1 - Guru Nanak Sikh Temple (Gurudwara)

Guru Nanak Sikh Temple

Visitors welcome
9am-6pm, 7 days a week
+61 2 6654 0099 

This is the site where a small Sikh temple was built in 1969. The need for this temple came about as the population of Sikh residents started to grow after World War Two.

This is the small Temple built in 1969

History

Sikhs first arrived in Australia in the late 1800s. The reason was simple. As India was part of the Commonwealth, Indians were able to travel throughout the Commonwealth, to search for a better life, with regards to work opportunities and prosperity. Most of the Sikhs come from the north western corner of India, the state of Punjab.

Traditional farmers in their homeland, they searched for similar work. Firstly they found work in the sugar cane fields as far away as Cairns and as close as the Clarence Valley. 

The first Sikh to buy a farm here in Woolgoolga was Booja Singh from village Malpur Arkan. He was brought to Australia as an adopted son of Oudham Singh Arkan also from the village of Malpur Arkan.  

Once word got out that there was good money to be made from bananas more and more Sikhs arrived. Some of the early Settlers families still reside in Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour.

Sikhism

Sikhism was founded in 1469 by Guru Nanak Dev ji (the name of this temple is in remembrance of the first Sikh Guru). He was the first of ten human gurus. The term Guru means teacher and the word Sikh means to learn or disciple. 
These ten Gurus bought the message of God to the people of India. This message is simple; Sikhs believe there is only one God, that god has no shape, size, gender, colour or race.  They believe all that is, is in fact God. God is described as unfathomable, indescribable, and infinite in the Sikh text. Sikhs have no caste discrimination. Everyone is welcome and equal.
 
In the centre of the temple you will notice a raised platform. This is where the current Guru (the Guru Granth Sahib ji) resides. To demonstrate the concept of the oneness of God and the brotherhood of mankind, the Sikh Gurus collected the writings of all the Gurus plus the writings of other contemporaries (some from Muslim faith and others from Hindu faith, as well as so called untouchables or lower caste contemporaries). These writings were compiled and the Tenth Guru ji (Guru Gobind Singh ji) ordained that these writings would form the new and everlasting Guru for the Sikhs. (Please note: it is the message within the text that is important, hence symbolically the scriptures are located on a higher platform in all Sikh temples.)

Sikhs believe the awareness of God comes about by remembrance of God in all that we do. By earning one’s living in an honest way and sharing.
 
The current Temple.

Sikhs do not have a priest class, hence the service at the temple is conducted by many in that anyone is able to perform Kirtan (Devotional singing). Sikhs have no gender bias, again this is demonstrated by prayer being conducted by both female and male Sikhs. Further to this, the baptism is granted to anyone willing to follow the beliefs of the Sikhs. Each of the Gurus contributed to the Sikh faith, forming a way of living, that addressed social, economic and community issues, uplifting people from centuries of superstitious and divisional practices. In doing so they built a platform allowing each human to thrive and lead a healthy existence, thus focus was on humanity, not self.

Woolgoolga has become the home of a large group of people from India. The Sikhs contribute to the diversity of Australia. Sikhs are proud to be Australian.
 
The temple is open for prayer from 5:00am and evening prayers at 6:00pm. For more information go to sikhnet.com.

A Punjabi Sikh Community in Australia

Chapter 2: From sojourners to settlers

Rashmere Bhatti (née Arkan) conducted a number of interviews during 2000 and early 2001 with people living in the Woolgoolga-Coffs Harbour area and elsewhere about the Punjabis when they first came to this area. You can read at this site the responses she received regarding Marjorie Hedges, Peter Newman, Peter's wife, Berril Newman, Earl Richards, Vivian Thomas Slater, Janice O'Connell, Harry Gale, Robert John Laugher, Frederick George (Dood) Unwin, Iris Unwin (Dood's wife), Jean Robinson and Harbhajan Kaur Bains (the granddaughter of Baba Ram Singh who died in 1983, aged 106 years).

Links

Panel 1 - Guru Nanak Sikh Temple