Indigenous involvement in the defence of Australia did not begin in 1914: Professor Peter Stanley address for NAIDOC Week 2014: From the Honest History vault

Professor Peter Stanley from UNSW Canberra gave an address on 10 July 2014 for NAIDOC Week. Professor Stanley was at that time President of the Honest History group. Here is a key paragraph from the speech:

[I]t’s because a military Mounted Police were actually raised in Australia, in Sydney in 1825, that makes it absolutely legitimate for the Australian War Memorial to present the story of Frontier Conflict, something that, to its shame, the War Memorial has consistently declined to do, even though it is now virtually universally accepted that Australia’s experience of conflict begins with the Frontier Wars. That disgraceful absence needs to be remedied so we can truly reach an honest, informed reconciliation.

He went on:

I’m delighted to see that NAIDOC Week’s theme acknowledges Indigenous people who have defended their country, regardless of who they fought. We need to explicitly reject interpretations of Indigenous involvement in the defence of Australia that begin only in 1914.

poster-2014NAIDOC Week 2014, official poster, Harry Alfred Pitt (source: NAIDOC website)

Other material relevant to NAIDOC Week 2014. Includes a note on the above poster and discussion about whether the increasing emphasis being given at that time to Indigenous service in the Queen’s (or King’s) uniform was coming to overshadow (intentionally or otherwise) recognition of Indigenous defence of country in the Frontier Wars.

David Stephens

5 July 2021

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