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Today marks a special occasion for two reasons in Canterbury-Bankstown. It is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, which ended the First World War, and the unveiling of a memorial in honour of local Indigenous war veterans.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) War Memorial, which is located at Federation Reserve, Campsie, was funded by Council and the Department of War Veteran’s Centenary of ANZAC Local Government Grants.
Mayor Khal Asfour said it was fitting the memorial was unveiled on Remembrance Day.
"We must not forget the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women, so we can live free lives today, including the veterans from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community," Mayor Asfour said.
"The memorial unveiled today has been too long coming but will be cherished forever."
Federal Member for Watson, Tony Burke, echoed those sentiments.
"For more than 100 years, we have used the words ‘we will remember them’ but for too long there were some soldiers who weren’t properly remembered," Mr Burke said.
"So many Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders put their lives on the line or indeed sacrificed their lives in defence of Australia, only to return to a land that was not treating them as full citizens."
For local Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Harry Allie, the memorial means a great deal.
"My brother served over 20 years in the army in the Vietnam War, my uncle served in World War 1 and World War 2, and my aunty served in the Women’s Land Army," said the former Royal Australian Airforce Officer and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group.
"For me, I felt I had a duty to serve my Country and protect it.
"It means a lot to me, my family and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, that those that served are now being recognised for their contribution."
The memorial was designed by local Aboriginal artist, Jason Wing, and is in a shield shape connected to the Indigenous community.
Other projects funded under the Anzac Centenary Grants, included:
12/02/2019 11:59 AM