Serving Country Forum program

When war was declared in 1914, many Indigenous men were the first to try to enlist although it wasn’t until April 1917 that Indigenous enlistment was permitted. These young men fought valiantly for their country, they stood side by side with their fellow Australians in the hope of bringing equality to their communities. Until recently these stories and this history was virtually unknown.   

Date: 26 September 2014
Time: 9.00am–3.30pm
Venue: SLQ Auditorium 2, level 2, State Library of Queensland

Join in the discussion led by a keynote speaker and an expert panel to bring the untold stories of Indigenous service back to life and highlight the past 100 years. 

8.45am Registration opens
9.00am Welcome

Facilitator: Joshua Creamer, Barrister and Titans 4 Tomorrow Chairman

  • Maroochy Barambah, Song-woman and Law-woman of the Turrbal People
  • Janette Wright, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland

9.30am  Keynote address

  • Dr Jackie Huggins AM, Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Author, Historian and Indigenous Affairs Consultant

             Keynote response

  • Des Crump, Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

10.30am Morning tea — Talking Circle, kuril dhagun, level 1

11.15am Discussion: Uncovering the untold stories of Black Diggers

  • Gary Oakley, Indigenous Liaison Officer, Australian War Memorial
  • David Williams, Researcher and Historian, Black Diggers
  • Des Crump, Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

12.15pm Lunch — Talking Circle, kuril dhagun, level 1
1.15pm  Discussion: Interpreting stories of Indigenous service

  • Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director, Queensland Theatre Company and Director, Black Diggers
  • Dale Kerwin, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee Queensland
  • Tony Albert, Artist and winner of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2014

2.20pm  Discussion: 100 years of service, 100 years of stories

3:20pm Summary and close
3:30pm Forum concludes  

Key speakers

Tony Albert

Artist and winner of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 2014

Tony Albert is a contemporary artist based in Sydney. His significant solo exhibitions include Projecting our Future, Art Gallery of New South Wales; and Pay Attention, City Gallery, Wellington. Internationally, he has exhibited his work at the Singapore Art Museum; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; National Art Museum of China, and the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art. This year Tony was awarded the prestigious Basil Sellers Art Prize; and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. In 2015 he will unveil a major new monument in Sydney’s Hyde Park dedicated to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military servicemen and women.

Maroochy Barambah

Song-woman and Law-woman of the Turrbal People

Maroochy Barambah is a Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne graduate. She is an internationally-renowned opera singer and was the first Australian to perform at the United Nations in New York in honour of the International Year for the World’s Indigenous People in 1993.

Joshua Creamer

Barrister and Titans 4 Tomorrow Chairman

Joshua Creamer, a Wannyi and Kalkadoon man, practises as a Barrister in Brisbane in the areas of Native Title and Mining. He is the Chairman of Titans 4 Tomorrow, a not-for-profit organisation, and part-owner in Regional Economic Solutions. Joshua has received many accolades including Griffith University’s Rubin Hurricane Carter Award for Commitment to Social Justice in 2008; Associate to the late Honourable Justice Dutney in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2009; Griffith University’s Outstanding Arts, Education and Law, Young Alumnus of the Year Award in 2013; and he was President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland from 2010 to 2014.

Des Crump

Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Des Crump’s family and cultural links are from South-West Queensland, which is the top end of the Kamilaroi Nation. Prior to establishing his Dhinawun Consultancy, he worked in a range of roles for 21 years within the Queensland Education Department. His educational consultancy activities include curriculum development, Aboriginal language and cultural studies programs, professional development for school staff, and school-community partnerships. Des currently coordinates and supports activities under State Library’s Indigenous Languages Strategy and also works to support the QANZAC 100: Memories for New Generation program activities, specifically to research and support the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in the First World War.

Wesley Enoch

Artistic Director, Queensland Theatre Company and Director, Black Diggers

Wesley Enoch is currently directing the critically acclaimed theatre production, Black Diggers, which tells the story of Indigenous involvement in the First World War. Wesley is a renowned writer and director for stage and a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man from North Stradbroke Island.

Jackie Huggins AM

Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Author, Historian and Indigenous Affairs Consultant

Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman from Queensland. She was born in Ayr and grew up in Inala. Jackie was on the Board for the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation from 1994 to 2000; has written two books — the biography of her mother, Auntie Rita, and Sistergirl along with numerous other articles. Jackie currently works as an Indigenous Affairs Consultant.

Dale Kerwin

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee Queensland

Dale Kerwin is a proud Goori (Aboriginal) man from the Worimi Nation, New South Wales. He has a Diploma of Primary Teaching; Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management; Masters of Philosophy, thesis: Whose Rights: Aboriginal Rights for Tangible and Intangible Property. Dale also holds a PhD for his study of Aboriginal trading paths, thesis: Aboriginal Dreaming Tracks or Trading Paths: The Common Ways. Dale remains committed to furthering knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage and his academic career has been driven by the need for a proper conversation between the colonisers’ history and the first Australians history.

Uncle Eric Law

Cherbourg Elder, Vietnam Veteran and Cherbourg Mayor

Uncle Eric Law is a proud Wakka Wakka man, who is a Vietnam veteran and son of one of our Boys of Barambah, a First World War soldier, Vincent Law. Uncle Eric’s esteemed career spans 42 years with roles in education as a teacher, principal and now as Chairman, Queensland Catholic Education Group. Other leadership roles held by Uncle Eric include being the only Aboriginal Superintendent of Cherbourg and Mayor of Cherbourg. Fittingly, Uncle Eric Law is the Chairperson for the ANZAC 100 – Boys from Barambah Project.

Sally Lawrence

Boys from Barambah project, Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group

Sally Lawrence has spent the last 15 years working in and with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities in a number of different roles. She is currently on maternity leave from her position as Manager, Indigenous Education with the Department of Education, North Coast Region. Over the past six years, Sally has worked with Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum on a variety of Education projects, including Aunty Honor’s Most Excellent Adventures – Ration Shed Tours; School Excursion Programs; The Ration Shed Museum’s 5 Educational Workbooks; and now a sixth Workbook for the Boys from Barambah – WW1 ANZAC 100 project.

Linda McBride-Yuke

Inaugural black&write! Editor, State Library of Queensland

Linda McBride-Yuke belongs to the Bungalung, Butchulla and Woppaburra nations. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland in Political Science and History and a post-graduate Diploma in Creative Industries. Linda was State Library of Queensland’s Inaugural Editor with the black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing team.

Rory O’Connor

Director, Yugambeh Museum

Rory O’Connor is Director of Yugambeh Museum at Beenleigh, which is the driving force behind many positive initiatives keeping Yugambeh heritage alive in South East Queensland. Rory is a descendant of Jackey-Jackey, of the Logan and Pimpama region (1820–1901) and Jenny Graham (1859–1943), a prominent Aboriginal leader. He was involved in the 1991 unveiling of the Yugambeh War Memorial at Jebbribillum Bora ground, Burleigh Heads, by his community Elders. This memorial is believed to be the first in Australia to honour Aboriginal servicemen and women who served in defence of their country. Rory has authored a number of documents on Black Diggers, including the booklet Yugambeh In Defence of their Country in 1991.

Gary Oakley

Indigenous Liaison Officer, Australian War Memorial

Gary Oakley was born in Katoomba, New South Wales and his people are the Gundungurra. He is the first Indigenous Liaison Officer employed at the Australian War Memorial and the National President of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans and Services Association of Australia.

David Williams

Researcher and historian, Black Diggers

David Williams is the curator of Making It: Australian Theatre Forum 2015, and works as a director, writer, researcher, producer, dramaturg, and performer with theatre companies across Australia. David is a past winner of the Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship for Acting; an Australia Councils Emerging Leaders Development Program graduate; and his theatre works have won Helpmann, Green Room and Drovers Awards. He holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales and an Honours degree in Theatre from the University of Western Sydney (Nepean).

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