Since publication in 2011 of the first edition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One, the names of fourteen more Indigenous volunteers have been added to the referenced list the book contains – seven from South Australia, four from New South Wales, two from Victoria and one from Western Australia, emphasising the ongoing nature of this listing.  It is likely that the number of volunteers of Indigenous heritage is well in excess of 1000. In a number of cases, while names are known there is to date no related information which indicates an individual is Indigenous. Ongoing research could change this and allow these men to be added to those listed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF.


Your comments are welcome to this blog or to   indigenous.histories@netspeed.com.au.

I would appreciate any information which identifies additional men who volunteered for service so that they can be included in a future edition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One. Photographs of Indigenous servicemen (whether or not identified by name) are also welcomed for reproduction with owner’s permission and acknowledgement.

ATSI AIF volunteers cover

Philippa Scarlett 1 January 2013

About Indigenous Histories

Author & Publisher of Australian history, art and culture.
This entry was posted in WW1. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Deborah coleman says:

    I am interested in your comments about the photo that identifies Douglas grant as one of the soldiers in the photo- but also queries that fact.
    My grandmother always spoke about black Douglas the aboriginal boy her father adopted and raised as part of their family and how he went off to war, the first aboriginal to fight for Australia. My grandmother ended up moving to nz, I think there was a photo of Douglas in the family album, the family’s name was Douglas, and it was a joke that he was named after the whiskey ‘black Douglas, I believe my grandmother may have bee born on the boat coming from Scotland to Australia.

    Regards Deborah.coleman@nt.gov.nt or 0417879106

    • Douglas Aboriginal WW1 serviceman.
      It may be possible to find out more about the war service of the Aborginal man adopted into your family. A little more information could well lead to the location of his service record – for instance the names of both your grandparents – in case he named one as next of kin and also the state and/or actual place they lived in Australia. This could indicate the vicinity of his place of enlistment. Any other details about him – and of course his given name – could also help. With this information searches of the NAA series B 2455 which contains the records of the first AIF may locate him. His photograph in your family’s album would be also be a bonus. He is not one of the men I list in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One but with some research he could find a place there as well be generally acknowledged. Keep me posted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s