Defending Country: Sharing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Service

Defending Country: Sharing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Service held at the Australian National University in December 2014 brought together a large and lively group of Indigenous Veterans, defence personnel and some family members from around Australia to share their defence service stories.

Serving Our Country researchers, community organisation members and representatives from our Partner Organisations also participated. We heard vivid accounts from women who served as nurses, soldiers and in the WRANS and WRAAF and a moving session where Vietnam veterans spoke frankly about their experiences of war and return. The three day conference was structured by thematic panels which included: Commemoration and Remembrance, Citizenship and Activism, Home front and Social Justice issues, to name a few. Workshop sessions at the end of the day encouraged further discussion and reflection on issues raised in the sessions. The National Archives provided a practical how to care for your photographic collections session and case studies of research about service history within a Sydney Aboriginal family.

The conference also included a range of activities, such as a reception at Duntroon House hosted by the Chief of Army, and a special guided tour of the Australian War Memorial where two of delegates laid a wreath at the last post service.

Visit the conference event page for all the details, including the conference program, a video wrap-up, images and more from Defending Country: Sharing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Service.

Native American and Indigenous Studies Association 2016 Annual Meeting
At NAISA 2016, Serving our Country members Mick, Craig, Noah, John, Sam and Allison presented at a Serving Our Country panel on 21 May about the project Yarn Ups– including the experiences of women’s services, Vietnam veterans, commemoration, community responses and how the Yarn Ups developed.

On the Home Front
Chief Investigators Professors Mick Dodson and Joan Beaumont each presented keynote addresses at the On the Home Front symposium at the State Library of Queensland in May 2016.

Both ends of the gun: Aboriginal Australians at war
Researcher Dr Geoff Gray attended the conference Both ends of the gun: Aboriginal Australians at war, which was organised by the Marist Family Peace and Justice Group in Sydney in August 2015. The conference was about recognising the heroism and sacrifice of Aborigines who lost their lives defending their families and land in the Frontier Wars.

Brothers and Sisters in Arms
Chief Investigator Dr Noah Riseman and Dr Catherine Bishop, both of Australian Catholic University, convened the international conference Brothers and Sisters in Arms: Historicising Indigenous Military Service in June 2015. The conference drew speakers and delegates from across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and even Qatar.

Gallipoli 1915: A Century On
Serving Our Country was proud to be associated with the Gallipoli 1915: A Century On Centenary Conference held at ANU in March 2015, where renowned experts from many nations explored the campaign and the many faces of Gallipoli and its enduring memory.

Australian Historical Association Conference
Researchers Maryanne Jebb and Allison Cadzow co-presented their paper “From the Frontier to the Sitting Room: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Histories of War” at the Australian Historical Association Conference held at the University of Queensland in July 2014.

More Than Service: Black Diggers and the Great War
Chief Investigator Professor Mick Dodson and Chief Investigator Professor John Maynard spoke at the forum More Than Service: Black Diggers and the Great War at the State Library of NSW in July 2014 about the contribution of ‘Black Diggers’ to the war effort and how their service changed social and economic relations on the home front.

Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material - read more

Updated:  16 July 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Serving our Country/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team