Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Note: In this Website reference is made to Indigenous (Australian) peoples. This term is used to describe all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regardless of cultural location or specific clan/colloquial name.

The content on this website has been compiled to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans, Defence serving members and their respective family members with access to eligible benefits, services and support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags. Caption reads: "You served your country, Veterans Affairs would like to help you

Harry Allie, Stephen Dodd, David Williams
Left - Mr Harry Allie (RAAF ex-serviceman)  Centre - Mr Stephen Dodd  (Korean War veteran) Right - Mr David Williams (Vietnam War veteran).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples service in the armed forces

For more than a century, Australian men and women have served in the Defence Force to protect our country in wars, conflicts and peace keeping operations.

Indigenous soldiers, sailors and airmen have been part of Australian service history every step of the way. They have made significant contributions in all wars conflicts and peace keeping operations Australia has been involved in.  From the Boer War (1899 -1902), World War I (1914-18), World War II (1939-45), Korean War (1951-53), Vietnam War (1963-72), and post 1945  conflicts and peacekeeping operations to the present day, they proudly served their country.

Like their male counterparts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have also made a significant contribution to the defence of the nation through their service with the armed forces, civilian organisations such as the Women’s’ Land Army or worked in war time industries.

It is difficult to say just how many Indigenous men and women served their nation because ethnic background was not specifically identified in service records of enlistment.  It is known that Indigenous men and women served with great distinction overseas in both world wars and other conflicts, with a number receiving medals and commendations for their sacrifice and acts of bravery in the heat of battle.

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