WOOLGOOLGA Nestled between the banana plantations and the sea, Woolgoolga is a Sikh oasis in the heart of Australia. The town, located near Coffs Harbour on New South Wales heavily touristed North Coast, is highly regarded for it's fine beaches, good surfing, varied fishing, and bush walks. It is also famous for its 50 per cent Sikh population, who own 90 per cent of its banana farms. As The Sikh Community in Australia website says: "A highway traveller approaching Woolgoolga may look in disbelief at the spectacular pure white Temple (the Guru Nanak Gurdwara), with its golden domes reaching out to the heavens and wonder at the Indian elephant in front of a splendid palace with minarets. Is it a simmering mirage, they may wonder? These edifices have appeared to have been scooped up by magic and placed amidst an Australian town.
However, there is nothing magic about the success of the Woolgoolga Sikhs who have continued the good work in the finest tradition of the Sikh pioneers who settled here despite great hardship.
The early Sikh migrants came here to pre-Federation Australia as free settlers when there was no restrictive immigration policy. They were adventurist male sojoumers who left their family behind and came to make their fortune and returned home when they made good.
Some of these early sojourners did return, but the majority of them developed a love and attachment to this country arid its people and remained to lay the foundations for the Australian Sikh community."