Circular 50/22 President statement on Australian War Memorial announcement

ANZAC House has received a small number of enquiries regarding the Returned & Services League’s stance on the Australian War Memorial’s announcement regarding plans to expand its recognition of colonial Indigenous massacres.  

RSL NSW President Ray James supported RSL Australia President Greg Melick to issue this media statement regarding the federal matter on 12 October.  

The statement is as follows:  

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) says the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and existing war memorials around the country should honour their original mandate and remain dedicated to all Australians who served their country.  

RSL Australia President Greg Melick met with the Director of the Australian War Memorial today to discuss the Memorial’s proposal to incorporate presentations or depictions of the atrocities committed against First Nations Australians before Australia became a nation in 1901.  

While the RSL supports the establishment of memorials to mark those affected in the “colonial frontier wars’, it recommends that any memorial should be separate from the Australian War Memorial.  

RSL Australia President Greg Melick said the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and indeed all memorials across Australia honoured all Australian Defence Force personnel, as well as peacekeepers who served our nation in wars and conflicts overseas.  

“This includes First Nations Australians who served in our armed forces with courage and honour, as well as servicemen and women of all backgrounds.  

“The pre-colonial conflicts are an entirely different matter and is a significant part of our history that would be more appropriately told in the National Museum or a specific national memorial.”  

Please share the President’s statement with members at your discretion.