Remembering Australia’s Indigenous ANZACs

By Danielle Pope

Remembering Australia’s Indigenous ANZACs
Taking time to remember all those who served

Today is ANZAC day, one of the most solemn national occasions for both Australia and New Zealand.

As both countries pause to remember and commemorate our nations’ servicemen and women, today is also an important time to consider the Indigenous Australians who have also given service to their country.

According to the Australian War Memorial, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in every conflict and commitment involving Australian defence contingents since Federation, including both world wars and the intervals of peace since the Second World War.”

However, it is only in recent years that these Indigenous servicemen and women are properly being recognised for their contributions. Despite being officially banned from taking part in World War I, a significant number of Indigenous soldiers actually enlisted.

Gary Oakley is the Australian War Memorial’s first Indigenous liaison officer. He says that the number of families coming forward to add their relatives to the list of service is increasing, “People ring up and say: ‘Have you got my grandad on it’” he told the BBC.

It was not until 1949 that Australia’s first peoples were legally allowed to join the defence forces.

Paint This Land

Since that time, Australia’s Indigenous peoples have continued to serve the nation with pride. This history has been captured by the new track by Australian musical duo Busby Marou, with the launch of their new single Paint This Land (released today).

The single is accompanied by a music video, directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Redfern Now) and Kate Halpin. As seen below, the video featured Wayne Blair’s father, Bob, who is a Vietnam War veteran and the first Aboriginal Regimental Sergeant Major in Australia. (He is featured alongside actor Tony Barry).

Paint This Land acknowledges all soldiers who fought side by side, with attention given to Indigenous soldiers who were sadly not recognised until a significant time later. Busby Marou says that their aim was to pay homage to the past but also to look forward with a united and respectful vision. “The song acknowledges our powerful Indigenous cultures and celebrates our future,” says Tom Busby. “We feel like we have been a part of creating something very special and we hope this makes the rest of the country proud to be Australian.”

Jeremy Marou agrees, “I feel like we have played an important role not just acknowledging our war veterans, but going a step further and paying special homage to Indigenous men and women who serve our country.”

The video also features the mural artwork of Sydney street artist Hego, who tells Indigenous stories through photography, murals and documentaries

In a MiNDFOOD exclusive, watch the “Paint this Land” video below:

Busby Marou will be touring across Australia this May and June. Find out more from their website here




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