Media release: Tuesday, 18 September 2018
A bold and innovative exhibition curated by the National Archives of Australia, Facing Two Fronts: the fight for respect, has opened at the Sir John Monash Centre near Villers-Bretonneux in France.
Through the lens of military service and the stories of those who served, Facing Two Fronts shines a light on Indigenous Australians at war and their fight for social justice when they returned.
'Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people didn't have access to benefits, recognition or other rights afforded to European – Australians,' says National Archives curator Amy Lay. 'With an increased awareness of the extent of discrimination of Indigenous soldiers, they had a platform upon which to advocate for civil rights.'
Facing Two Fronts features extraordinary images and records from the National Archives of Australia's collection along with a series of stirring video portraits, including interviews with family members who remember how their relatives were affected by war and discrimination.
'We are proud to have this digital exhibition as the first visiting program at the Sir John Monash Centre, a museum that commemorates Australian servicemen and women who served on the Western Front during World War I. We greatly value the opportunity to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's experiences in the hub of the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front,' says National Archives Director-General David Fricker.
'With assistance from the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Archives has brought the Facing Two Fronts exhibition to France to contribute to the lasting international legacy of Australia's Centenary of Anzac 2014–2018, by supporting and enabling access to the rich archival history of World War I.'
Facing Two Fronts: the fight for respect is open until 30 November 2018 at the Sir John Monash Centre, France.