The 1st Fleet’s Indian connection


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Book launches Indian Connections to Australian History

GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) with North West Sydney Branch President Mrs Aman Singh and Chairperson Harry Walia, played proud hosts at State Parliament House to the Australian Indian Historical Society’s Volume 5 Book Launch, with Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan. Len and Crystal began their historical research work some 25 years ago on Indian connections to Australian history.

Len Kenna from the Australian Indian Historical Society spoke how Indian connections to Australian History dates back to the beginning of white settlement when Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of NSW was summoned to England from his posting in East India Company to prepare the first fleet that arrived to Australia in 1788. He also talked about how it was Indian sailors and explorers in their ships discovered the stretch of sea between Melbourne and Van Diemen’s Land (now called Tasmania), which lead to Bass and Flinders exploring the stretch of sea, which is now called Bass Strait. Len Kenna made the comment “Bass Strait appropriately should be called Singh Strait, as it was a Singh that first discovered that stretch of sea”.

GOPIO Chairperson Harry Walia thanked Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan who had come especially from Melbourne with the Australian Indian Historical Society for the special book launch. He said, “It is an inspiring story that needs to be told. A story, a history really, about the first arrival of Indians in Australia…Keywords that reflects Australia with Indians are vision, shared values, networking, trust, hard work, perseverance and collaboration”. Volume 5 of Indian History in Australia is a photographic history. Volume 1 is Discovering Victoria by Indians. Volume 2 is about Camels and Trailblazers. Volume 3 about Horses and Volume 4 is about Hawkers.

Indian Consul General to Sydney, Mr Sunjay Sudhir praised Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan for their high quality historical research work and book writings that led to Indian Connections to Australian History. “Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan at last have shown India’s and Indians contributions to Australian history from the beginning in 1788. Australia’s and India’s bilateral link according to science goes back for thousands of years with Gondwanaland and thousands of years later, this link continues especially with history”. State MP for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire MP further entertained the book launch and spoke about his ancestry from India (he is the Great Grandson of Sunda Singh) and settling in the Wagga Wagga region, becoming part of Australia’s history from India. Other MPs present included Upper House members Peter Primrose MP; Dr Geoff Lee MP (Parramatta), David Elliott MP (Baulkham Hills) and Tony Issa MP (Granville).

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