Bud Singh A Pioneer

Bud Singh A Pioneer

Plaque for Bud Singh at Camden Hospitall NSW. Photo: Crystal Jordan

Plaque for Bud Singh at Camden Hospitall NSW. Photo: Crystal Jordan

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan – February 2014

Bud Singh was born in 1873 in the Punjab, India. He arrived in Australia in 1899.   He stated that he was in the Cavalry in India and that he had performed with the 100 Horseman that came from India in 1900 to give a demonstration at the Sydney Show Grounds. This is highly unlikely as Bud arrived in Australia one year earlier and is not listed as one of the 100 Indians in the display; he may however been an assistant or groom to one of the riders.

After Bud’s arrival in Australia he started working as a foot hawker, carrying merchandise from door to door. As his finances improved he purchased a horse and cart and worked in the Yerranderie and Camden area and later branched out and bought the General Store at Yerranderie. He also made quite a lot of money from investments in the Silver mines in the area.

Left: Bud Singh 1926. Right: Bud Singh's Wagon.

Left: Bud Singh 1926.     Right: Bud Singh’s Wagon.

On the 23rd September 1923, Bud was assaulted by 6 men who broke into his store and stole a number of items.   Bud was admitted to the Camden District Hospital where his right eye was removed. Seven men were remanded for 8 days and later charged with the assault and breaking and entering into his store at Yerranderie. They were released on bail of £500 ($1,000) each, an enormous amount of money at that time, which underlines the seriousness of the crime.

Apart from this vicious assault Bud was well known and respected in the area and was quite often asked to present awards and medals at different sporting events, for example: he presented awards for the Cycling, Athletic and Rifle Clubs and was also a member of the Camden Red Cross Society and he donated regularly to them and the Camden Cottage Hospital later known as the Camden District Hospital. His donations included towels, garments and sundry items as well as cash. In 1919 he donated £10 ($20.00), and this qualified Bud to become a life member of the Camden District Hospital. He continued to donate to the hospital until he returned to India in 1926 where he died 25th December 1927.

On 23rd July 1923 Bud applied to the Collector of Customs for permission to bring his nephew, Hardial or Hardyah Singh, to Australia while he visited his homeland. This was a common practice among financially successful Indians. His nephew, a student aged 22, who was born at Mehraj, Bathinda, Punjab, India, arrived on the “S. S. Aorangi” on the 3rd March 1925. Bud had earlier applied for a CEDT Certificate, to enable him to re-enter Australia. Permission was given 20th September 1923. The reason for Bud’s trip to India was that he stated that his health was failing. There were conditions attached to the approval of Hardial entering the country and carrying on Bud’s business; they were that Bud would leave Australia within six months of his nephew arriving in Australia, and that his nephew would leave the country within 3 months of Bud’s return to Australia and that a bond of £100 ($200) be lodged as a surety.

Left; Bud Singh's Store Yerranderrie, NSW 1976 Photo: Crystal Jordan. Right: Bud Singh's Store courtesy of Wollondilly Heritage Centre NSW.

Left: Bud Singh’s Store Yerranderrie, NSW 1976 Photo: Crystal Jordan.        Right: Bud Singh’s Store courtesy of Wollondilly Heritage Centre NSW.

On the 26th April 1926, Bud Singh was farewelled from Australia by many of his Indian friends at Number 8 Wharf, Woolloomooloo Bay, New South Wales, where he boarded the P & O – R.M.S. Moldavia and sailed for India.

On the 8th April, Hardial applied for and was granted a 12 months extension to stay in Australia because Bud had died on the 25th December 1927 in India. Hardial Singh was given an extension of 12 months this would have been enough time to wind up Bud’s affairs. After several more extensions Hardial sailed from Sydney for India on the S. S. Mooltan on the 19th April 1930.

The Public Trustee was given the job of executing Bud’s last Will and Testament which consisted of the General Store at Yerranderie, valued at one thousand pounds and stock valued at two thousand pounds, four blocks of land at Fairfield, New south Wales valued at £190 ($380), a War Loan valued at £500 ($1,000), and fixed deposit at the Camden Bank of New South Wales, and £200 ($400) at the Commercial Bank, Sydney. In addition to this Bud collected rent of £1/7/- ($3.40) and £6 ($12) per week from four houses at Yerranderie. For some reason these houses were not included in Bud’s last Will and Testament. After approximately twenty years that Bud spent in Australia he became a very successful businessman.

As a tribute to his good works at the Camden Hospital, New South Wales, Bud was given life membership and a plaque was erected at the hospital in his honour. The plaque was removed at a later date and misplaced when renovations where carried out at the hospital. A second plaque will be unveiled at the Camden Hospital in Bud’s honour later in 2014.

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Are Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vols 1-5

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 2014