Irma Blitner & Annie Lange's interview in Darwin

Irma Blitner and Annie Lange are sisters, their father Gerry Blitner worked for the Air Force on Groote Eylandt during World War 2, where he and other indigenous men built airstrips, disposed of ordinance and undertook coastal air and sea surveillance. The sisters recall their father’s experiences and the conditions he endured while he served including receiving no pay, only rations. Irma and Annie said that they learnt much of this history from their father while travelling around Groote with him when they were children, and that he would show them where things happened during the war and tell them many stories about his experiences. Irma and Annie also talk about their father’s very active role in campaigning for recognition and entitlements for Aboriginal service men including back pay and compensation. They also share other family stories, including how their mother was evacuated down to Mulgoa near Sydney during the war, where she worked making bullets, before returning north to marry Gerry.

This interview took place on 16 August 2016 in Darwin and was conducted by Dr Allison Cadzow with Craig Greene as part of the Australian Research Council-funded research project Serving our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.

The interview recording above is made available to be listened to here by permission of the interviewee(s), Irma Blitner & Anne Lange. The recording may not be copied, reproduced or communicated in whole or in part without the prior permission of the interviewee(s). Requests for permission for use of this material should be made to the Serving our Country research project: our contact details.

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