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.

Thank you for Honouring our indigenous service people

Thanks to these Ex-Service Organisations and everyone else who joined us in recognising indigenous service. The support shown for this virtual service was greatly appreciated.

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