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Sikhs have been in Australia for over 150 years. However, their remarkable contribution remains little known.
The Australian Sikh Heritage Trail will provide a unique experience that will inform and entertain young and old while paying respect to the almost forgotten early immigrants of Australia.
A Lotterywest grant of $150K provided the initial impetus to help establish this interactive heritage park based on the history of the Sikh community in Western Australia.
Tarun Preet Singh from Australian Sikh Heritage Association (ASHA) told SBS Punjabi that after completion, park would attract tourists and visitors who are keen to learn about the contribution of Sikhs in building Australian identity.
“This site in Riverton has been redeveloped to showcase the history of Sikhs in Australia,” he said.
“This is Australian history that consists of 150 years of distinct and significant contribution from the Sikh community in shaping the present cultural and social landscape of Australia.
The project is a joint initiative of the local Sikh community with a significant input coming from Sikh Association of Western Australia (SAWA), Sikh Gurdwara Perth Inc and Australian Sikh Heritage Association.
Tarun Preet Singh said that the Australian Sikh Heritage Trail will showcase different themes on a pathway around the Adenia Park.
“We are in process of installing about twenty interpretive plaques that will pass on this information to next generation,” he said.
“Each sign will have a theme [like] Sikh farmers, Sikh wrestlers, Sikh Anzacs, Sikh hawkers and Sikh Entrepreneurs.
“We are also going to have an interpretive shelter, with park benches and a boardwalk near the Canning River.
Gurdarshan Singh, President of SAWA told SBS Punjabi that the site is important for historic reasons because of its association with the religious rituals of the small Sikh community of Western Australia.
“The park will acknowledge the efforts of the Sikh community during the White Australia Policy era to influence the passing of the WA State Cremation Act of 1929," he said.
“Cremation was not generally permitted in Western Australia until the passing of the Cremations Act 1929.
The current phase of the project has been made possible through the significant financial and in kind contributions from the City of Canning and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions including project management, design and landscaping services.
On 4th March, 2018 the Sikh community from Perth held the annual remembrance service at the Australian Sikh Heritage site in Riverton. The service was jointly organised by SAWA, ASHA and Virsa club.
SAWA President Mr Gurdarshan Singh explained the attendees about the 25 years history of SAWA’s efforts to preserve the history and heritage of the Sikh community in WA.
“We gathered to remember the ultimate sacrifice on Australian land by Pilot Officer Man Mohan Singh during WW-II.
“This is the 76th anniversary and similar service was held in Broome on Sat 3rd March and in Darwin on Sunday 4th March.