-From Mayor Deb Nelson

Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Hindmarsh Mayor Debra Nelson last week in Melbourne at a service to recognise Victorian Aboriginal WW1 Service
Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Hindmarsh Mayor Debra Nelson last week in Melbourne at a service to recognise Victorian Aboriginal WW1 Service

Census data from 2011 indicates that, in all four towns in Hindmarsh Shire,  the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population as a percentage, is higher than the Victorian average of 0.7 percent. Dimboola at 3.6 percent and Jeparit 2.6 per cent are significantly higher than the state average and also higher than the Australian average of  2.5 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

 

I therefore thought it important to attend the 2016 Victorian Remembrance Service to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women, which was held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne last week.

The service featured an address by the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP , Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, an indigenous choir and a didgeridoo performance, with the Governor of Victoria the Hon. Linda Dessau laying the first wreath.

After the service, I also attended a presentation about the Victorian Aboriginal Service in WW1 Research Project. The project is focussed on researching Victorian Aboriginals who enlisted for WW1 service, with information fragmented and incomplete; due to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people deemed ineligible to enlist, so those who wished to serve their country had to remain silent about their Aboriginality. One Aboriginal man from Dimboola enlisted in January 1915, and his biographical information has been recorded and will be added to the "Discovering Anzacs " website in the future.

 

It is remarkable that Aboriginal people showed bravery and dedication by volunteering for war service at a time when they were not even recognised as citizens of Australia; which didn't happen until the 1967 Referendum.
- Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Hindmarsh Mayor Debra Nelson last week in Melbourne at a service to recognise Victorian Aboriginal WW1 Service.