Aboriginal diggers share oral histories
As part of the City of Sydney’s Anzac centenary commemorations, a new series of oral history interviews with Aboriginal service people and their families illuminates an under-documented aspect of Australia’s service history.
The oral histories complement Aboriginal artist, Tony Albert’s 'Yininmadyemi' artwork to be installed in Hyde Park in 2015 for the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.
Aboriginal artist and researcher Fabri Blacklock, a descendent of the Ngarabal and Biripi peoples of NSW, carried out the interviews.
You can listen to the interviews and view photos and transcripts on the City’s Oral Histories website. The series joins an existing collection including interviews with Aboriginal servicemen Harry Allie and Col Watego.
Pictured: (Left to right) Retired member of the Royal Australian Air Force and NSW Centenary of Anzac ambassador, Uncle Harry Allie, Pastor Ray Minniecon and Coloured Diggers media officer Don Stewart.
Stories of sacrifice and service from Changi to the Battle of Long Tan, from the Solomons to the Middle East and Europe, including:
- A Wiradjuri former Olympic wrestler who served in Vietnam recalls the example his uncle set, the first Indigenous Australian commissioned as an Australian Army officer.
- A Gomeroi/Wanaruah woman describes her father’s experiences as a Changi POW and her uncle’s death in a prison camp in Japan during WWII.
- A Bundjalung engineer and diver describes checking the bottom of navy ships for bombs and saboteurs while serving in Vietnam.
Also in the collection are interviews with artist Tony Albert and Pastor Ray Minniecon, who has been a driving force in the movement to recognise Indigenous contribution to the Australian armed forces.
Last updated: Tuesday, 12 August 2014