Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been serving in Australia’s military for more than a century.
During the first world war, over one thousand Indigenous men and women enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and were amongst the first of Australia’s Anzacs.
“Despite institutional racism, government policy and laws that limited Indigenous participation at the time, many still chose to enlist to help to serve their country. For most of these men, joining the defence force afforded greater equality than in general Australian society.
First Nations soldiers were recognised for their bravery and gallantry and were awarded honours, yet there remained a long way to go in the way of racial equality in Australia.”
Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women continue to serve as a valued part of the defence force, and are recognised for their unique knowledge and skillsets as this country’s first people and original caretakers of the land.
On this day - Anzac Day - we celebrate the bravery and dedication of the men and women who have risked their lives to serve our country. We express our undying gratitude to them for having risked their lives to ensure that we could safely live ours.