Friday, 16 October 2020
Australia’s original First Sikh Temple has been listed on the State Heritage Register by the NSW government, highlighting its importance in the state’s cultural history.
The Sikh place of worship, known as Gurdwara, has been the social and religious heartbeat of the state’s Sikh community since its construction in 1968, said the NSW Minister for Heritage, the Hon Don Harwin MLC. “The First Sikh Temple, located in Woolgoolga on the beautiful mid north coast, is of great significance to the cultural history of NSW as it demonstrates the migration and permanent settlement of the Sikh community in our state,” Minister Harwin said today.
The first Gurdwara building, a longstanding centre for worship, ceremony, gathering and participation, now shares its site and use with the new Gurdwara, built in a traditional Sikh architectural style with its magnificent gold and white roof domes, which opened in 2019. “Together, these buildings are of profound importance to the Sikh community, and it is from these buildings, the old and the new, from which the Sikh community give so generously to their wider community,” Mr Harwin said.
Acting Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee said the heritage-listing of The First Sikh Temple is wonderful for the entire Sikh community in NSW. “As NSW residents were overcome by the devastation of recent fires and floods our generous Sikh community were there to offer their unwavering help and assistance,” Minister Lee said. “This listing is symbolic of NSW’s wonderfully diverse and inclusive multicultural communities.”
Member for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, Australia’s first Sikh member of Parliament, said his electorate is a diverse and thriving region. “Receiving heritage listing for the temple is very significant for our region, and a proud moment for Australia’s Sikh community,” he said.
Minister Harwin said he was delighted to announce the temple’s entry on the Register. “It is important to acknowledge the breadth of NSW’s historical story and the inclusion of this temple will be the first listing for the Sikh faith on NSW’s pre-eminent heritage register.” Listing will ensure that the significance of The First Sikh Temple will continue to be recognised and protected for future generations.
View Minister Harwin's media release here
Image: The 2019 temple which forms part of the listing with the original 1968 building. Photo credit: Lucy Hampton, Heritage NSW.