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Dr Harold Gunatillake OAM felicity and recognition by the Sutherland-shire Council

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How and why, we settled down in Sutherland shire. A Journey through time It was accidental. I had the opportunity to meet Keith Bates mayor of the Sutherland shire in Singapore in the early seventies, working as a surgeon in Singapore General Hospital.

They say unexpected friendship are the best ones. Whilst enjoying a glass of beer at one of the 5-star hotels, on that Sunday morning, I told Keith we have been passed to come to Australia and hope to settle down in Sydney.

He obliged to host us until we settled in. Likewise, when we arrived at the Sydney Airport, Keith was waiting for us in his limousine at the exit.

We were settled in, in one of his apartments in Bates Arcade, in Jannali a small suburb in Sutherland shire. He introduced me to the Bank Manager, Postmaster and other important personalities in the shire, and life became so easy for us.

The Shire is located at the southern coastal border of the Sydney metropolitan area, about 26 kilometers from the Sydney CBD. Website:

It was never a multicultural city as is today, then, when the term ‘wasp’ an acronym for ‘white Anglo Saxon Protestant was the policy adopted, and we would have been the first ‘Indian looking family’ in the Shire.

Shire is an old English county term applied in Australia to a non-metropolitan, semi-rural local government exhibiting a countryside culture.

European discovery of what is now Sutherland shire was made by Lieutenant James Cook, who entered Botany Bay on 29 April 1770.

Sutherland shire is thought to be named after Forby Sutherland, a sailor on the ‘Endeavour’ The Shire never grew to be a cosmopolitan city with high rising buildings like the CBD, and this is certainly true for the Indigenous inhabitants occupied it for at least 400 generations.

The Shire still maintains the Aboriginals names and some rock art to remind us of their culture. The original inhabitants of the Sutherland area were the Dharawal Aboriginal people.

We are a big family in this Shire, friendly, attracting strong feelings of love and loyalty among us.

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no
greater joy than to have that opportunity to settle in, I would say the best Shire in Sydney.



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