2020 Indigenous Veterans ceremony – a virtual ceremony banner

Indigenous Veterans' Virtual Ceremony

30 May 2020

Honouring our indigenous service people, past and present

Despite being legally excluded from military service until 1949, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in every war and conflict since the Boer War. To enable them to serve, they had to use false names and backgrounds. Because of this, it is impossible to know exactly how many signed up, although it is estimated that about 1,000 Indigenous Australians served in World War I alone.

There was little room for racism on the battlefield; what mattered was courage, mateship and teamwork. Many indigenous service people experienced less discrimination in the military than in wider Australian society.

But although they fought – and sometimes died – shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Australians, they returned home to a country that still refused to acknowledge them as citizens and denied them the recognition and entitlements they had earned.

Nothing we do now can change the past. But through the Indigenous Veterans’ Ceremony, RSL Queensland aims to recognise the invaluable contribution of our indigenous service people to Australia’s Defence Force, both past and present.


Due to COVID19, we are unable to physically gather at the Shrine of Remembrance as we have in previous years.

RSL Queensland is therefore hosting a virtual commemoration to honour a group of people whose service and sacrifice is often overlooked in the telling of Australia’s military history.


11am, Saturday 30 May

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  • Hours
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Lest we forget


  • ANZACspirit
  • History & commemoration

RSVP and sign up to lay your virtual wreath

Submissions close 1pm Friday 29 May.

By signing up to lay your virtual wreath, you are consenting for RSL Queensland to publish your name and organisation as a digital wreath layer on the RSL Queensland website. All information will be handled in accordance with the RSL Queensland Privacy Policy.