National Reconciliation Week 2018 has commenced with an invitation to Australians to explore their past and learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester has recognised National Reconciliation Week with the launch of a video of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian Defence Force (ADF) recruits paying tribute to military contribution of those who served before them.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in military uniform from at least the time of Federation,” Mr Chester said.
“Many of the men and women who served did so despite bans to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people serving and through their service they enabled positive change and helped to build a better Australia.
During World War I, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people served in almost every branch and unit of the Australian Imperial Force and saw action in the Middle East as well as on the Western Front.
Mr Chester said today’s recruits continue a strong tradition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ADF service.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people served with distinction, made significant contributions, and earned a number of decorations for gallantry in the field, including four Distinguished Conduct Medals and 17 Military Medals,” Mr Chester said.
“A special exhibition, For Country, for Nation, currently travelling around Australia, features stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people both fighting for country and providing vital support through home-front activities.
“I encourage all Australians not to let our history be a mystery and to explore the history of our Indigenous servicemen and women.”
You can see the video of the recruits’ experience here: https://youtu.be/wVReHN_ebJw
To learn more about the difference made both in Australia and abroad by proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people visit:
This week is the last opportunity to view For Country, for Nation at the Regional Art Gallery in Bundaberg, Queensland, before it moves to Griffith, New South Wales where it will be on display at the Regional Art Gallery from 16 June.