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.
Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Mike Nahan presented a $149,635 Lotterywest grant to the City of Canning at a function today, attended by representatives from the Sikh Association of Western Australia and the Australian Sikh Heritage Association Inc.
Dr Nahan said the Sikh community had a long and significant history in WA, with the interpretive panels guiding visitors from the historic WA Sikh Cremation Site at Adenia Reserve towards the Canning River via the heritage trail.
"Sikhs undertook a vital role in opening up and developing the South-West and Central and Eastern Goldfields regions, contributing to the establishment of the State's mining and farming industries," he said.
"Thanks to this trail and the interpretive experience these panels will provide, the wider community can now learn more about this fascinating part of our collective history."
The first Sikhs to settle in WA were cameleers in 1886, then hawkers and storekeepers, farmers - and even some wrestlers. Among these settlers were 19 Sikhs who sailed from Australia and New Zealand to serve as ANZACs in World War 1.
The Minister said Riverton's Adenia Reserve, a former Sikh cremation site, was valued for its association with the cultural, social and religious life of WA's Sikh community.
The panels mark the second phase of this project, following the commissioning and launch of the trail, which was researched and created by the Australian Sikh Heritage Association Inc earlier this year. The third phase will include the installation of a statue and the creation of an app that will enable visitors to locate Sikh heritage sites across Australia.
There are more than 72,200 Sikhs living across Australia, including more than 4,910 in WA
Sikhism has more than 20 million followers around the world
The earliest recorded evidence of a Sikh in WA is of camel owner Pal Singh, who arrived in Perth in 1886 and settled in Wyndham
WA is the only State where money raised from lottery products is distributed directly back to the community to support not-for-profit organisations
Minister's office - 6552 5700