Mungal Singh – Sugar Cane Farmer In Queensland

Mungal Singh – Sugar Cane Farmer in Queensland

When sugar plantations were under construction in Australia their was a mass migration of workers from across Asia, Pacific Islands and India. Some Indians settled in North Queensland and established cane farms and other agricultural pursuits and have lived in the area for generations making a valuable contribution to the area and to Australia in general.

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Mungul (Mungal/Mungil) Singh from Bilga, Punjab, India.  Cairns 1920. Courtesy of NAA.

The most well known family, but not the first to own a sugar cane farm in the area is that of Mungul (Mungal/Mungil) Singh from Bilga, Jalandhar who arrived in Victoria in 1893. After working as a hawker and purchasing a wheat farm he returned to India.

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Daleep Singh aged 17 years Cairns Queensland 1930. Courtesy of NAA.

Mungal Singh later returned to Australia and worked in the cane fields in North Queensland. His teenage son Daleep joined him in 1925.  While Daleep (Don) was working for George Parry in Gordonvale whose farm was later given to him on lease.

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Mungul (Mungal/Mungil) Singh from Bilga, Punjab, India. Atherton 1930. Courtesy NAA

Daleep was a very successful cane farmer and in 1951 brought his teenage son Gian to  Australia.  Gian Sing Bains and his family have expanded the farms and are very successful farmers today. The family also donated land and built a Sikh Gurudwara in 1983 at Gordonvale.

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Cairns Gurudwara at Gordonvale established 1983. Photo: Crystal Jordan.