AUSTRALIA'S forgotten Anzac Sikhs will be acknowledged in a booklet funded by a federal government Saluting Their Service commemorative grant.
The Australian Sikh Heritage Association, based in Canning Vale, will receive $61,027 to highlight this little-known chapter of Australian history.
Association volunteer Tarun Preet Singh said the booklet will tell the story of the Sikhs who served in the Australian Imperial Forces from 1914-1918.
At least 19 Sikhs from around Australia enlisted, wearing turbans rather than slouch hats, and fighting and dying alongside their fellow countrymen.
“There could be more we haven’t found yet, as some could have anglicised their names,” Mr Preet Singh said.
“Acknowledging this rich shared history is important as it builds bridges in the community and promotes harmony.”
This year marks the centenary of the death of Sikh Anzac private Sarn Singh, a farmer from Adelaide, who was killed in action during the allied attacks on Messines Ridge in Belgium in June 1917.
He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
“Through this booklet the community will learn about the Sikhs’ contribution and it will show the greatness of multicultural Australian history and heritage,” Mr Preet Singh said.
The booklet will be distributed to public libraries, schools, RSL clubs and Sikh and Indian organisations.
Mr Preet Singh said there were records of Sikhs in Australia going back at least 130 years. “They were very socially active, taking part in sports and helping to open up the outback, working as farmers, hawkers and cameleers,” he said.
- Anyone with information on Sikh Anzacs can contact the association – www.australiansikhheritage.com