From Our Contribution
This category lists service people identified as Indigenous through the Australian War Memorial project. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.
From the Australian War Memorial:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in every conflict and commitment involving Australian defence contingents since Federation, including both world wars and the intervals of peace since the Second World War.
Over 1000 Indigenous Australians fought in the First World War. They came from a section of society with few rights, low wages, and poor living conditions. Most Indigenous Australians could not vote and none were counted in the census. But once in the AIF, they were treated as equals. They were paid the same as other soldiers and generally accepted without prejudice.
When war broke out in 1914, many Indigenous Australians who tried to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race; others slipped through the net. By October 1917, when recruits were harder to find and one conscription referendum had already been lost, restrictions were cautiously eased. A new Military Order stated: "Half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining Medical Officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin."
This was as far as Australia – officially – would go.
For more information on Indigenous Australians at war, please visit the AIATSIS site.
The City of Armadale Library service, would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander warriors, men and women past and present, from the Freedom Fighters to those who have served and are serving today in the Australian Defence Force.