Sikh Soldier’s War Memorial for Blacktown NSW

Mayor of the Council Tony Bleasdale told Indian Link, “Historically, the Sikh community has played a significant part in...

Glenwood in Sydney’s north-west could soon be home to a Sikh Soldier’s War Memorial.

A tribute to the turbaned soldiers in Australia’s military history, a proposal to this effect has been accepted by the Blacktown City Council and has currently been put out for community consultation.

Mayor of the Council Tony Bleasdale told Indian Link, “Historically, the Sikh community has played a significant part in the British Empire, sacrificing many sons and daughters in war zones on behalf of us all. When a monument was suggested, we were more than proud to offer support.”

Blacktown is one of the most diverse LGAs in Australia, with a significant Sikh community.

“Blacktown is a great city for respect for other groups, and Sikhs are part of the big Blacktown family,” Mr Bleasdale said. “They are extremely generous – having performed exemplary service at times of bushfire, floods and COVID 19. Even as we speak, they are out there supporting those who can’t support themselves.”

Their sense of service will be exemplified in the statute of the unknown Sikh soldier, to be erected, if all goes well, at Glenwood Lake Reserve (cnr of Diamond Ave and Glenwood Drive)...

...Currently a design for the monument is being developed with artists and architects, Bajwa revealed.

Sikh soldiers fought for the British Army in World Wars I and II at hotspots in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In Australia, their involvement at Gallipoli, where they fought particularly valiantly, came to light in the early 2000s.

Especially noteworthy is the contribution of the 14th Sikh Regiment. 371 Sikhs fought gallantly to their deaths on June 3 & 4, 1915. Their bravery is illustrated by the fact that Sikhs won 14 of the 22 Victoria Crosses awarded to Indian soldiers...

...A war memorial to Indian soldiers already exists in Sydney, unveiled on the eve of Armistice Day in 2018 at Cherrybrook. A project of the Hindu Council of Australia, it has been criticised by Kenna and Jordan for including only Sikhs and Hindu names, not Muslims, Anglo-Saxons or other people of Indian origin who were Anzacs, who served in the Australian Imperial Force and fought for Australia.

A similar UK tribute was unveiled in 2018: a 3m bronze statue of a Sikh soldier in Smethwick, it honours soldiers of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain during WW1. (Another memorial, the Sikh War Memorial in Coventry bears the Khanda – the military emblem of the Sikhs.)

In 2017, Brisbane got its own memorial honouring Indian participation in Australia’s war efforts. It is housed at Sunnybank RSL.

The Glenwood Sikh memorial, it is hoped, will be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

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