Sikhs celebrate ties

Harjit Singh (foreground) with Lakhbir and Sukhjit Kaur and Tarunpreet, Paramjit and Gurseerat Singh acknowledge the past and present contributions of WA Sikhs to the State.|Picture: Elle Borgwardd3967
Harjit Singh (foreground) with Lakhbir and Sukhjit Kaur and Tarunpreet, Paramjit and Gurseerat Singh acknowledge the past and present contributions of WA Sikhs to the State.|Picture: Elle Borgwardd3967

Sikhs have been living in Australia since at least the 1800s and fought alongside allied troops at Gallipoli andduring World War II.

They came to Australia as camel handlers and helped open up the outback with the ships of the desert. Squadron Leader Manmohan Singh is one of many Sikhs remembered.

On March 3, 1942, the airman died defending Australia in Broome during a Japanese air attack.

Harjit Singh said Sikhs are visible and vibrant community members who have integrated into all facets of the Australian way of life, despite having to sometimes deal with ignorant people.’Because of our strong visual identity, Sikhs have unfortunately been at the forefront of experiencing abuse regarding our appearance, especially since 9/11,’ Mr Singh said.

‘We hope that by commemorating the early Sikhs, who lived in WA, and Flight Squadron Leader Manmohan Singh, we can highlight that Sikhism is a separate and distinct religion, while also showing that Sikhs have played a very important role in the very foundation of the Australia we live in. While we may look a little different, we are just as Australian as our neighbours.’