Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan © 2018

His Highness, Maharajah Rana, Sir Bhawani Singh K.C.S.I. was the ruling Prince of Jhalawar, a province of Rajpiutana, situated in Central Indian between Delhi and Bombay. The State of Jhalawar relied upon agriculture and wheat, barley and cotton as its chief products. His Highness hoped to introduce motor and steam tractors to the farming industry.  He was an avid scholar and reader and in 1925 while he was working at Oxford on one of his special subjects he became ill and was advised by his doctor to take a break and go on a trip around the world.  Taking his doctor’s advice he embarked on a world tour that included an extensive tour of Australia and New Zealand.  On the 27th of April 1925, His Highness Sir Bhawani Singh arrived in Fremantle from Bombay, on the maiden voyage of the S. S. Cathay. He was accompanied on the Cathay and his tour by his Aide de Camp, Abdul Khan, his personal physician Dr. Parmanand Bhatia and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Arthur Edward Benn C.I.E., F.R.G.S., and his wife Edith Annie.  Lt. Col. Benn had lived in India for 39 years and had been a distinguished member of the Foreign Office Political Staff in Indian. Lt. Col. Benn was a cousin of Field Marshal Sir Willam Birdwood, their mother’s were sisters.  After landing in Fremantle, Sir Bhawani Singh and his party were driven to Government House, to stay as a guest of His Excellency Sir William Campion until Thursday the 30th of April, when the party continued overland to Adelaide.  As Sir Bhawani Singh was in poor health he did not wish to give personal interviews during his tour and left all media interviews and arrangements up to Lt. Col. Benn.

While Sir Bhawani Singh was in Queensland he purchased several Merino stud rams and ewes which he hoped would do well on his estate in Jhalawar.  The sheep were an experiment as to their possibilities in Central India, and it was thought that as they came from Queensland they would be likely to do well and if successful would form an important adjunct to the Jhalawar Province’s resources.  His Highness’s intention was to crossbreed some of the ewes with the native small framed Indian sheep.  He did not realise that the Australian Merino Sheep Bred had attained by cross breeding of several breeds of sheep including Indian Sheep.

Lt. Col. later Major General, James Alexander Kenneth Mackay.

In June, Sir Bhawani Singh was a guest of Major General James Alexander Kenneth Mackay at Wallendbeen, New South Wales, whose father was a squatter and sheep farmer.  His Highness was interested in irrigation and from the  Mackay residence he travelled to Albury where he visited the Hume Weir and was shown over the complex by the engineer in charge, Mr. J. Keith Ross. His Highness was keenly interested in the working of the comprehensive machinery. After the visit to the weir his party left for Melbourne by the afternoon train from Albury. Sir Bhawani Singh and his party then made a short visited Tasmania and then toured New Zealand before returning to India.


On the 6 July 1925 Sir Bhawani Singh arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on the “S. S. Aorangi” he spent a few days in Auckland and then proceeded to Rotorua and then to Hamilton where he visited the Ruakura State Farm and saw  how the boys were trained for working on the land.  He visited the Waitomo Gloworm Caves,Te Kuiti, and then proceeded to Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

On the 19 March he will left Wellington on the “S. S. Ionic”  for the United States.  His Highness Maharaj Sir Bhawani Singh Bahadur of Jhalawar sent the following wireless message from the “S. S. Ionic” to His Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Charles Fergusson, “On leaving New Zealand, permit me to thank your Excellency once again for all your kindness and hospitality and the great assistance given to me by the dominion government throughout my visit, which has been most interesting and enjoyable.  I carry away with me to India the pleasantest recollections of my New Zealand tour.” After a tour through America His Highness Maharaj Sir Bhawani Singh Bahadur of Jhalawar returned to India by way of Europe.

Shipping Records 1925 “Cathay”
Examiner Launceston Tas. Fri. 12 Jun. 1925, p. 4.
Kenna, Len, Are Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vol. 1, 2008.
Albury Banner and Wodonga Express NSW. Fri. 12 Jun. 1925, p. 22.
The News Hobart Tas. Tue. 23 Jun. 1925, p. 4.
Chronicle Ade. SA. Sat. 9 May 1925, p. 53.
Western Mail Perth WA Thu. 30 Apr. 1925, p. 6.
The News Hob. Tas. Mon. 15 Jun. 1925, p. 3.
Te Aroha News, 8 July 1925.
New Zealand Times, 1 July 1925, p. 5.
Timaru Herald, 19 March 1925, p. 2.

Len Kenna & Crystal Jordan, Are Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vols. 1-5. 2018-2013.