Camden Hospital honours Bud Singh


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Bud Singh

November 5, 2014. TIDU got a call today from proud Baljinder Singh who has been working hard to get a plaque in Camden hospital commemorating Wollondilly businessman Bud Singh. Bud Singh was a Wollondilly identity from the early 1900s who donated money to the hospital for many years and was made a life member of the hospital board.

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A plaque to honour Bud Singh has been installed at the hospital finally.

And Bud Singh’s name below as life member at the hospital.

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Why is he so excited one asks naturally? Says Baljinder that he came to Australia to look for his own grandfather Mehnga Singh in the 80s.  Mehnga Singh had come to Australia in 1920 and had stayed on leaving behind a pregnant wife and  Baljinder’s 6 year old dad. “My grandma used to tell me stories about my grandfather and later my father had many letters from him that we used to read together.”

In his quest Baljinder Singh met  Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan who had unearthed information about an Indian man named Charlie whose records matched with his  grandfather Mehnga Singh. “All the details of my great great grandparents that were there there matched with this man named Charlie and I was sure that it was my grandfather Mehnga Singh.” Baljinder  then got a headstone  installed  of his granddad in  Liverpool cemetery alongside a white Australian man  Edward James White who was buried with Mehnga Singh.

Mehnga Singh had passed away in 1959 to Baljinder’s  disappointment, “In my family we have long living people and I expected that my grandfather may have been alive and in his nineties. But it was not to be. I just had to make do with doing a path ceremony at the gurdwara for the peace of old man’s  soul.”

Obviously  Baljinder also got interested in Bud Singh because there were a lot of similar stories he was digging out as he suspected that Bud Singh may have known his grandfather.

Bud Singh was generous to the core as he owned a big general store at Yerranderie, NSW and used to donate 100 pounds to Camden hospital every year. “Bud Singh was a groom for the horses sent by  the British for a horse show when he came to Australia in 1899 and stayed on. He went back to India in 1926 and died in 1927,” notes Len Kenna in his book on Indians in Australia.

Len’s research found that there was a large number of Indians many more than were recorded on the census at that time that were in Australia that mixed and worked alongside  white Australians.

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Baljinder Singh at the  the plaque ceremony

Baljinder learned that his grandfather ”” who was fondly known as Indian Charlie ”” at one time worked alongside Bud Singh. “Bud Singh’s story is one of unity and harmony and was a respectful figure in the Camden area,” he said.

“There may not have been many Indians back then but they worked shoulder to shoulder with the Anglo-Saxon community.”

“It is a proud day for me that contribution made to Australia as a colony was also by many Indians including my grandfather Mehnga Singh and Bud Singh.”

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Manpreet Kaur, Broadcaster of SBS Punjabi at Camden hospital

“I feel as if I have paid my debt to my grandma who always used to tell me how handsome and tall my grand dad was. And I used to tease grandma when she’d run after me with a daang (stick).  I was just a young boy  then and very naughty and she used to say that I reminded her of him. That is the reason I came to Australia and through Bud Singh’s story I came to know about my grand dad and the contribution of these young man to Australia as they lived lonely lives and perished here like my grandfather. Our families craved to see them just for one time and thus my journey which became the sole purpose of my life.”

The plaque was removed when the hospital was upgraded and had been missing. Now it is back on the wall proudly displayed where it always was and hopefully will stay there  in future.





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