Thomas SLEEWEE #24823

Indigenous Australian, Thomas SLEEWEE, Depot

Very little is known about Tommie Sleewee, but we can piece together a small part of his story from his scanty service record and other primary sources.
* His surname is variously spelt Sleewee or Slewee.

In September 1916, Thomas Slewee was arrested for false pretenses and sentence to a gaol term at Cairns, then he was released 6 weeks later; he is listed as being a half-caste Aboriginal.

Late in 1918 Tommie applied to join the first AIF in Cairns, and along with fellow recruits William Thomas Wright, H. Smith, G.C. Roberts, D.E. Fitzgerald and J.H. Sliman, was farewelled by the Cairns band, as they left for Brisbane.

He named his next of kin as William Ah Duck, with whom he had worked in Mossman, northern Queensland, he didn't reveal the names of any family members.

Tommie arrived at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera where he was to be trained as an infantryman, on 9 November 1918, just days before the armistice in Europe was signed.

Tommie remained at the camp until 31 December 1918 when he was discharged - his services no longer required.

Extract from the Queensland Electoral Roll, 1919

In 1919 Thomas Sleewee is recorded as working at Fairview, Killarney, but after that time, there is little to say what happened to him. It is quite possible that he changed his last name and lived the remainder of his life under a pseudonym.

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The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.


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