• Image : Aboriginal soldiers in line formation at Wangaratta Victoria

    Changing of the Guard

    Aboriginal soldiers stand at the entrance of the Wangaratta Showground during the changing of the guard. These soldiers are part of the special platoon of Aboriginal soldiers at Number 9 camp Wangaratta, Vic. 1940-2
    Australian War Memorial: P02140.004

  • Image : Indigenous soldiers in formation in front of Australian War Memorial

    Indigenous Servicemen

    Standing in formation in front of the Australian War Memorial during a ceremony in 2012.
    Photo John Paul Janke

  • Image : Special platoon of Aboriginal soldiers

    Special Platoon

    Special platoon of Aboriginal soldiers, all volunteers, at Number 9 camp Wangaratta, Vic. 1940-2 Australian War Memorial: P02140.002

  • Image : Aboriginal men constructing a powerhouse at Alice Springs

    Constructing a powerhouse

    Aboriginal men employed by Department of the Interior, assisting with the construction of a powerhouse at Alice Springs, 17.12.1942
    Australian War Memorial: 028353

  • Image : The Australian Aboriginal League float in the 1947 May Day procession

    United in War, Divided in Peace

    The Australian Aboriginal League float in the 1947 May Day procession protested the conditions in which Aboriginal people found themselves on return from the Second World War.
    Australian War Memorial: P01248.001

  • Image : Aboriginal men and boys row ashore supplies for an RAAF base in North Australia

    Supplies for the RAAF

    Aboriginal men and boys row ashore supplies for an RAAF base in North Australia. The RAAF set up many small bases near missions in North Australia for protection and to enable early detection of Japanese air raids.
    Australian War Memorial: 015456

  • Image : Sgt. Leonard Waters of the 78 Squadron, RAAF

    Sergeant Leonard Victor Waters

    Sgt. Leonard Waters of the 78 Squadron, RAAF, in the cockpit of a P40N Kittyhawk, possibly ‘Black Magic’, 1944-5
    Australian War Memorial: P01659.001

  • Image : Sgt. Leonard Waters of the 78 Squadron, RAAF

    RAN Special Duties

    A squad of Melville Island men, enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy for special duties such as locating stranded airmen and Japanese mines. Photographer: William Donald Martin
    Australian War Memorial: 062344

Indigenous Australians at War

Welcome to AIATSIS Library’s updated and expanded online collection about Indigenous Australian war service.  We have hosted Garth O’Connell’s  ground-breaking and popular website, Indigenous Australians at War, since 2008. We have now added to the site an illustrated reading list from the Boer War to the present time,  information which can assist with researching your family’s military history, a section on Women and War and some interesting links.

The war effort at home in Australia during the Great Wars is well documented. The war effort at home of Indigenous Australians is lesser known.  We have included photographs which tell this story.  Many of the books in the reading list also tell the stories of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions at home during the Great Wars.

AIATSIS Library 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.

Image : Victor Blanco dancing traditionally with his soldier friends

Victor Blanco showing his mates some TSI culture in England - August 1940. Photo: John Paul Janke

Sensitivity Statement

Please note this website contains images and other references to deceased people which may cause sadness or distress, particularly to the relatives of these people.