Queensland's Aboriginal Brothers in Arms in AIF

Blackman Brothers - Charles, Alfred and Thomas.

Blackman Brothers - Charles, Alfred and Thomas.

A recent blog post identified two Aboriginal brothers from Freestone who served in WW1 - one for the AIF and one for the New Zealand armed forces. While unusual, there is another example of brothers serving in WW1 for Australia and New Zealand. Philippa Scarlett, author of 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF' researched an article on the Firth brothers from Pilliga, NSW - Ernest Firth and Francis 'Bertie' Firth served in the AIF while Charles Firth enlisted in New Zealand.

Baird Brothers - Charles and Norman.

Baird Brothers - Charles and Norman.

There are quite a number of Aboriginal brothers who served in WW1 - some of these from other States are well-known, e.g. the Lock(e) family from NSW; the Rigney Brothers from Point Macleay Mission in South Australia; the Farmer brothers from Katanning, WA; and the Lovetts of Lake Condah, Victoria. This post will explore some of the known Queensland brothers who volunteered or served in WW1.

Collins Brothers - Edward and Fred.

Collins Brothers - Edward and Fred.

List of known Aboriginal brothers from Queensland in WW1:

  • Charles BAIRD Born at China Camp, via Cooktown.
  • Norman BAIRD  Born at China Camp, via Cooktown.
  • Alfred John BLACKMAN Born at Tiaro, via Maryborough.
  • Charles Tednee BLACKMAN Born at Pine Tree Creek, via Gayndah.
  • Thomas BLACKMAN Born at Gayndah.
  • Thomas CARRISSEY Born at Blackall.
  • Willie CARRISSEY Born at Blackall.
  • Edward COLLINS Born at Mitchell.
  • Fred COLLINS Born at Mitchell.
  • Edmond COUCHY Born at Gayndah.
  • Walter COUCHY Born at Gayndah.
  • Bertie DIXON Born at Springsure.
  • Percy DIXON Born at Springsure.
  • Arthur Walter HARWARD Born on Stradbroke Island.
  • Robert Percy HARWARD Born at Southport.
  • Harry HAWKINS Born at Dilalah Station, via Charleville.
  • Reginald Francis HAWKINS Born in Adavale.
  • James Alfred HUBBARD Born in Thargomindah.
  • Robert HUBBARD Born in Thargomindah.
  • Andrew LAURIE Born at Comet Downs Station, via Springsure.
  • George LAURIE   Born at Comet Downs Station, via Springsure.
  • Douglas Edward LAW Born in Kilkivan.
  • Vincent LAW Born in Gayndah.
  • George LONGBOTTOM Born at Coolangatta.
  • James LONGBOTTOM Born at Coolangatta.
  • Charles George MARTYN Born in Thargomindah.
  • Harry Thomas MARTYN Born in Thargomindah.
  • Arthur PERFECT Born in Rockhampton.
  • Joseph PERFECT Born in Rockhampton.
  • William PERFECT Born in Rockhampton.
  • James SMALE Born at Freestone, via Warwick; enlisted in New Zealand.
  • Walter Edward SMALE Born at Freestone, via Warwick.
  • Albert TRIPCONY Born at Dunwich, Stradbroke Island.
  • Vincent TRIPCONY Born at Dunwich, Stradbroke Island.
  • Arthur WALSH Born at Torella Station, via St Lawrence.
  • Charles WALSH Born at Torella Station, via St Lawrence.
  • Harold WALSH Born at Duaringa.
  • George WATEGO Born in Sydney, NSW; enlisted in Brisbane.
  • Murray WATEGO Born in Sydney, NSW; enlisted in Brisbane.

In addition to the above, there are also sets of brothers from Northern NSW who enlisted in regional centres, e.g. Lismore, Grafton, Kyogle or Murwillumbah, etc. and undertook their training in Brisbane with several living in South-East Queensland after the war.

For a list of other  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers with connections to Queensland communities, please visit the State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in WW1 webpages.

State Library would love to hear from descendants and community members who have memories of these men and would be willing to share these untold stories.

 

Desmond Crump

Indigenous Languages Coordinator, Queensland Memory

State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in WW1 webpages

 

References and Further Reading

Pratt, R. (1993) Biographical register of Queensland Aborigines who served in the Great War, 1914-1918. P 940.403 pra

Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History 2015. Digital Story 29841

Ration Shed Museum (2015) The boys from Barambah: The story of the black diggers of Barambah-Cherbourg of World War 1. JUVQ 940.400899915 NEW

Scarlett, P. (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: The Indigenous response to World War One. 940.40994 SCA

Winegard, T. C. (2012) Indigenous peoples of the British dominions and the first world war. 940.341 2012

 

Online Sources

Indigenous Histories Blog: Philippa Scarlett’s Blog.

National Archives of Australia: Service Records.

State Library of Queensland: WW1 Resources webpage

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At a very young age my sister and I found ourselves in orphanage , a short time later a lovely family forstered both of us along side there own children. Unfortunately our Forster mother choose not to tell us we had been adopted which we believed we were. This was revealed when I went and tried to get my birth certificate and was told they was no record , so began the journey of tracing my family. My sister daughter came across this article concerning my grandfather recently a indigenous soldier sent to Gallipoli, we are so amazed and had no idea, his name is Ernest Alexander Patrick Gallaher and his brother Charles William Gallaher they enlisted in 1916 from Gympie before been sent to England. We are seeking information on our heritage and possibly make contact with relatives