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Book Series

“It Happened in Heywood” by Len Kenna was published in 2001 is a play about a Young Sikh Hawker died in Heywood Victoria, at the beginning of the twentieth century.  The Premiere of this play was launched at La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria by the Vice Chancellor Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis AC.  The play was then taken on a travelling tour throughout the Western District of Victoria where it was very well received by rural people who remembered the Indian Hawkers that used to visit their homes and the Johnny Cakes and lollies that they gave to the children. The Series “Are Indians an Ethnic Minority?” Volumes 1-5 by Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan.  Volume 1, Discovering Victoria was published by Jika Publishing in 2008.  Volume 2, Cameleers and Trailblazers; Volume 3, Horses and Walers; Volume 4, Hawkers; and Volume 5, A Pictorial History were published by the Australian Indian Historical Society and launched on the 7 July 2014 by the High Commissioner of India, Biren Nanda at the Consulate General of India, Melbourne.  This Series a culmination of over 20 years of research by Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan explores avenues of Australian Indian History and the wonderful contribution made in the early days of Settlement by Indians, and domestic animals and goods imported into Australia from India which enabled the establishment of a normal society in New South Wales. 



A Young Sikh Hawker died in Heywood Victoria, at the beginning of the twentieth century – his brother arrives in town to cremate him. What do the town people think about this? What do they do? How do they respond? A few songs, some jokes and pathos will be found in this play.

HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING The town of Heywood is situated in South Western Victoria between Hamilton and Portland. The area in the play was settled by the Scots, Irish and Germans in the middle of the nineteenth century. The latter two lived mainly within their own communities.  The area surrounding Port Fairy is still distinctively Irish, while the Tarrington district has maintained its German origins. The rest is a mixture of Anglo-Celtic people, a large percentage of whom were Scots. There was a large Aboriginal Mission at Condah.  Chinese Market Gardeners grew and supplied fresh vegetables for the district.  Into this cultural mix, hawkers of many nationalities were introduced. These Hawkers were mainly Indian and predominantly Sikh.

Volume 1: Discovering Victoria

Indians and Anglo Indians discovered the Victorian Coastline of Australia and Bass Strait.  So doing became the first non-indigenous people to land in Victoria.  Indians and Anglo Indians became the first non-indigenous people to undertake an overland trek in Australia.  This trek resulted in more tragic deaths and suffering than the later Bourke and Wills Expedition.  In 1792 food and supplies shipped in from India saved the Colony from starvation.  Supplies, Animals, etc arrive in the Colony in larger numbers and quantities far greater than from England or elsewhere.  Moslems visiting our shores and sailing away with tradable objects from approximately 1200 AD. 

Volume 2: Cameleers and Trailblazers

Volume 3: Horses & Walers

This book examines the exploration and development of the Riverina District of New South Wales, and in doing so, it examines the contribution that Indians, AngloIndians and things Indian made to the development of the Riverina and Australia as a whole.  It also examines the role that Indian Cameleers and Indian Camels played in the exploration and the development of inland Australia.  In doing so, it explodes the myth that all Cameleers and Camels came from Afghanistan.  Indians including Indian Cameleers played an important role during this time and without their assistance, the discovery and the economic development of inland Australia would not have proceeded so smoothly and swiftly.  Because of the importance of the contribution that Indian Cameleers and Camels made to Australia and the fact that it has been wrongly attributed to Afghans, it is up to every person interested in Australian History, to take every step possible to correct this misinterpretation.

This volume explores the origins of the Australian Horse Herd and the circumstances surrounding their transportation to Australia.  It also examines the uses that the horses were put to and the improvements that were made to the original Horse Herd. It challenges and clearly debunks the popular view that Australian horses; and indeed all domestic animals, were transported to Australia from England; with the possible exception of the Timor Pony. It follows the growth in horse numbers from the time of Settlement in New South Wales until sufficient numbers were able to be exported to India from as early as the 1830’s. These horses became known as Walers and had an unequalled reputation as cavalry horses, and were in high demand for sporting events, including polo, racing and riding.  This reputation the Waler was improved by planned breeding programs.  As a result of this improved breeding the Waler became the horse of choice for Kings of England, and soldiers of all ranks in India and Australia.  In fact, the Waler was considered second to none and superior to all others, either in India or in the cities, towns or bush in Australia.

Volume 4: Hawkers

This volume examines the Indian migrants who landed in Australia from the 1840’s until the start of the “White Australia Policy” in 1901.  It explains the difficulties that they faced on arriving in Australia, their employment opportunities as well as their religious, social and sporting lives.  It also explains how the largest self-funded migration of non-white people to Australia, overcame 19th century Australian racist attitudes, and became well liked and respected members of the communities in which they lived.  Many of these Sikh migrants returned to India after spending a number of years in Australia, and lived the rest of their lives in financial security, while others lived in Australia until they died, dependent upon the good graces of the many Australian friends they made, to care for them in their old age.

Volume 5: A Pictorial History

AThis book is dedicated to all those Indians who came to our shores and are now all but forgotten.  Some of the photographs and stories in this book are also mentioned in the other volumes of this series.  Many of the photographs have been collected by Len and Crystal during their research and accurately reflect most aspects of Indians living and working in Australia.

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