WALHALLOW: THE FIRST ABORIGINAL WW1 MEMORIAL?

On 17 August 1935 The Sydney Morning Herald noted the existence of a memorial to men who had served in World War One from Walhallow Aboriginal Station. Walhallow is at Caroona 20 miles west of Quirindi New South Wales. The article was titled THE GATE OF MEMORY. Raised by Coloured Folk and read in part

It is at the gateway to the school that we find the “Gate of Memory,”   This, the first of its kind in Australia, was unveiled early this year. On the tablet inserted in the wall is the following:
This tablet was erected in honour of those men resident on this station, who served abroad with the A.I.F. during the Great War, 1914-1918. This Gate of Memory was built by the aboriginals on the station, and on Anzac Day a special service was held.

Although the reporter stated that the memorial gate was the first of its kind, was it in fact the first memorial to Aboriginal soldiers of the First World War?

While it may be the earliest memorial, it is possible that other missions also had memorials dating from the immediate post war period. Identifying memorials to Aboriginal WW1 soldiers in the years before WW 2 would contribute to the understanding of war remembrance within Aboriginal communities, something denied them by a nation whose monuments in country towns and cities demonstrate the nation’s preoccupation with WW1 remembrance but in many cases omit Aboriginal soldiers.

Perhaps a study of early Aboriginal memorials has already been made. If not, why not – and why not now ?

 

Philippa Scarlett 11 January 2013

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About Indigenous Histories

Author & Publisher of Australian history, art and culture.
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8 Responses to WALHALLOW: THE FIRST ABORIGINAL WW1 MEMORIAL?

  1. Richie says:

    Please email me to make contact I am from walhallow mission.
    Please email me at
    walhallow@hotmail.com
    I would love a chance to have all this info.

    Thanks

  2. Murray Matheson says:

    Hi my name is Murray Duncan Matheson I have just found out that my grandfather was associated with Walhallow Station in some way his was John Duncan Matheson and born in 1885 he was also a indigenous soldier in WW1. Is there any records of this nature anywhere to confirm this.
    Kind regards
    Murray

  3. Hi Murray the service records of your grandfather John and his brother James can be read on the National Archives site. John’s postal address was Walhallow mission, I will send you information about the Aboriginality of their grandmother Catherine Coleman.

  4. Tamara Suey says:

    Hi my Grandmother was moved to this camp from the Terry Hie Hie camp in about 1945. Her name is Doris Madden. She was married to Percy Suey however my Grandparents were separated around this time as well. Any information on the family, previous generations, or any photos would be a blessing for our family. Kind Regards.

  5. Murray
    More research has established that the Catherine Coleman in your family is a different person from the Darug Catherine Coleman. Her Aboriginality is clear. Together we have sorted this out by email but as you have said it would be good to be able to find more information about the Mathesons’ grandmother.

  6. Hi Tamara
    Below is an internet post by Merv Suey from 2009 which will help. I have emailed his email address to you – hope this is useful
    Philippa

    Mervyn replied to Rea’s post at 17:46 on 21 March 2009
    I was born in charleville. My Grandmothers Doris Eileen Suey nee Madden she was born Walhallow Aboriginal Station, Liverpool Plains NSW 10.03.19. Her parents Thomas Henry Madden born Barraba NSW approx 1883 and Ellen Leslie born Breeza NSW approx 1886. Thomas parents: Thomas Madden and Millie Bells Ellen parents Thomas Leslie and Ellen Leslie?(this is on the marraige certificate)

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