Commemorating Indigenous Australia’s longstanding tradition of serving in the military with a 2021 $2 ‘C’ Mintmark Coloured Uncirculated Coin.
From the Boer War and the trenches of the Western Front to Korea and Afghanistan, Indigenous Australians have proudly served in every conflict and commitment involving Australian defence contingents since Federation.
Once on the margins of Australia’s military history, the significance of the story of Indigenous Australian service is now being recognised.
Despite restrictions in the 1903 Defence Act preventing those “not substantially of European origin or descent” from enlisting, thousands of Indigenous Australians volunteered to serve the nation that denied them the rights they were fighting to defend.
Once accepted for service, individuals often experienced a sense of friendship and equality that was absent from civilian life, with access to training, education, travel and equal pay. While friendships endured long after the war, equality did not. Indigenous Anzacs returned home to face.