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Tribute to Indigenous Diggers

Speakers from the NAIDOC Diggers Service l-r: Patrick Edwards, Victor Bartley, Pat Canty, Kaitlyn Kelly, Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman, Katrina Gersbach, Riley Parnaby, Kelly Lienesch, Amy Lienesch, Pastor George Mann, Bruce Delany, John Fetuani and Priscilla Grimes. Photo TWH

A moving ceremony was held by the Bourke RSL last week to honour Aboriginal service men and women who served their country in conflict and peace keeping missions.

Vice President of the Bourke RSL, Kelly Lienesch, said the commemoration had been held for the past 15 years in Bourke and was an important event held during NAIDOC Week to acknowledge Indigenous diggers.

On Thursday, Indigenous Diggers Remembrance Day ensured those from the Bourke Shire were not forgotten.

“There is a stone plaque at the Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service where the ceremony is held and it commemorates the names of the Bourke Shire residents who served from our area,” Mrs Lienesch said.

“That service has been significant over many years and there are about 24 names of people included on it from our area.

“Due to not being recognised as Australian citizens prior to 1967, a lot of Aboriginal people didn’t get recognition or identify as Aboriginal because they wouldn’t have been able to serve.

“The were a lot of challenges facing those diggers, but the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is doing a lot of research now to get families who know they have Aboriginality which is not recorded on the family’s military records to contact them to have those records amended to include their Aboriginality.

“What we know, is that from WW1 through to the war in Afghanistan our Aboriginal men and women served in all Australian armed services. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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