GALLIPOLI: ABORIGINAL MEN WHO WERE THERE

David Huggonson has been at the forefront of the movement for recognition of Aboriginal war service. Not only is he the author of numerous articles both journal and press which tell the story of Aboriginal men in the AIF but his efforts to locate photographs of Aboriginal servicemen, involving contacts all over Australia, led to the creation of a unique record of Aboriginal war service. The photographs collected by him and made available to the public in the exhibition Too Dark for the Light Horse toured Eastern Australia between 1986 and 1995 and were later shared with the Australian War Memorial. Now the phrase ‘Too dark for the Light Horse’ taken by Huggonson from a Bulletin cartoon (31 August 1916) is synonymous with Aboriginal service in World War One. The images in the Huggonson Collection of Aboriginal men in the uniform of the AIF send a powerful visual message about the Aboriginal presence in this conflict.

Most recently he has sought to identify men of Aboriginal heritage who fought at Gallipoli. The thirty two men he has identified to date are listed below. They are from all Australian states and not all survived. On Anzac day 2014 the name of another man ( see Comments below) has been added to this list bringing the number  to thirty three.

 Some Men of Aboriginal Descent Who Served at Gallipoli

Compiler David Huggonson 2014 

BINDOFF, Edgar George 1720, Sydney, New South Wales

BOLTON, Arthur John (served as Lee, Arthur John) 1040, Rooty Hill, NSW

BOLTON, Alfred Frederick 682, Windsor, NSW

CAMERON, Alfred 1173, Meningie, South Australia

CROUGH, Kenneth 1125, Warrnambool, Victoria

DICKERSON, James 392, Gin Gin, Western Australia

FARMER, Larry 62, Katanning, Western Australia

FARMER, Lewis 421, Katanning, Western Australia

FIRTH, Francis Walter 1162, Pilliga, New South Wales

HEARPS, Alfred John, [409] 2nd Lieutenant, Forth, Tasmania

HUTCHINS, Charles 307, Busselton, Western Australia

JACKSON, William John 1952, Bunbury, Western Australia

KARPANY, George 3502, East Wellington, South Australia

KELLY, Alfred William 590, Macksville, New South Wales

MARTIN, Richard, 1359, Brisbane, Queensland

MAYNARD, Edward 2294, Flinders Island, Tasmania

MAYNARD, Frank 1153, Flinders Island, Tasmania

MAYNARD, Leo 3992, Flinders Island, Tasmania

MCCALLUM, Arthur Edward 165, Albury, Western Australia

MILLER, John William 1227, Peppermint Bay, Tasmania

MUCKRAY, Hurtle 757, East Wellington, South Australia

NALEY, Charles Gordon 1310, Eucla, Western Australia

OLSEN, Andrew 736, Toowong, Queensland

PATTERSON, Hurtle Austin 34, Townsville

PERFECT, Joseph 200, Rockhampton, Queensland

PRIESTLY, Norman 2786, Gordonbrook Station, New South Wales

ROBINS, Alfred Arthur 1426, Junee, New South Wales

ROWAN, John 1506, Healesville, Victoria

SLOANE, John 783, Forbes, New South Wales

STOW, Albert Edward, 2162, Dungog, New South Wales

TRIPP, Hubert Frank 1428, Victor Harbour, South Australia

WALKER, Arthur Thomas 2466, Wallaroo, South Australia

WALLER, Charles Stephen 1337, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

To date this is the only public list of Aboriginal men who served at Gallipoli of which I am aware. It concretely links a group of Indigenous men with the World War One campaign which features most prominently in Australians’ war remembrance. It is very likely incomplete and the names of more servicemen can be added as they come to light.

Philippa Scarlett 29 March 2014 

My thanks to David Huggonson for permission to reproduce his list. Some of his publications can be found in the Australian War Memorial’s reading list of material related to Indigenous war service.

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7 Responses to GALLIPOLI: ABORIGINAL MEN WHO WERE THERE

  1. Phillipa Scarlett and David Huggonson are to be commended for raising to public awareness the proud tradition of indigenous servicemen.

    Phillipa, may I ask whether you are aware of any IDENTIFIED indigenous WW1 Diggers whose portraits were taken in VIGNACOURT in Picardy, SOMME, France by Antoinette and Louis THUILLIER?
    These photographers were the subject of the Seven Network’s “LOST DIGGERS” series on their SUNDAY NIGHT program.

    I am the Australian representative of the Maison des Australiens Association and we have a group of teens from Vignacourt coming to Australia for 3 weeks in mid-July 2014. They are keen to make contact with any descendants of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Diggers who had their portrait taken in VIGNACOURT. Their VIGNACOURT YOUTH EMBASSY arrives Brisbane QLD 12 July, they will visit Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and wish to include ATSI service as part of a documentary on WW1 Diggers they are making.

    Any advice would be most welcome.

  2. Anne Rutter says:

    I understand that Alfred John Hearps was also in Gallipoli? He was my great uncle! He went on to die in France.

  3. Pingback: MORE ABORIGINAL MEN AT GALLIPOLI | Indigenous Histories

  4. ian e dickerson says:

    Harry James Dickerson( 1561) brother of James George Dickerson( 392 ) also served in the 10TH lighthorse 1st world war

    • Thank you for your comment.
      Harry Dickerson was only 21 when he volunteered for the AIF in August 1915. He sailed with the 12th Reinforcements 10th Australian Light Horse regiment on 22 November and served in the Middle East. He returned to Australia in September 1919.

      Harry is one of five members of the Dickerson family who volunteered for World War One, including James who died of wounds received at Gallipoli . Others are Samuel Charles, Frederick Charles and Herbert Vivian. All but Frederick Charles and Herbert Vivian served overseas. National Archives Records show three of Harry’s sons served in World War Two. I would welcome any further information or corrections to what I have said.

      I mention the Dickersons in my book Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: The Indigenous Response to World War One, as one of the families who contributed more than three volunteers to the war. I also list all the above except Herbert Vivian Dickerson who I have found recently was accepted in to the AIF but discharged when it was found he was under age. The record of the Dickersons is a proud one.
      Philippa

      • ian e dickerson says:

        I am the grandson of Harry (AIF 1561),my father Harold was youngest of 9 of which Allan,HarryJames,John Reginald enlisted in WW2 .Walter William was another brother who enlisted underage but discharged Sam,Fred,and Herb we not sure of connection yet

  5. I found Sam listed in Jan Kabarli James’ book on Western Australian Aboriginal war service, Forever Warriors p. 87. Sam and Herb’s records name Fred as brother and next of kin. Sam like James and Harry is named in the book as the son of Mary Brazley and George Dickerson. The book also has a photo of James – not a very clear one. I’d be glad to know if you agree with this.

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