Turnbull, Noel: How were Indigenous warriors who did wear ‘the uniform’ treated?

Noel Turnbull

How were Indigenous warriors who did wear “the uniform” treated?‘, Pearls and Irritations, 25 June 2023

Riffs off the outburst of RSL National President, MAJ GEN Greg Melick, that only those Indigenous soldiers who wore the King’s or Queen’s uniform should be commemorated at the Australian War Memorial. Points out that Daniel Cooper, son of Indigenous icon, William Cooper, leader of the 1938 protest, was killed in World War I. Notes, not for the first time, that wearing the uniform did not lead to post-war honour for Indigenous soldiers.

Indigenous warriors defended their country from 1788 onwards. They fought against overwhelming odds. They faced massacres and genocidal attacks. They were still fighting in the first half of the 20th century against police troops, armed squatters and other armed forces.

Indeed, they have been defending their country for more than two centuries. It’s time their bravery was recognised where it should be – in the Australian War Memorial.

For more on the proper recognition and commemoration of Indigenous warriors at the Australian War Memorial, see the posts under the heading ‘Frontier Wars retreat at the War Memorial’ on the Honest History homepage.

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