Former Fiji politician KC Ramrakha, ran foul of the Indian-dominated National Federation Party during the faction fighting of 1977. He speaks to Islands Business about politics, sugar and life.

AS a student from Fiji arriving for the first time in Australia to study at Sydney University, Karam Chand Ramrakah would probably never have guessed that he would one day return permanently to make a new life in this country. In the early 50s, this former Fiji union leader and politician shared a house with his two younger brothers in Annandale purchased by their father.

KC was studying law while his twin brothers studied medicine at Sydney Uni. In the days before gentrification, Annandale’s residents were the pre-dawn risers, the rough-hewn labourers, the 40-hour-a-week cogs in the city’s engine room. These were the salt of Sydney’s working classes – weaned on a mantra of the Protestant work ethic, picket fences and White Australia. But at 16 Taylor Street, they would appear in droves and there in the sparsely furnished lounge, amid the heady fragrances of marsala and unfamiliar scents wafting in from the kitchen, they chose to forget – for a few moments – their colour differences in return for the privilege of free medical care and legal advice from its young occupants.

The semi-detached cottage at 16 Taylor must have stood out as a beacon of the cultural rainbow rising on the distant horizon. “It was like a temple for anyone who didn’t have anywhere to sleep,” KC recalls fondly of those days. We would cook rotis and curries for the working people there – they were happy to have two med students there tending to their medical causes,” he says……

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