ABORIGINALS AND ISLANDERS
DEFENDING AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

 

Plaque located at Rocky Creek, 
on the Atherton Tablelands

 

The Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy had their rules which excluded persons who were not substantially of European origin or descent from enlisting in the services prior to the start of WW2..

Many Aboriginal soldiers were able to enlist by stating that they were of Indian or Maori descent. With the immediate threat of a possible Japanese invasion, the three militarily services were forced to allow the enlistment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Islanders such as the Tiwi from Melville Island. These enlisted started in about 1941/1942. 

 

Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit
50 tribal Yolgnu men defended East Arnhem Land during WW2

 

Torres Strait Force
750 Torres Strait Islanders & 60 mainland Murri's defended the Torres Strait area during WW2

 

Defence of Bathurst and Melville Island
35 Tiwi from Melville Island defended the islands during WW2

 

Leonard Waters
Aboriginal pilot

 

Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal)
In AWAS during WWII

 

NOTE:- There is a Ted Harris from Alexandra Hills in Brisbane who is researching the military service of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in all wars. (does anyone know Ted's contact details?)

 

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This page first produced 9 March 2002

This page last updated 31 December 2016