WHEN it comes to surnames in Griffith, Singh is once again king.
For the fourth year running, the popular Sikh surname has emerged as the most common in the city, according to data obtained from the 2013-14 White Pages, reflecting the growing influence of Indian migrants in Griffith.
For the second straight year, the Italian-flavoured Catanzariti, Sergi and Salvestro surnames have filled the next three positions.
The Singh moniker is in fact a generic middle name for males of the Sikh religion, while women use the standard surname Kaur.
The influx of Indian migrants started in Griffith in the early 90s, driven by abundant harvest labour work and a farming region very similar to the Sikhs’ Punjabi region in India.
“Many of us are from farming or agricultural backgrounds and a lot are well-versed in farming practices,” Griffith school teacher Harnek Singh Dhanoa said.
“Also, if you don’t have a lot of skills, you can still find a job in Griffith.”
He said he had noticed a cultural shift from the younger generation of Australian-Indians.
“They are adapting the Australian culture more and more,” he said.
Griffith Multicultural Council president Carmel La Rocca said a new generation of Australian-Indians had been born in Griffith, with a third generation now on the way.
“Based on my experience, the Sikhs are very keen to get involved in the community, but they sometimes need a reason to get involved so they feel comfortable,” Mrs La Rocca said.
She said she had also noticed a trend of some younger male Sikhs dropping the Singh name altogether, and opting to use only their family name.
Griffith’s most common surnames for 2013/14
* Source: 2013-14 White Pages