Anzac Day, 25 April, is an important day for all Australians. It’s when we remember the sacrifice and contribution made defending Australia throughout history, and today.

Indigenous men and women have served alongside other Australians in all wars since before Federation. Despite the injustices Indigenous people were experiencing in Australia, they served side-by-side with non-Indigenous soldiers, forming friendships and relying on each other for survival. Indigenous men and women continue to serve proudly in Australia’s defence force today.

Here are some resources and stories to help you learn more about the contributions Indigenous men and women have made to Australia’s armed forces.

Arthur Thomas Walker photo montage

Boy named Anzac follows South Australian family's tradition.

Read the ABC article >

Over 800* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Soldiers are known to have served in World War I.

Historical Background

Australian War Memorial - List of Aboriginal soldiers on Gallipoli 

A brief history of Indigenous Australians at war - Read more

Anzacs: Remembering our Heroes - SBS series 10 episodes (15 mins each)

Indigenous soldiers thought 'when we got back we'd be treated differently - Read more

'They were back to being black': The land withheld from returning Indigenous soldiers  - Read more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in the Australian Defence Forces since the 1860s - Read more

Connecting Spirits - Ngarrindjeri Soldiers

Over 3,000* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women are known to have enlisted in World War II.

Personal stories

Military service - a tradition in Stan Grant's family. The story of Ivan Grant

Boy named Anzac follows South Australian family's tradition

The story of John Flick who travelled to France to pay his respect to fallen Indigenous soldiers

Meet four Indigenous people in Australia's defence force

Meet the first Indigenous Major in the Australian Army Cadet's Northern Territory Battalion - Read more 

Anzac Day through the eyes of an Indigenous woman in the defence force - Read more

A personal reflection on Anzac Day - Indigenous Services Librarian Melissa Jackson

Coming Home image1

Coming Home - a film honouring Aboriginal Diggers.

Watch at Country Arts SA >

There are up to 7,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans and war widows in the Australian community today.


Thanks to John Lochowiak for image permission of Private Arthur Thomas Walker.

*The true number of Indigenous people who served in WWI and WWII is likely much higher than reported. Accurate numbers are not known as it wasn't a requirement to declare cultural background when enlisting.