This paper investigates the author's writing processes during the research and creation of the fictional character of Chella Singh-Jolley. The author's novel Provenance is set in 1960; one of its principal characters is Chella, a Sikh biochemistry student in Australia on a Colombo Plan scholarship. The paper discusses the challenges in writing a character so ostensibly 'other' to the author; and how these dilemmas were turned to creative use. The paper outlines the history of Indian immigration to Australia, and briefly the role of the Colombo Plan for Economic Development, situating Chella within this history. An extract from Chapter One of the novel is included: the opening story of the novel's protagonist, an Italian-Australian girl, Rafaela Mollino.