Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park
Friday 31 May, 10:40am
1300 679 775
The ceremony continues to gather momentum since its inception in 2007, in uniting Australians to remember and honour the service and sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans. The exceptional guest speakers and their remarkable stories continue to inspire our youth, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.
Since the Boer War, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have fought for Australia. It is known at present that at least 1000 First Nation peoples served in the First World War. Of these, 13 are known to have been killed in action fighting at Gallipoli, five of which have no known graves.
After the First World War, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans found their war service did not bring an end to discrimination. It is estimated 3,000 Indigenous Australians served in the Second World War, and in proportion to population, no community in Australia contributed more to the war effort than the Torres Strait Islander people. Around 745 of these joined the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion formed specifically to defend the Torres Strait.
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who served in the First and Second World Wars varies greatly. As ethnicity was not noted on enlistment documents an accurate figure will never be known, it has been suggested that more than 3,500 of them served in these conflicts.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples went on to serve in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam in the years after the Second World War. Since Vietnam, they have served with the Australian Defence Force in conflicts and other operations around the world.
And today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are proudly serving in all branches of the Australian Defence Force.
The service is open to the public, with general public viewing areas available around the Pool of Reflection.