SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

Advertisement
  • The Australian Sikh Heritage Trail (Supplied)
The Sikh community in Western Australia has celebrated the formal inauguration of the Australian Sikh Heritage Trail at Adenia Park in Perth. This is the exact site where Sikhs were cremated legally in WA for the first time in the 1930s.
English
By
15 Mar 2018 - 11:52 AM  UPDATED 18 Apr 2018 - 11:22 AM

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. 

Follow SBS Punjabi on Facebook and Twitter.

Also Read
Melbourne school amends uniform policy to admit Sikh boy with turban
The Melton Christian College (MCC) has changed its uniform policy to enrol six-year-old Sidhak Singh Arora in the new academic year, after refusing his admission last year because he wore a patka, a head covering worn by Sikh children.
'Avenue of Honour': Sikh Anzacs remembered in Australian outback
Members of the Adelaide and the Riverland Sikh community attended the ANZAC Dawn Service in Mantung on ANZAC Day (25 April 2017). Three Sikh Anzacs are remembered here - Private Sarn Singh, Private Ganessa Singh and Private Juwan Singh.
Sikh history resources made available in Western Australian schools
Australian Sikh history has been included in the Humanities and Social Sciences subjects in WA schools for year 5, 6 and 9.
Remembering the unsung Flying Officer Man Mohan Singh
Man Mohan Singh was one of the first Sikh pilots of British Indian Air Force. He died in a Japanese raid in WWII on Broome, Western Australia on 3 March 1942.
Charting the Sikh connection to Australia’s First People
It is an established fact that Indigenous and Muslim communities have traded, socialised and intermarried in Australia for three centuries. But the shared history between Aboriginal people, Sikh culture and religion is somewhat lesser known.
$150K WA grant to highlight Australia's Sikh history

Western Australia's rich Sikh history will come to life thanks to the addition of interpretive panels along the Australian Sikh Heritage Trail in Riverton. Here is WA Sikh representative in conversation with SBS Punjabi's Preetinder Singh Grewal.