Service honours our indigenous servicemen and women

ONE member of a strong and proud family has spoken about the sacrifices made by our Indigenous servicemen and women during a ceremony held at ANZAC Square this morning.

Wing Commander Professor Lisa Jackson-Pulver told those attending the Indigenous Veterans' Day Ceremony about her unique family history in the Australian military.

"My great uncle died on the battlefields of Gallipoli, my father was in the RAAF, and my mum was a Legacy child," WGCDR Professor Jackson-Pulver said.

"Indigenous Veterans' Day is really important to highlight the sacrifices and the amount of love Indigenous Australians have for our country.

"To be able to go overseas and fight for our country is the ultimate act of love - and in some circumstances - sacrifice."

WGCDR Professor Jackson-Pulver is a part of an integrated recruitment process aimed at getting Indigenous Australians into the Air Force, while also a Professor of Public Health at UNSW.

"We have multiple programs across the Defence Force to recruit Indigenous Australians," she said.

"During the first half of the twentieth century all non-Europeans were banned from serving in the Australian Armed Forces.

"But thousands of Indigenous Australians fought, with the help of alias names, ethnic backgrounds and changing years of birth."

The Department of Veterans' Affairs estimates approximately one third of the Indigenous soldiers serving overseas were killed in action or died of wounds or disease.

RSL (Queensland Branch) CEO Chris McHugh CSC is proud that the Indigenous Veterans' Day Ceremony is a fixture on Australia's calendar.

"Ceremonies to honour Indigenous Australian Veterans are an important part of National Reconciliation Week," Mr McHugh said.

"It really shows just how far Australia has come in reconciliation, and in embracing our first Australians.

"It gives us the opportunity to recognise the contribution these great people have made in war and peace times, and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice."