Hill, Lisa: Our Mob Served: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories of War and Defending Australia, edited by Allison Cadzow and Mary Anne Jebb

Lisa Hill

Our Mob Served: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories of War and Defending Australia, edited by Allison Cadzow and Mary Anne Jebb’, ANZ LitLovers, 9 July 2019

‘I expect’, says Lisa Hill in the course of this post, ‘that there will be a review [of Cadzow and Jebb’s collection] by the professional historians at the¬†Honest History¬†website before long’. Actually, no, because Lisa’s long and excellent review fills the space admirably.

Hill summarises each chapter, from the sources in chapter 1 to life in the services in chapter 5 and discrimination afterwards (chapters 6 and 9) and how later generations have come to understand their forebears’ service (chapters 10 and 11), and more besides, including how having a father serving did not preclude children being taken from their families. The book will be required reading for students of our wars.

The book also may go some way to resolving two central questions surrounding Indigenous service: first, whether increased recognition of service in uniform will lead to, or delay (perhaps indefinitely) recognition of the service of Indigenous warriors (and the deaths of them and their families) during the Frontier Wars; secondly, whether the fact that Indigenous Australians served in uniform, despite what had been done to them by settler-invader Australians, makes Indigenous Australians more or less worthy of respect. These issues are explored in other posts on the Honest History site, most recently this one and the links from it.

David Stephens

13 July 2019

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