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July 18, 2013
LS Helen Frank
DEFENCE personnel gathered at the
Australian War Memorial on July 10 to
celebrate the military service of indig-
The memorial, held annually during
NAIDOC Week, recognises the contri-
bution of indigenous servicemen and
After a Navy musician opened the
ceremony by playing a piece on the
didgeridoo, a catafalque party from
Australia's Federation Guard marched
CDF General David Hurley said
in his address indigenous members
had always been afforded the same
pay and conditions as their peers, but
more importantly, they were equals and
respected for their skill and treated with
"These are the same virtues we strive
to uphold in the ADF today," GEN
"The modern ADF must reflect its
history and value the vision of those who
saw their indigenous comrades not for
the colour of their skin, but for their
courage, endurance, mateship and sac-
"Today, Australian servicemen and
women are deployed on operations
around the world; in Afghanistan, on
peacekeeping operations throughout the
Middle East and North Africa, and on
maritime and border protection tasks
closer to home.
"Among the ranks are our indigenous
colleagues, standing shoulder-to-shoul-
der with their fellow countrymen as they
have always done."
During the ceremony the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander flags flew at
the War Memorial and Defence estab-
lishments around the world. For the first
time the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander flags were raised at Al Minhad
Air Base in support of the indigenous
service men and women deployed to
GEN Hurley acknowledged the ser-
vice of indigenous servicemen during
PROUD: Top, Op Slipper personnel
wait for FSGT Luke Walker, left, to
serve up NAIDOC Week cake at Al
Minhad Air Base. Inset, Australian,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island
flags fly at the NAIDOC Week
Ceremony at the Australian War
Photos: Joel Graham and LS Helen Frank
Rich and diverse history
FLTLT David Cusworth
"I'M in the next thing to heaven
here," Air Force indigenous elder
Uncle Harry Allie said as he looked
out across Canberra from CAF's
sixth-floor office at Russell.
"It's a good view out there and it's
indeed an honour to be here."
Visiting the national capital for
NAIDOC Week, the veteran of 23
years' service remembered how the
Air Force was when he joined in
"Maybe there were things done
covertly, but I found my mates stood
up for me, especially my first posting
at East Sale," he said.
"Because it was a small boat it
built that mateship, and that's what I
Appointed last year, Uncle Harry
advises Air Force on ways to increase
"The good thing is there's good
people out there and so long as you
keep going forward, it's worth it," he
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown,
Uncle Harry and CAF's indigenous
advisor, newly promoted GPCAPT
Lisa Jackson-Pulver, joined other
ADF members for CDF's NAIDOC
Indigenous Memorial Ceremony at
the Australian War Memorial.
GPCAPT Jackson-Pulver spoke
in acknowledgement of country,
recognising her own diverse
background as a Koori woman with
roots in the Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta
BOLD: CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown chats with Air Force's
indigenous elder Uncle Harry Allie after the Indigenous Memorial
Photo: CPL Guy Young
Students enjoy a look
and Dhunghutti lands, and further
afield among the Cymru and Alba
people of Wales and Scotland.
"For me, to acknowledge
the traditional owners of
country allows me to become
a good guest, who contributes
appropriately and who stays well,"
Country never forgets us, she
said, and we must never forget
"We come from the land, we
will return to the land. When we
acknowledge country, we do so
recognising that this ritual is
said she was proud of being an
indigenous Defence member.
"It's an awesome thing to be
a part of something like the big
family we are," she said.
"NAIDOC Week provides us
the opportunity to remember that
this period we are in is a drop in
the ocean in the past 60,000 years.
It's about taking a breath and
remembering who we are."
LS Helen Frank
AT A time when most students
were taking a break, about 20
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander school students from
the Caboolture and Moreton Bay
region spent their school holi-
days learning at the Queensland
University of Technology (QUT).
The students from Years
9 and 10 took part in a winter
school program hosted by QUT's
During the program the
students visited the RAAF Base
Amberley Aviation Heritage
Centre where, under the escort
of WOFF Gary Thompson, they
saw the recently retired F-111.
Students also had the opportu-
nity to view a C-17 at 36SQN.
With the visit taking place
close to NAIDOC Week, WOFF
Thompson, a descendant of
Bidjara people formerly from
Springsure and now from
Barcaldine in Queensland, took
the chance to speak with the
students about the career oppor-
tunities the military offered.
"It's good to see there are
agencies out there that give
indigenous youth the opportu-
nity to see what military employ-
ment and opportunities we have
for them to explore once they
have the education level for
entry," he said.
"I mentioned tertiary qualifi-
cations to several students and
told them a little about ADFA
and, this created interest, espe-
cially when I said your degree
would be paid for.
"The higher the education
level these students can obtain,
the more certainty of full time
employment they will have.
"I told them they should plan
for the future not the present.
My mother was a guiding factor
in my direction as she promoted
education all the time."
The students enjoyed get-
ting up close and personal with
some of the aircraft and chatting
with officers, airmen and air-
"The visit was awesome,"
Year 10 student Alex said.
"I really enjoyed the RAAF
base and networking with the
people out there. I want to enter
the RAAF as a fitter and turner
or aircraft technician, so the visit
really helped me make a plan
HANDS ON: Hunter, of Bribie Island State High School, sits
in the navigators' seat, and Hayden, of Glasshouse Country
Christian College, takes the controls in the pilot seat at RAAF
WWI and WWII "who fought for a king
and a country that did not recognise
them as citizens".
"We remember all Australians lost in
conflict, particularly those of Aboriginal
or Torres Strait Islander descent," he
"We thank them for their service
and welcome the contribution of those
indigenous Australians who continue
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