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Classic: Warriors Welcome

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Reporter: Jennifer Byrne
Producer: John Penlington

June 1990:

The legendary Gurkhas from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal have a fierce reputation as the toughest, most loyal fighters in the world.

For 175 years, they deserted their poverty-stricken mountain villages to serve in foreign armies.

They fought gallantly alongside Australian troops in two world wars. But with the disintegration of the British Empire, their warrior days were numbered.

In this story, our former comrades in arms were looking to Australia as a place to settle and start a new life.

A small band of them already in the Victorian farming district of Gippsland, where the locals were battling to have them accepted as migrants.

There was even a grand plan for them to start a new farming venture, supplying the Asian market with vegetables.

Jennifer Byrne travelled to Nepal, tracing the origins of the Gurkhas, and back in Australia discovers these would-be Asian migrants have an unlikely champion.

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