Indigenous Australians at War from the Boer War to the Present

24 March 2017 to 16 July 2017

National Archives of Australia
Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

Lieutenant R Saunders and Lieutenant T Derrick standing infront of a tent.

Lieutenant Reg Saunders (left) and Lieutenant Tom Derrick VC, DCM congratulate each other following their graduation from the Office Cadet Training Unit, Seymour, Victoria, 25 November 1944.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy Australian War Memorial.

This award-winning exhibition from the Shrine of Remembrance celebrates the courage, tenacity and resourcefulness of Indigenous Australians in the armed forces, from the Boer War to the present. The Archives is proud to host the first Shrine exhibition ever touring to Canberra.

Aboriginal men and women have combined modern military and uniquely Indigenous skills in the service of their country, from the Boer War to contemporary conflicts and peacekeeping. This exhibition presents stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all over Australia.

The opportunity to serve in Australia's armed forces gave many the experience of liberation from racial stereotypes for the first time. Oral histories reveal that while racism might emerge behind the lines, when serving at the front line, all were alike in their concerns to survive and consider one another.

The history of conflict between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians, combined with the lack of equal rights, throws into perspective the subject of this exhibition. Well before 1967, these stories of our shared history were unfolding.

Please check our Events page for public events and to book a free guided tour of the exhibition.

This Shrine of Remembrance touring exhibition is funded by the federal Department of Veterans' Affairs.

This Shrine of Remembrance touring exhibition is funded by the federal Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017