The Combined Australian Inter-Varsity Hockey Team, 1952. Photo: Australian Indian Historical Society



Sikhs in Hockey in Australia

Research by Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan of Australian Indian Historical Society  -  reveals that the first Sikhs landed in Brisbane in 1844.

The Indian Army Hockey Team that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1926 had five Sikhs in their team: Lal Singh; Thakur Singh; Dhyan Sing; Joginder Singh and Sangara Singh. The team played a few matches against the State teams after their tour of New Zealand.

I learnt from Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan's research that Sikhs were well represented in the University Hockey Teams in Australia in the early 1950s.

Narinder Singh, Jagir Singh Thanwant Singh and H S Sidhu represented Adelaide University during this period.

Inder Singh and Santokh Singh represented Perth University.

Inder Singh (centre forward), Santokh Singh (centre half), Perth University. Inder and Santokh were described in the Advertiser Adelaide Newspaper in 1954 as "the two tall Sikhs" and were reported as the best players on the ground.  

 In June 1954 when the Combined Australian Inter-Varsity Team with Sikh players Inder, Jagir and Narinder Singh defeated the South Australian Colts with one Sikh player, S. Singh, at Adelaide University Oval; Ray Rankin said, "For years the question had been asked how a team with all players playing the Indian type of game would fare against the Australian style and today it was beyond doubt," and "Inder and Jagir Singh cut hole through the South Australian defence and no defence could have held them and they were ably backed by a fast, hard tackling back line with Narinder Singh who played an outstanding game."

My thanks to Crystal Jordon for providing this useful historical facts.

When I visited Australia in 1994 for the Men's Hockey World Cup in Sydney, I met several Sikhs there who told me of the many Sikh Hockey Clubs all over  Australia. I also learnt with interest about the Annual Australian Sikh Games which have been played since 1987. Hockey is one of the Sport played at these Games.

Mark Ian Sandhu is a FIH international umpire from Australia. Mark umpired at the Men's Indoor World Cup in Leipzig, Germany in 2003. He was also the Australian Women's Indoor Coach at the Indoor World Cup in Poznan, Poland in 2011 and the Indoor World Cup in Vienna, Austria in 2007.

Jayshaan Singh Randhawa represented Australia at the Youth Olympics in Singapore 2010 where Australia won the Gold medal. He has also been capped at Under 21 level.

We would welcome any more information of Sikhs involvement in hockey in Australia.