THE history of indigenous people in Australia is sometimes obscure, as recognition of their contribution and even their existence has often been hard to secure.
One area in which what they have given to the nation has been little known is the armed forces.
Although many indigenous people have served – and sacrificed – for Australia, they have tended to go unrecognised.
But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in every conflict and commitment involving Australian defence forces since Federation, including both world wars.
More than 1000 indigenous people fought in the First World War. This was despite not being considered worth counting in the census and mostly being denied the vote. In the Australian Defence Force though, they found a measure of equality and were simply Diggers like everyone else.
Things improved a little when racial restrictions were lifted in 1949. Last week, the service of First Nations Australians was finally recognised when a plinth was laid in the memorial garden.