Humans of the Wheatbelt

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a disability project that celebrates inclusion within the community.

There is always someone in each story that has a disability whether it is the human, interviewer, photographer or writer.

I’ve lived in Australia for ten years since moving from India, where I grew up in the Punjab region. My sister is here in Australia as are a few of my cousins and uncles as well.

What brought me to Australia was the prospect of better business opportunities and the chance to excel. I’ve been running Lume Restaurant in Northam since we opened in mid-2019 and I also work full-time in nursing.

I used to wear a turban growing up, but when I came to Australia, I cut my hair short and stopped wearing one. It’s a bit of a time commitment and I was concerned that I might be too busy with work to worry about it. I can always regrow my hair and start wearing a turban again later if I want to. I go to the Sikh temple once or twice a year, but our religion is more about doing things right and not just turning up to the temple.

My sister is the most influential person in my life. I’m only here in Australia because she led the way by moving here first, and nursing was her idea as well. I was a typical teenager in that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.

Nursing wasn’t seen as a trade for boys – when I began my studies, I was one of ten boys out of five hundred nursing students. I was hesitant at first, because in my culture nursing is seen as something for girls, but my sister encouraged me to give it a try.

I completed my studies in Nursing in 2013 before returning to India to visit my family. After graduating, I considered the possibility of studying Medicine, but I also wanted to kickstart my career and it takes at least seven or eight years to become even a junior doctor.

I work in a residential care facility and I love the personal side of working with people. Some of them have amazing stories. Now I’m a Nursing Manager and I’m in charge of around fifty staff. I’m getting more into the management side of things too. In my role, I do a mixture of clinical work with the residents and a lot of paperwork.

A friend of mine who is the Development Manager for the Northam Boulevard suggested the possibility of opening a restaurant here. One of my goals is to look for new venues and ways to expand the restaurant business. The way it works is we open a restaurant, set it up and then move on to the next opportunity.

The business is a little different here from in the city in that here we have regular customers that we see all the time. The local community are really appreciative of us and have been supporting us where they can.

Now I split my time between Perth and Northam. Monday to Friday I’m in Perth working in nursing and on the weekend I’m here in Northam. Life in the country is a bit different and very relaxed. There’s no rush and the people are very hospitable. It’s different in Perth. There, everyone’s always in a rush and you have lots of different things on the go.

I’m used to living in the country back home in India and you get used to living in all the open space. In the city, you feel more constricted and compacted in what you can do.

In my spare time, I like to train at the gym and ride a Yamaha sports bike. I haven’t done much travel outside of India and Australia, mainly because I’m working all the time. I want to go to Europe, but I know that I’ll need at least two months and a good amount of money for that. It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions!

My advice for young people is to set goals and work hard toward achieving them. Some young people are lost as to what to do and where to go. In Australia, we have so many opportunities, but I’ve found that young people here are often lacking in direction. A lot of them are in need of guidance. I recently read a study that said that young adults tend to change careers at least three times until they settle on something.

Human - Maninder (Mani) Singh
Interviewer - Paula Whittington
Photographer - Anna Cornish
Writer - Guy Salvidge

Human of the Wheatbelt is a Wheatbelt Health Network project supported by Department of Communities.

Shire of Northam Lume Bar and Bistro Northam Chamber of Commerce Sikh Assoc of WA, Perth Sikh Channel Australian Sikh Heritage


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The Wheatbelt Health Network offers support including General Practice, Nursing, Mental Health, Allied Health and Visiting Specialists.

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NORTHAM

Wheatbelt Health Centre
25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8am-6pm Mon – Fri

Aboriginal Health - Northam
65 Wellington Street, Northam
Phone: 08 9690 2824

TOODYAY

Alma Beard Medical Centre
81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay
Phone: 08 9578 2500
Open: 8.30am – 5pm Mon – Fri

WUNDOWIE

Wundowie Health Centre
GP Services
283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8.30am – 4pm Wednesdays

NARROGIN

Aboriginal Health - Narrogin
Williams Road, Narrogin
Phone: 08 9881 0385
Open: 8.30am – 4.30pm Mon – Tues

After hours medical assistance: In an emergency call 000 or present to your nearest Regional Hospital emergency department. If you have a non- emergency and would like to consult with a GP then call Telstra Health on 1800 225 523. The service is free to access for Australian residents who reside in the wheatbelt or who are temporarily residing in the Wheatbelt. This service can be accessed before 8am and after 6pm Monday-Friday, before 8am and after 12pm Saturday and all day Sunday and any Public Holidays. Thank you to Western Australia Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) for funding this service.

  • 25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam

  • 81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay

  • 65 Wellington Street, Northam

  • Williams Road, Narrogin

  • 283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie

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