide
permalink=”breakwatersmall-boat-moorage-the-original-macau-taipa-bridge-aka-ponte-governador-nobre-de-carvalho-is-in-the-background-8″
title=”Breakwater/small boat moorage. The original Macau-Taipa Bridge (aka Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho) is in the background.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106d7ecad046579000001″
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[slide
permalink=”penha-hill-and-our-lady-of-pehna-church-extensive-land-reclamation-has-transformed-this-scene-dramatically-demery-writes-the-body-of-water-at-right-was-once-part-of-the-bahia-da-praia-grande-grand-beach-bay-it-has-been-enclosed-and-is-now-lago-sai-van–sai-van-lake-9″
title=”Penha Hill and Our Lady of Pehna Church. “Extensive land reclamation has transformed this scene dramatically,” Demery writes. “The body of water at right was once part of the Bahia da Praia Grande (“Grand Beach Bay”). It has been enclosed and is now Lago Sai Van — Sai Van Lake.”
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[slide
permalink=”hotel-lisboa-casino-lisboa-and-macau-taipa-bridge-10″
title=”Hotel Lisboa, Casino Lisboa and Macau-Taipa Bridge”
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[slide
permalink=”view-across-bahia-da-praia-grande–another-vanished-scene-demery-says-11″
title=”View across Bahia da Praia Grande — another “vanished scene,” Demery says.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106d8ecad043b75000018″
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[slide
permalink=”near-avenida-de-almeida-ribeiro-at-largo-do-senadosenado-square-demery-says-the-buildings-remain-but-have-been-renovated-12″
title=”Near Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro at Largo do Senado/Senado Square. Demery says the buildings remain but have been renovated.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c2131d69beddc441000002″
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[slide
permalink=”porto-interior-inner-harbor-13″
title=”Porto Interior (Inner Harbor)”
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permalink=”entrance-to-the-macau-palace-casino-14″
title=”Entrance to the Macau Palace Casino”
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[slide
permalink=”this-is-the-avenida-de-almeida-ribeiro-at-largo-do-senado-the-avenida-remains-the-main-shopping-street-in-the-historic-center-of-macau-15″
title=”This is the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro at Largo do Senado. The Avenida remains the main shopping street in the historic centre of Macau.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c2143becad04e071000006″
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[slide
permalink=”another-view-of-the-casino-16″
title=”Another view of the casino”
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[slide
permalink=”narrow-lane-near-avenida-de-almeida-ribeiro-the-uinquilharia-kei-mei-hong-remains-in-business-today-in-the-travessa-do-matadouro-demery-writes-17″
title=”Narrow lane near Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro. “The ‘uinquilharia Kei Mei Hong’ remains in business today, in the Travessa do Matadouro,” Demery writes.”
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[slide
permalink=”demery-says-this-is-most-likely-a-warehouse-along-the-inner-harbor-18″
title=”Demery says this is most likely a warehouse along the inner harbor.”
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[slide
permalink=”near-the-southwestern-extremity-of-todays-rua-street-do-doctor-lourenco-pereira-parques-19″
title=”Near the southwestern extremity of today’s Rua (Street) do Doctor Lourenco Pereira Parques”
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[slide
permalink=”porto-interior-inner-harbor-and-mainland-coast-20″
title=”Porto Interior (Inner Harbor) and Mainland coast”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106caecad043373000022″
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[slide
permalink=”a-ma-temple-built-in-1488-21″
title=”A Ma Temple, built in 1488″
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[slide
permalink=”a-ma-temple-entrance-gate-22″
title=”A Ma Temple entrance gate”
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[slide
permalink=”view-across-porto-interior-inner-harbor-to-yinkeng-village-the-waterfront-has-been-rebuilt-as-a-park-and-a-new-road-avenida-panoramica-do-lago-demery-writes-23″
title=”View across Porto Interior (Inner Harbor) to Yinkeng village. “The waterfront has been rebuilt as a park and a new road: Avenida Panoramica do Lago,” Demery writes”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c76bb3f7f55c000013″
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[slide
permalink=”this-shack-certainly-not-approved-by-the-local-authority-was-located-near-the-tip-of-the-peninsula-and-the-entrance-to-the-porto-interior-inner-harbor-demery-writes-24″
title=””This shack – certainly not approved by the ‘local authority’ – was located near the tip of the peninsula and the entrance to the Porto Interior (Inner Harbor),” Demery writes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c6eab8ea0510000005″
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[slide
permalink=”palacete-de-santa-sancha-the-state-guest-house-of-the-chief-executive-of-macau-until-reunification-in-1999-this-was-actually-the-official-residence-of-macaus-governor-25″
title=”Palacete de Santa Sancha, the state guest house of the Chief Executive of Macau. Until reunification in 1999, this was actually the official residence of Macau’s governor.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c8ecad043f7500001d”
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[slide
permalink=”penha-hill-and-church-the-buildings-at-street-level-remain-but-the-view-of-the-view-of-the-chapel-has-been-blocked-by-new-high-rise-buildings-demery-writes-26″
title=”Penha Hill and church. “The buildings at street level remain, but the view of the view of the chapel has been blocked by new high-rise buildings,” Demery writes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c216deecad04fd73000011″
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[slide
permalink=”residential-lane-27″
title=”Residential lane”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c215686bb3f71d5c000005″
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[slide
permalink=”narrow-lane-28″
title=”Narrow lane”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c215c9ecad04df7300000e”
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[slide
permalink=”universidade-internacional-de-macau-i-am-not-certain-where-this-building-is-located-or-what-it-is-used-forthere-does-not-appear-to-be-a-universidade-internacional-de-macau-demery-says-29″
title=”Universidade Internacional de Macau. “I am not certain where this building is located, or what it is used for…there does not appear to be a Universidade Internacional de Macau,” Demery says.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c5eab8ea180d00000e”
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[slide
permalink=”sun-yat-sen-memorial-house-30″
title=”Sun Yat-sen Memorial House”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106cd69bedd2033000017″
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[slide
permalink=”school-children-probably-somewhere-between-colina-da-guia-and-the-portas-do-cerco-31″
title=”School children, probably somewhere between Colina da Guia and the Portas do Cerco”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106ccecad049677000004″
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[slide
permalink=”school-children-at-lin-fung-temple-32″
title=”School children at Lin Fung Temple”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c2ecad046379000003″
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[slide
permalink=”view-of-the-portas-do-cerco-barrier-gates–the-frontier-between-the-mainland-and-macau-demery-says-33″
title=”View of the Portas do Cerco (Barrier Gates) — the “frontier” between the mainland and Macau, Demery says.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106bdeab8ea5b12000000″
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[slide
permalink=”lin-fung-temple-also-known-as-the-temple-of-the-lotus-the-only-temple-of-taoist-origin-in-macao-it-was-founded-in-1592-and-is-located-in-the-northern-part-of-the-country-34″
title=”Lin Fung Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Lotus.” The only temple of Taoist origin in Macao, it was founded in 1592 and is located in the northern part of the country.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106be6bb3f7fd5c000010″
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[slide
permalink=”residential-lane-northern-macau-35″
title=”Residential lane, northern Macau”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106bdecad044575000012″
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[slide
permalink=”an-inlet-probably-north-of-avenida-do-almirante-lacerda-the-mountains-in-the-background-are-on-the-mainland-if-the-location-is-correct-then-this-is-very-much-a-vanished-scene-the-inlet-was-eliminated-as-part-of-a-land-reclamation-project-demery-writes-36″
title=”An inlet, probably north of Avenida do Almirante Lacerda. “The mountains in the background are on the Mainland. If the location is correct, then this is very much a ‘vanished scene.’ The ‘inlet’ was eliminated as part of a land reclamation project,” Demery writes.”
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permalink=”narrow-lane-probably-located-near-the-runas-de-so-paulo-37″
title=”Narrow lane, probably located near the Ruínas de São Paulo”
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permalink=”calcada-do-monte-and-runas-de-so-paulo-38″
title=”Calcada do Monte and Ruínas de São Paulo”
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permalink=”baa-de-hc-s–hac-sa-beach-39″
title=”Baía de Hác Sá — Hac Sa Beach”
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permalink=”baa-de-hc-s-40″
title=”Baía de Hác Sá”
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[slide
permalink=”looking-across-the-bahia-da-praia-grande-this-was-a-sharp-contrast-to-the-bright-lights-of-central-hong-kong-demery-writes-41″
title=”Looking across the Bahia da Praia Grande. “This was a sharp contrast to the bright lights of central Hong Kong,” Demery writes.”
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[slide
permalink=”near-taipas-bus-terminal-42″
title=”Near Taipa’s bus terminal”
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[slide
permalink=”this-location-was-near-the-bus-terminal-in-coloane-town-demery-writes-it-had-a-very-quiet-atmosphere-almost-like-a-village-this-is-almost-certainly-a-vanished-scene-43″
title=””This location was near the bus terminal in Coloane town,” Demery writes. “It had a very quiet atmosphere, almost like a village. This is almost certainly a ‘vanished scene’.””
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c106c56bb3f7fe5c000023″
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permalink=”view-from-colina-da-guia-this-is-also-very-much-a-vanished-scene-because-of-extensive-land-reclamation-demery-says-todays-avenida-leste-do-hipodromo-is-located-approximately-where-the-seawall-visible-in-the-distance-stood-in-1980-44″
title=”View from Colina da Guia. “This is also very much a ‘vanished scene’ because of extensive land reclamation,” Demery says. “Today’s Avenida Leste do Hipodromo is located approximately where the seawall, visible in the distance, stood in 1980.””
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permalink=”the-casino-lisboa-sign-after-dark-45″
title=”The “Casino Lisboa” sign after dark”
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permalink=”more-macao-46″
title=”More Macao…”
content=”14 Data Points Showing Macau Still Crushing Vegas >
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