By Ram Khatry, Sydney
4 July 2017
Rockdale has become to Nepalese what Harris Park is to Indians. Census 2016 results show Nepal was reported as the most common country of birth, excluding Australia, in the southern Sydney suburb. A total of 1985 residents said they were born in the South Asian country followed by China (1503) and Bangladesh (774).
Statistics show 12.8 percent people who live in the area were born in Nepal, a rise from 7.6 percent in 2011 when there were more China-born people than those born in Nepal.
If you have any doubt about the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics then take a quick stroll through the bustling suburb and you will see for yourself how many Nepalese-speaking youths brush past you and how many Nepalese-looking staff man shop counters.
Yuba Raj Bhattarai, who claims to have been running Everest Communications for over sixteen years, says he served two customers today who had travelled nearly seventy kilometres from Penrith to buy mobile phones at his electronics shop. “There were four today from Strathfield too,” he emphatically said in an interview with southasia.com.au. He does not only serve the two thousand odd Nepal-borns living in Rockdale area but also members of the greater Nepalese community living across the length and breadth of Sydney.
So how many Nepalese-owned businesses are operating in this mini-Nepal?
The answer is, at least 42.
May be a few more if missed by the memory of Mr Bhattarai who proved to be a true Rockdale local as he named each and every business Nepalese-origin Australians owned in the suburb. Surprisingly, he even appeared to know the names of the owners.
This increasing concentration of Nepalese-speaking people prompted property investment specialist Dr Kiran Thapa to move his businesses to Rockdale. Both CAPKON Home Loan Adivsor, of which he is the CEO, and Harcourts Rockdale target Nepalese Australians living in the St George region.
“Yes. Almost all of my clients are Nepalese. Being in Rockdale has helped us as there has been a spike in walk-in of potential clients. Interesting thing about Rockdale is not only the concentration of Nepalis but also the demographic distribution. For example, Auburn might have lots of Nepalese as tenants, and Minto might have owner-occupiers (not many as tenants!),” Dr Thapa said, although with a caution his comments were based purely on his observation.
The concentration of Nepalese people in Rockdale has also prompted establishment as well as relocation of few education consultancies, international students being their key target group. Right & Associates, a well-established education consultant in the Sydney CBD, is seeking to cash in on this burgeoning Nepalese diaspora by soon launching a branch office there.
As Mr Bhattarai put it, Rockdale is becoming a busy hub for even those who may not be living in the area but travel to the suburb any way to buy groceries or dine at one of its many Nepalese restaurants. There are even four “party palaces” most of which are believed to be doing pretty brisk business.
NEPALESE-OWNED BUSINESSES IN ROCKDALE
Hair and Beauty
Kuncha’s Hair and Beauty Art, HeSheLa Hair Salon, Desi Hair and Colour Hair
Last Bus To Kathmandu, Momo House, Subhakamana Restaurant, Sajha Chautari, Ama Restaurant, Coffee Drop, Bar Fresko, Chicken Plus, Red Capsicum Restaurant, Subway Restaurant, Nothing More Ten Dollars,
Everest Global Exchange
Everest Tandoori Function Centre Rockdale, Red Capsicum Function Centre, Indreni Function Centre, Third Eye Bar Bistro & Function Centre
Daiko Pasal, Rockdale Groceries, Asan Bazaar, Nepal House
Pokhara Jewellry, Buddha Jewellers, Milan Jewellers, Nepal Jewelleries Sydney
Everest Butchery, DY Butchery
Budha Tavels and Tours, Everest View Travel and Tours Sydney
Bright & Right Associates (to be launched soon), Global College, KB Global, Smart Rhino, Brainy B,
Jay Ho Instyle, Nepmart