Michael Bell

‘The traditional knowledge that comes from living up the Top End, were transferred to the radar stations, air bases and the army camps.’

1 July 2020

Today we remember the service of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Michael Bell, a Nunnawal-Gamilaroi man, is the Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial. Here he talks about the important contributions of First Nations people during the Second World War.

Michael Bell — The traditional knowledge that comes from living up the Top End, were transferred to the radar stations, air bases and the army camps.

Michael Bell audio file (MP4 23.82 MB)

Michael Bell audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — (The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia)

On the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War, Australia Remembers the service of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Michael Bell, a Nunnawal-Gamilaroi man, is the Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial. Here he talks about the important contributions of First Nations people during the Second World War.

Michael Bell

With the threat of the Japanese invasion and after the bombing of Darwin, the need to defend the Top End of Australia, particularly around the coast, was great. And radar stations and airstrips and aircraft landing facilities were utilised all across our communities.

But not only that, our men particularly were using their traditional skills to go out and find downed pilots and to show them how to live on the land — that’s the non-indigenous service-people that were up there — show them how to access water, technologies of utilising the bark and the natural resources to build their huts and their protection; cures for tropical illnesses and diseases; what not to eat and what to eat. The traditional knowledge that comes from living up the Top End, were transferred to the radar stations, air bases and the army camps that were utilised for the Second World War.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.