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> Aboriginal 'diggers' who fought in our wars
windyliz
Posted: May 26 2007, 12:02 PM
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Saturday, May 26, 2007. 9:04am (AEST)
RSL told to look elsewhere for money in hunt for Aboriginal diggers

A South Australian project to find Aboriginal veterans and their families may end because the Federal Government will not fund it.

The RSL is trying to find Indigenous people who have served in the Defence Forces to make sure they are getting their full entitlements.

Gil Green fought in Vietnam but says he is still working on getting benefits.

"The process is very slow in how it works and I've got the RSL here on my side," he said.

But the RSL has been told to look elsewhere for funding for its search.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1934000.htm

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I should think they would be entitled to Department of Veteran Affairs benefits


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windyliz
Posted: May 27 2007, 11:46 AM
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Sunday, May 27, 2007. 11:21am (AEST)
Indigenous veterans remembered in Adelaide

Over 100 people have attended a service in Adelaide to recognise Indigenous ex-servicemen and women.

The commemoration service at the National War Memorial in the city is one of about 10 being held around the country this week to coincide with Reconciliation Week.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1934329.htm


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windyliz
Posted: May 28 2007, 01:04 PM
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Brave family spurned by land they served
Email Print Normal font Large font May 28, 2007

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Tony Stephens reports on an Aboriginal family whose military service is unrivalled in the Commonwealth - yet is largely unknown.

FIVE Lovett brothers went to World War I and five signed up for World War II. All in all, 20 members of the Lovett family have served Australia in war and peacekeeping, from the Western Front to East Timor.

The most extraordinary point about the Lovett family's record of service, however, is that four of the five brothers who went to World War I also enlisted for World War II.

The saddest point is that while other returned Australians were offered blocks of land on which to settle and welcomed back to the bosom of society, the Aborigines had their applications for land rejected - even for land they once owned - and were turned away by some RSL clubs, pubs and other public organisations.

(Excerpt/s)

The Lovetts are Gunditjmara people from Victoria's western districts. Known as "the Fighting Gunditjmara", they fought white settlers in what is known as the Eumaralla War and, having lost that one, fought overseas on the side of those who took their land.

Dozens of people from the Lovett, McDonald, Rose and Saunders families from Lake Condah Mission, near Hamilton, went to war. Reg Saunders, the first Aborigine to become an officer, fought with the 6th Division in the Middle East, New Guinea and then Korea. Others fought in Vietnam. Ricky Morris, grandson of Frederick Lovett, who served in both world wars, went with peacekeeping troops to East Timor.

After World War II, Herbert Lovett put his case for a block of soldier-settlement land around the former Lake Condah mission, once the homeland of the Gunditjmara people. His application was refused; returned white soldiers were granted the land.

Johnny Lovett, Herbert's son, said the injustice still hurt, although he was pleased that the Aboriginal contribution was honoured yesterday. There was some consolation from the Federal Court in March, when it gave the Gunditjmara non-exclusive native title rights over 140,000 hectares of Crown land and waters.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/aborig...0205078964.html




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windyliz
Posted: May 28 2007, 01:18 PM
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Monday, May 28, 2007. 12:02pm (AEST)
Brisbane commemorations honour Indigenous veterans

Dozens of people have gathered in Brisbane for Queensland's first RSL service to honour Indigenous veterans.

The ceremony began with a traditional welcome dance under rainy skies at the city's Shrine of Remembrance.

(Excerpt)

Similar commemoration services are being held around the country to coincide with Reconciliation Week.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1934943.htm


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windyliz
Posted: May 28 2007, 01:20 PM
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Monday, May 28, 2007. 10:40am (AEST)
Council chief urges more help to address Indigenous social woes

The president of the Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs says not enough has been done over the past 40 years to help Aboriginal people deal with social problems.

Geoffrey Shaw spoke at a gathering in Alice Springs last night marking 40 years since the 1967 referendum that enabled Aborigines to be counted in the national census.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1934822.htm


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windyliz
Posted: May 30 2007, 02:37 PM
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WHY DID THEY SERVE?


That is not an easy question to answer of course, as we today are not in their same situation. As Aboriginals, they were not classified as citizens of Australia, they could not drink alcohol, vote, marry non-Aboriginals or buy property. They would have been like every other adventurous young Australian male, wanting to go out and see the world, get paid really good money, see some action and 'be home before Christmas'.

But these boys stood out in the crowd, they were Aboriginal. . .they put up with racist slurs and attitudes almost daily in their civilian life - but to their mates in the trenches they were Mick, Ben and Harry. The misconceptions and negative stereotypes that surely many non-Aboriginal diggers had in their minds when they joined would have quickly disappeared when they were living, eating, laughing and dying with these young fellas.

But the most tragic aspect of their service was not in them 'going over the top' and running at machine guns and dying - it came after they returned to their country.

When they came back home to Australia they were shunned, their sacrifices ignored and their families oppressed even further by their respective State and Federal governments with such cruel initiatives as the "Soldier Settlement Scheme" and official assimilation policies. Returned soldiers were not allowed to have a drink with their comrades at their local pub, their children were being taken away and there was no Government support for the wounded or mentally scarred veterans.

The service that these warriors did for an ungrateful nation helped provide momentum to the growing Aboriginal Rights Movement in the 1930's. They provided hard evidence that we as a people were willing to serve Australia for the better, but white Australia was not willing to help us improve our way of life.

Even though their small number (estimated to be 300-500) seem like a drop in the bucket of the tens of thousands of Australians who served in World War One, their significance to modern Aboriginal history is immense. Today the bodies of those that fell in the battlefields of France and Belguim remain with their mates, thousands of miles away from their ancestral homes.

http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/statuepark/620/



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windyliz
Posted: May 30 2007, 02:43 PM
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The Forgotten

ABORIGINAL WAR VETERANS NO LONGER FORGOTTEN
To celebrate ANZAC day and pay tribute to the Indigenous men & women that have proudly served this nation the Message Stick presents a twenty six minute documentary: The FORGOTTEN.

This film tells the story of the Aboriginal soldiers who fought and died for Australia and the honour they felt representing their nation despite facing various prejudices and not being classed as citizens of the country.

THE FORGOTTEN is a film about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander servicemen & women who have served, fought and died for their country in all of the wars and peace-keeping missions that the Australian Armed Forces were involved in the 20th Century. It also contains a personal story about four Nyungar brothers from the South-West of Western Australia, one of whom is acknowledged as the first Aboriginal Soldier to receive a military medal in the First World War.

The FORGOTTEN features war veterans and family member’s personal experiences and thoughts from both World Wars, as well as veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and East Timor.

Writer, producer and director of The FORGOTTEN, Glen Stasiuk, was inspired by his family’s history and the respect he felt for the ANZAC “black diggers”.

“I had members of my family fight and die in both World Wars, and my Great uncle was one of the first Aboriginal soldiers to receive a war medal. This film is for them and all the other Aboriginal people who have fought for our country and not gotten the recognition that they deserved,” Mr. Stasiuk said.

“Not a lot of people know about the contribution made by Aboriginal people, particularly during the earlier wars. I hope The FORGOTTEN can help get these stories across.”

The FORGOTTEN was honoured with the award for BEST DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION at the 2003 West Australian Screen Awards (WASA) in March of this year.

http://www.abc.net.au/message/tv/ms/s820390.htm



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windyliz
Posted: May 30 2007, 02:49 PM
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Indigenous Australian servicemen

Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have fought for Australia, from the Boer War onwards.

Change in attitudes
Generally, Aborigines have served in ordinary units with the same conditions of service as other members. Many experienced equal treatment for the first time in their lives in the army or other services. However, upon return to civilian life, many also found they were treated with the same prejudice and discrimination as before.

First World War
Over 400 Indigenous Australians fought in the First World War. They came from a section of society with few rights, low wages, and poor living conditions. Most Aborigines could not vote and none were counted in the census. But once in the AIF, they were treated as equals. They were paid the same as other soldiers and generally accepted without prejudice.

Enlistment and Service First World War
When war broke out in 1914, many Aborigines who tried to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race; others slipped through the net. By October 1917, when recruits were harder to find and one conscription referendum had already been lost, restrictions were cautiously eased. A new Military Order stated: "Half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining Medical Officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin."

This was as far as Australia – officially – would go.

Why did they fight?
Loyalty and patriotism may have encouraged Aborigines to enlist. Some saw it as a chance to prove themselves the equal of Europeans or to push for better treatment after the war.

For many Australians in 1914 the offer of 6 shillings a day for a trip overseas was simply too good to miss.

Too dark
Aborigines in the First World War served on equal terms but after the war, in areas such as education, employment, and civil liberties, Aboriginal ex-servicemen and women found that discrimination remained or, indeed, had worsened during the war period.

The Post First World War Period
Only one Aborigine is known to have received land under a "soldier settlement" scheme, despite the fact that much of the best farming land in Aboriginal reserves was confiscated for soldier settlement blocks.

The repression of Aborigines increased between the wars, as protection acts gave government officials greater control over Indigenous Australians. As late as 1928 Aborigines were being massacred in reprisal raids. A considerable Aboriginal political movement in the 1930s achieved little improvement in civil rights.

Enlistment and Service Second World War
To serve or not to serve
In 1939 Aborigines were divided over the issue of military service. Some Aboriginal organisations believed war service would help the push for full citizenship rights and proposed the formation of special Aboriginal battalions to maximise public visibility.

Others, such as William Cooper, the Secretary of the Australian Aborigines’ League, argued that Aborigines should not fight for White Australia. Cooper had lost his son in the First World War and was bitter that Aboriginal sacrifice had not brought any improvement in rights and conditions. He likened conditions in White-administered Aboriginal settlements to those suffered by Jews under Hitler. Cooper demanded improvements at home before taking up "‘the privilege of defending the land which was taken from him by the White race without compensation or even kindness'.

Enlistment Second World War
At the start of the Second World War Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were allowed to enlist and many did so. But in 1940 the Defence Committee decided the enlistment of Indigenous Australians was "neither necessary not desirable", partly because White Australians would object to serving with them. However, when Japan entered the war increased need for manpower forced the loosening of restrictions. Torres Strait Islanders were recruited in large numbers and Aborigines increasingly enlisted as soldiers and were recruited or conscripted into labour corps.

In the front line
With the Japanese advance in 1942, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the north found themselves in the front line against the attackers. There were fears that Aboriginal contact with Japanese pearlers before the war might lead to their giving assistance to the enemy. Like the peoples of South-East Asia under colonial regimes, Aborigines might easily have seen the Japanese as liberators from White rule. Many did express bitterness at their treatment, but, overwhelmingly, Indigenous Australians supported the country's defence.

Service in the army
Hundreds of Aborigines served in the 2nd AIF and the militia. Many were killed fighting and at least a dozen died as prisoners of war. As in the First World War, Aborigines served under the same conditions as Whites and, in most cases, with the promise of full citizenship rights after the war. Generally, there seems to have been little racism between soldiers.


Read on...

http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/aborigines/indigenous.htm


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Windyliz


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windyliz
Posted: Jun 2 2007, 01:32 PM
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Saturday, June 2, 2007. 7:18am (AEST)
NT ceremony recognises Indigenous soldiers

Dancers painted with white clay have performed at a special ceremony in Darwin recognising Indigenous soldiers' service in World War I and World War II.

The service was one of many that have been held around Australia as part of reconciliation week.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200706/s1940532.htm


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Windyliz


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