Indigenous Australian ww2
From Our Contribution
This category lists service people identified as Indigenous through the Australian War Memorial project and our own research. 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:
Hundreds of Indigenous Australians served in the 2nd AIF and the militia. Many were killed fighting and at least a dozen died as prisoners of war. As in the First World War, Indigenous Australians served under the same conditions as whites and, in most cases, with the promise of full citizenship rights after the war. Generally, there seems to have been little racism between soldiers.
In 1939 Indigenous Australians were divided over the issue of military service. Some Aboriginal organisations believed war service would help the push for full citizenship rights and proposed the formation of special Aboriginal battalions to maximise public visibility.
Others, such as William Cooper, the Secretary of the Australian Aborigines’ League, argued that Indigenous Australians should not fight for white Australia. Cooper had lost his son in the First World War and was bitter that Aboriginal sacrifice had not brought any improvement in rights and conditions. He likened conditions in white-administered Aboriginal settlements to those suffered by Jews under Hitler. Cooper demanded improvements at home before taking up "the privilege of defending the land which was taken from him by the White race without compensation or even kindness".
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.