Over 1000 Indigenous Australians fought in the First World War. They had few rights, low wages, and poor living conditions. Most Indigenous Australians could not vote and none were counted in the census. Once in the AIF, they were treated as equals. They were paid the same as other soldiers and generally accepted without prejudice.
When war broke out in 1914, many Indigenous Australians who tried to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race. By October 1917, when recruits were harder to find, restrictions were eased.
After the First World War Aboriginal ex-servicemen and women found that discrimination remained or had worsened during the war period.
Visit the Interactive Reconciliation Timeline to see more about our shared history.
We are learning how to ask questions and use research processes to meet and understand the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.
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