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Sikhs have made Australia their home for about 100 years

Religious needs of the Sikh community have been honored, by the gazettal of a separate Sikh cremation place in 1932

Sikh community celebrating Vaishakhi. Wikimedia

History says that many years ago, Indians came to Australia to run camel trains. These Indians were Afghans and they used to keep the supply line and communication open between the Centre of Australia and Melbourne. The goods and mail were transported using camels through the desert.

Later, the Punjabis came, got involved in the Victorian fields and took part in the rush for gold. Apart from them, Muslims from North Western Punjab region worked as camel drivers in the Central Australian dessert. Since then, more Indians came to Australia more than fifty years ago while both India and Australia were British colonies.

Like many others, Tarun Preet Singh migrated to Australia in 2002 with his wife and three kids and decided to settle in Perth. He joined the Sikh Association in around 2007-2008 and volunteered as a committee member in 2009.

Tarunpreet Singh ( Photo courtesy:
Tarunpreet Singh ( Photo courtesy:

He found a brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA. After inquiring people about its existence, he came to know about the former Sikh Cemetery in Adenia Park in Riverton suburb and about Mr John Parker of Canning Districts Historical Society.

Related Article: The spirited journey of Canadian Sikhs

On meeting Mr. Parker, he came to know that the brass plaque was designed by him and that got Tanupreet curious. On further questioning, Parker told him that he made the plaque using 20 kilos of brass metal in the year 1992. To be extra safe, he had made two of them, thinking that if one gets lost or misplaced, he could use the other.

The brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA.
The brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA.

Through this, Singh came to know about the migration of Sikhs in Australia and that people belonging to Sikh community were an integral part of Australia for more than 100 years.

The Adenia Park site history is listed on WA State Heritage Register as of significant historic value associated with WA State Cremation Act of 1929 and undertaking of cremation. The site is one of the proofs that Sikhs have made Australia their home for a very long time. The place is a symbol of acceptance of diverse ethnic groups who tried to maintain their customs, traditions and rituals.

This is how the religious needs of the Sikh community came forward and resulted in the gazettal of a separate Sikh cremation place in 1932. There are more than 12 cremation sites present in WA but this one was allotted for the Sikh community officially by the Government.

Further, this led to the discovery of an important piece in the history of a WW-II battle on West Australian soil that the Royal Indian Air Force Flying Officer Manmohan Singh died in. The Allied forces had 22 aircrafts that were destroyed and 88 personnel died on March 3, 1942 in Broome, West Australia. The historic incident also included USAF, RAF, RAAF and Dutch Airforce.

SAWA initiated by organizing a small event annually from 2011 at the site on the first weekend of March to commemorate both these important pieces of Sikh history in WA.

Few members of the SAWA community came forward to join the vital pieces of Sikh in the history of WA and formed ASHA (Australian Sikh Heritage Association) in the year 2014.

Apart from this, ASHA is also working on various projects that will bring forth the crucial roles played by Sikhs and the contributions made by them in the development of Australia.

City of Canning came forward and offered a great support to ASHA by building a pathway costing $35k in 2016 and Lotterywest has supported them with a grant of $150k.

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  • Pritam Go Green

    Sikhs are an important religious member of our society. They have established themselves in various parts of the world such as America, Australia, Iran, UK

  • Archita aggarwal


Next Story

Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS