AN East Perth street has been renamed “Sailani Avenue” to honour the contribution of Indian Anzacs in World War I.
Private Nain Singh Sailani was a Hindu Gurkha from northern India who arrived in Asutralia in 1895 and enlisted in 1916.
He was one of 12 known Indian Anzacs and was buried in Belgium. Pte Sailani was one of two known to have been killed in action along with Private Sarn Singh in June 1917.
Last year the consulate general of India in Perth, at the behest of the Ministry of External Affairs, requested a street be named after Pte Sailani to honour the sacrifices of Indian soldiers (“Street to honour Indian Anzacs,” Voice, September 24 2022).
Perth council endorsed the change and now the paperwork’s made its way through the lengthy state government process for renaming just in time for Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia.
Perth mayor Basil Zempilas attended a May 23 renaming ceremony and said: “The naming of Sailani Avenue pays homage to the sacrifice made by Private Sailani and shines a light on the contributions of all Western Australia’s Anzacs from the Indian community.”
The road used to be called Nelson Avenue after the British admiral. Nelson still has the adjoining Nelson Crescent named after him.
I agree with a street name to honour the Indian ANZACS but the name Nelson Street should not have been withdrawn. Better it have been given to a new street than take away the remembrance of Nelson (and Wellington) Australia would not have progressed from mainly British ancestry today and Indians and others would even be here.