The brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par originated from China’s Fujian Province, and were born in Rangoon. In 1909, they inherited Eng Aun Tong, a small herbal shop established by their late father Aw Chi Kim. Perfecting their father’s prescriptions, they began producing Ban Kim Ewe (Ten Thousand Golden Oils) for relief of body aches and pains, later renamed as Tiger Balm. The ointment soon became a household name in Rangoon and other parts of Southeast Asia.
In 1932, the Aw brothers had built the second largest Tiger Balm production facility in Hong Kong. Tan Kyi Kyi, Aw Boon Haw’s second wife, was fond of this city for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and more moderate climate. Haw thus purchased a steep rocky lot on Tai Hang Road, and built a residence for her. The house and its private garden, occupying 8 acres of land, was completed in 1936. Although the house was built for Aw Boon Haw’s family, the brothers named it with both their names as Haw Par Mansion.
Haw Par Mansion is one of the few surviving specimens of the Chinese Eclectic style architecture in Hong Kong, and an invaluable heritage site. Adjoining the Mansion and its private garden was the landscaped Tiger Balm Garden, opened in the same year for public enjoyment and has since become part of the collective memories of generations of Hong Kong people.