Sunday, April 11, 2021

Indian street names in Sydney

Gymkhana Place, Malabar Avenue, Rani Place and more, right here in our own backyard.

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

Our mission at Indian Link is to seek out Indian links in Australian life. One such major link can be found in street names in all of Australia’s major metropolitan centres. Sydney’s roads for instance are replete with references to India that tell us a lot about the links between our two countries (and in some cases, reveal the real nature of the people who live on them – example, you know the average weight of the residents of Motu Place, Glenfield).

There is some dispute about whether Indian settlement in Sydney began at Indus Place (Kearns) or on Indus Rd (Erskine Park). There are those who will tell you it all actually began at Hind Place (Chipping Norton).

Yet others will swear that the largest Indian ghettos in this metropolis are to be found along Currey Place (Fairfield), Currie Ave (Annangrove), Curry Rd (Forestville), Currey Rd (Oakville), Curry Lane (Artarmon), Curry St (Rooty Hill), Curry St (Eastern Creek) and Currie Place (Seven Hills).

Legend has it that the early town-planners had a number of Indophiles amongst them, who are responsible for names such as Delhi St (Chatswood, Lidcombe), Bombay St  (Lidcombe), Anduman St and Nicobar St (both in Kings Park), Lucknow St (Willoughby), Agra Place (Riverstone), Baroda Place (Elizabeth Bay), Himalaya Cr (Seven Hills), Kashmir Ave (Quakers Hill), Orissa St (Cammeray, Campsie, Doonside), Simla Rd (Denistone, Lidcombe), and Malabar Ave (Dural, Coogee, Maroubra, Canley Vale).

Perhaps some of these early town-planners had served as officers of the British Raj. How else would you explain Gymkhana Place (Glenwood), Motorkhana Rd (Leppington), Burrawalla St (Caringbah), even Durbar Ave (Kirrawee)??

READ ALSO: Recording the histories of Indian ayahs who travelled the world

These very same culprits (or heroes, as the case may be), filled with nostalgia for the days of the Raj, gave us nomenclature such as Bangalee Place (Bangor), Bindi Place (Beacon Hill), Bindee Close (Glenmore Park), Naranghi St (Telopea), Sitar Place (Plumpton), Guru Place (Glenmore Park), Wazir St (Bardwell Valley), Mynah Close (St. Clair), Myoora St (Pymble), Koel Place (Ingleburn) and Bulbul Ave (Green Valley).

And when their imagination was running low, they picked random Hindustani words they could remember, falsely believing they were safe from the scrutiny of Hindustanis who would never travel to their shores. And so we got Besant Place (Rooty Hill), Canoon Rd (Turramurra), Garema Ct (Kingsgrove), Geewan Ave (Kellyville), Hera Place (St. Clair), Kalyan Ave (Bradbury), Kanya St (Frenchs Forest), Lodi Close (West Hoxton), Patanga Rd (Frenchs Forest), Mahan Way (Minto), Mera St (Guildford), Milon St (Prestons), Pukara Place (Cromer), Tarana Ct (Casula), Cuscus Place (St. Helens Park) and Biman Place (Whalan).

While these may still sound exotic, how about this sample: Atka St (Tregear), Bunda Place (Glenmore Park), Pyalla St (Northbridge), Carrara Rd (Vaucluse), Maida Rd (Epping), Milmil St (Milson’s Point), Gully Gully Rd (Mooney Mooney), Dilkara Ct (Menai), Nyari St (Kenthurst), Nada St (Toongabbie), Mulla Road (Yagoona), Mowla St (Jamiesontown), Tambu St (St. Ives), Tawa St (Ashfield), and this is true, Becharry Rd (Blacktown). Becharry street, is all we can lament, for that last one!

And then, many years later, when the Indians did invade their shores, there were many who the local councils chose to honour, by naming the streets after them. Today we have Abhay Place (Glenwood), Amur Place (Kearns), Raj Place (Mt Druitt), Gouda Close (Abbotsbury), Reddy St (Edgecliff), Rima Place (Hassell Grove), Rita Place (Merrylands), Rohan Place (Naremburn), Rohini St (Turramurra), Roma Place (St. Ives), Mala St (Smithfield), Maya Close (Bossley Park), Munni St (Newtown), Pinto Place (St. Clair), Priya Cooper Ave (Newington), Sharan Place (Forestville), Singh Lane (Chester Hill), Tara Rd (Blacktown), Ramu Close (Sylvania), Tarun Place (Dharruk), Thackeray St (Winston Hills), Feroza St (Riverwood), Kannan Place (Kirrawee), Malti Way (Parklea), Narang Place (St. Marys), Navins Cr (Zetland), Neeta Ave (Cambridge), and somebody’s grandmother, Bebe Ave (Revesby).

Cherrybrook’s Zulfi Place, many of us already know, is named after Sydney entrepreneur Firdaus (Freddie) Zulfiqar.

Even Bollywood links can be found on Sydney’s roads. While we don’t have an Aishwarya St yet (we’re working on that one), old-timer Nanda lives on in Pennant Hills as Nunda Close and in Lane Cove as Nundah Ct, and an Aishwarya contemporary has already beaten her to it at Rani Place (Kareela).

India’s spiritualism has been felicitated as well: we have devout Hindus living on streets dedicated to gods Varuna (Doonside), to Indra (Baulkham Hills) and to Nandi (Frenchs Forest).

Pendle Hill’s Nirvana St and Holsworthy’s Sanananda Rd are home to the self-actualised, while those who believe in rituals rather than philosophy prefer Jupp Place (Eastwood) instead.

READ ALSO: A very old Indian link in Tasmania’s Lufra Hotel

On the other hand, high levels of depression have been recorded along Rona Cl (Berowra), Rota Place (Kings Park), Rulana St (Acacia Gardens) and Rulwalla Place (Gymea). Daraya Rd (Marayaong) is home to those afflicted with delusions of persecution, and we don’t even need to tell you of the kind of gentry that patronises Goonda Ave (LaPerouse), Gundah Rd (Mt Kuringai) and Daru Place (Glenfield).

And there are some on which the local councils have got the spellings wrong, such as Weemala Ave (Northbridge), Wandana Ave (Baulkham Hills), Hilwa St (Villawood), and, not to be missed, Amitaf Ave (Caringbah).

But no true-blue Punjabi will live on Moya Cr (Kingsgrove) or Nunga St (Baulkham Hills) or Shoo-ter Ave (Ramsgate – that’s spelt with a Chu, actually) and the Malayalees who live on Kundi St (Blaxland) have been campaigning hard to get their street name changed.

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Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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