ANZAC Day: Remembering Our Indigenous Soldiers

ANZAC Day: Remembering Our Indigenous Soldiers

Anzac Day is a time for us to come together as a nation and pay our respects to the brave soldiers who fought for our freedom. It's a day to remember the sacrifices made by the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. But there's another group of soldiers whose contributions are often overlooked - our Indigenous Anzacs.

Did you know that Indigenous Australians have been serving in our military since the formation of the Federation of Australia in 1901? It's estimated that around 1,000 Indigenous soldiers served in World War I, with about 70 of them fighting at Gallipoli. And in both World Wars, the participation rate of Indigenous Australians in the military was higher than the rest of the population. What's even more remarkable is that these brave soldiers were fighting for a country that didn't even recognise them as citizens until 1967. 

For many Indigenous Australians, joining the military was a way to escape the inequality and harsh conditions they faced at home. In the military, they were treated as equals for the first time in their lives. But when they returned to civilian life, they faced discrimination and were often denied the same benefits as their non-Indigenous comrades.

It wasn't until 2017 that Indigenous veterans were finally recognised in the national Anzac Day march. It was a long overdue acknowledgement of their service and sacrifice.

So this Anzac Day, let's take a moment to remember and honour the legacy of our Indigenous Anzacs. Their stories are an important part of our nation's military history, and they deserve our respect and gratitude. Lest we forget.

To learn more about ANZAC Day from the Indigenous Australian perspective, please visit the following resources:

ANZAC Day & Aboriginal Service People

Australian Indigenous Service During WW1

Image Credit:
Artwork via Lee Anthony Hampton from Koori Kicks Art.