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Memorials


Australian War Memorial Cloisters

The Australian War Memorial, completed in 1941, features many interesting architectural styles and patterns. One of the most interesting can be found along the Roll of Honour cloisters.  Here you will find "Australian Native Fauna".  Included among these are the faces of an Aboriginal man and woman!  This is very indicative of the attitudes of the time when Indigenous people were not recognised as citizens.

These two faces are not very well known, I'v asked numerous staff members at the Memorial about them and they had not the faintest idea of what I was talking about.  These two faces are significant as they are the only permanent Aboriginal aspect of the War Memorial.

Aboriginal man's face, facing West.

Aboriginal woman's face, facing East.

Memorials

There several Memorials around Australia dedicated to Indigenous Australians at war.

 Canberra

 "Remembering the Aboriginal people who served in the Australian forces"

This memorial is on public land - at the base of Mount Ainslie behind the Australian War Memorial. It was placed there by a local non-Aboriginal citizen in 1993 as part of the UN 'Year of Indigenous People'. 

The Australian War Memorial does represent Indigenous Australians separately within the galleries. Objects including artwork, medals, biographical information panels and photographs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen, women and civilians are placed in the historically appropriate galleries and context.

Queensland (Broadbeach, Gold Coast)

"This rock is placed here to honour Yugambeh men and women who served in defence of this country. Yugambeh is the linguistic name of the Aboriginal people whose tribal region extends inland from the Logan and Nerang rivers and includes the areas covered by all the adjacent streams and creeks. Yugambeh family groups include Kombumerri, Wangeribubba, Migunburri, Munajahli, Gugigin, Birinburra and others. We honour those who served in the armed forces and those who made the supreme sacrifice. The symbolism of this rock serves to highlight the role played by Indigenous Australians in defence of this country".

Erected by Komburri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture with support and assistance from the Gold Coast City Council. April 21, 1991. For more information contact:

Komburri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture, P.O. Box 668, Runaway Bay QLD 4216.

East Victoria Park, (Perth WA)

RSL Aboriginal Memorial

Yirrkala, Northern Territory

In memory of the Yolngu men who served in northern Australia during WW2.

Recognition

 Medals and Decorations awarded to Indigenous Servicemen and women in wartime:

World War One

Augustus Peg Farmer                 

MM

Killed In Action

Glamor Garr*

MM

Returned to Australia

William Irwin

DCM

Killed In Action

Albert Knight

DCM

Returned to Australia

Frederick Prentice

MM

Returned to Australia

William Reginald Rawlings

MM

Killed in Action

Harry Thorpe

DCM

Mortally wounded

 * Citation:

"During the attack South of Villers-Bretonneux on the night of 17/18 July 1918, this soldier displayed great coolness and exceptional bravery under very heavy artillery fire.  In company with Private Homan, he suceeded in carrying messages back under intense artillery and machine gun fire in the face of what seemed certain death. By his action, much needed assistance was secured, and the position held. 

Signed E.A. Wisdom, Brigadier General Commanding 2nd Australian Division".

World War Two

Timothy Hughes

MM

Returned to Australia

 

Korea

Charles Mene (Torres Strait Islander)

MM

Returned to Australia

Disclaimer and Copyright The opinions expressed on this website belong to the author, Garth O'Connell and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies or any other agency refered to on this site. Copyright Garth O'Connell (except where indicated otherwise).