ABORIGINAL SERVICE AND WW1: 61 MORE VOLUNTEERS LOCATED

Since the publication in April 2018 of Edition Four of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One, more names of Aboriginal volunteers have come to light, from various sources. These include those with an ongoing interest: Sandra Smith of Dubbo, Des Crump and Marg Powell of the State Library of Queensland – and above all Leura historian Christine Cramer whose consistently detailed research has resulted in recent years in the inclusion of many who would otherwise have been unrecognised; also of  course the diligence of Michael Bell, Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial, aided by his community contacts and position as a natural recipient of information from relatives. On the other hand the past year has witnessed the removal of a small number men from the list. This has usually been because, although not of European origin, their heritage has not been Aboriginal. In some of these instances the supposed Aboriginality of a man stems from marriage into an Aboriginal family, something which can obscure actual identity to descendants. In compiling the Indigenous Histories list Christine Cramer and I have endeavoured to maintain an independent position and have been acutely aware of the need to locate documentary evidence for Aboriginality (some of it an intersecting set of sources) rather than hearsay advice or acceptance based on the misinterpretations alluded to above.

Below are the names of 61 volunteers discovered in the last eighteen months. These, added to those listed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF take total volunteers to date to 1,127 men. Other totals often quoted are in excess of this number and the implication too is that all fought for their country. However  It is important to remember that not all volunteers were accepted into the AIF or if accepted served overseas. Those with N/A or Depot instead of a service number or a service number with a letter prefix, fall into these categories.  These men still deserve recognition because of their willingness to serve and are an integral part of the Indigenous response to World War One. Others currently counted in some publications on and off line, include those eliminated by Indigenous Histories because of identification issues already discussed.  Another relevant factor affecting number counts is that the Indigenous Histories list is one of volunteers for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and excludes the handful of Aboriginal men known to have served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) or in Australia’s navy. These are referred to in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF but not counted in the AIF volunteer list. The Indigenous Histories list also does not include men of South Sea Islander origin who by definition are not indigenous to Australia, although in many cases they have strong Aboriginal family ties. For all these reasons Indigenous Histories’ numbers are in some cases not as high as those often popularly quoted for Aboriginal service.

Despite the fact that they are  small in number in relation to AIF total enlistment, all these men are important because of the context in which they volunteered – that of racism and discrimination reflected in the Defence Act. Enlistment provisions were relaxed in May 1917, when a regulation was introduced to allow the enlistment of men with one white parent. However this did not increase Aboriginal enlistment, which like general enlistment was decreasing. Nor did it alter the racist intent of the Defence Act which remained unchanged. Known Aboriginal volunteers have increased dramatically in the last two decades, more than tripling in number. It is more than likely that additional names to those listed here will be located in the future.

NAMES OF VOLUNTEERS LOCATED SINCE APRIL 2019

Name and Service Number Place of Birth Enlistment Place Link to Record
ALDRIDGE Daniel Edgar 4011 Pialba Qld Maryborough Qld Service Record
ALDRIDGE Harry Edward 540 Maryborough Qld Maryborough Qld Service Record
CAREY Barnett Lucius 2601 Whittlesea Vic Melbourne Vic Service Record
CAREY Bertram Avenue Shier 49 Ferntree Gully Vic Melbourne Vic Service Record
CAREY Lucius George 3287 Carisbrook Vic Melbourne Vic Service Record
CAREY Victor Falkland 5803 Ferntree Gully Vic Melbourne Vic Service Record
CARROLL Alfred Lawrence 2232 Echuca Vic Bendigo Vic Service Record
CARTER Christopher Wilson 6232 Hamilton Vic Hamilton Vic Service Record
CLARKE Ernest V40075 (Depot 40075) Swan Hill NSW Bendigo VIC Service Record
CLARKE John Leslie 2349 Balranald NSW Cobram VIC Service Record
CLARKE Ottie 6713 Moulamein NSW Cootamundra NSW Service Record
COUZENS Nicholas N/A* Purnim VIC N/A Not Digitised
CURLEY Horace Basil Depot Northam WA Fremantle WA Service Record
DARE Thomas Depot Charlotte Waters NT Townsville Qld Service Record
DELANEY Abby (Albert) William Q13251 Auckland NZ [Aramac Qld] Brisbane Qld Service Record
DIAMOND John 3566 Kalgoorlie WA Heliopolis Egypt Service Record
DIXON Jack 5081 Dapto NSW Liverpool NSW Service Record
DIXON William 3734 Coolangatta NSW Casula NSW Service Record
DIXON William N/A* (first enlistment of William Dixon 3734) Coolangatta NSW N/A Not Digitised
DREDGE Charles N/A* Forbes NSW N/A Not Digitised
DREW Alfred William 3037 Goondiwindi (Gundiwindi) Qld Armidale NSW Service Record
DUNN Pompey N/A* Alice Springs NT Adelaide SA Not Digitised
ELLAIS (ELLIS) George 2356 Mungindi NSW Brisbane Qld Service Record
FLACK James William Allen 2332 Singleton NSW West Maitland NSW Service Record
HAYES Leslie James 1768 Robertson NSW Brisbane Qld Service Record
HAYES Walter George Mark Q13780 (N/A) Bowral NSW Brisbane Qld Service Record
HEREWANE Joseph 1013 Kaipoi NZ [Australia] Wangaratta Vic Service Record
HEWITT Oliver S12824 (Depot/12824) Goolwa SA Adelaide SA Service Record
JOHNSON Nicholas S1429 (Depot) Poltalloch SA Adelaide SA Service Record
JONES Arthur Bernard 463 WA [Sydney NSW] West Maitland NSW Service Record
JONES Samuel Joseph 1197 Sydney NSW Liverpool NSW Service Record
JORDAN Esbert Denis Roy 2953 Carcoar NSW West Maitland NSW Service Record
LENHAM Herbert Leslie 1174 Woonona (Wanoona) NSW Newcastle NSW Service Record
LENHAM Thomas Harold 823 Clifton NSW West Maitland NSW Service Record
LINDUPP John N/A* N/A [Vic] N/A [Vic] Not Digitised
LOWE Percy 2045 Busselton WA Blackboy Hill WA Service Record
McCART John Charles N/A* Bendigo Vic North Melbourne Vic Not Digitised
MILLER Joseph 6337 (alias of Donald Alexander Campbell) Melbourne Vic Melbourne Vic Service Record
NYBERG Reginald Cecil 2628 Milton NSW Holsworthy NSW Service Record
PERFECT William Alfred 3429 Rockhampton Qld Maryborough Qld Service Record
PHOENIX Logan John N82639 Newcastle NSW Sydney NSW Service Record
POLLOCK Frank 644 St. George Qld Warwick Qld Service Record
POLLOCK Walter 7291 Noondoo Station, Dirranbandi Qld Warwick Qld Service Record
SIMPSON George N/A* N/A [WA] Greenbushes WA Not Digitised
SINCLAIR Frank Pretoria 91543 (N91543) Robertson NSW Lismore NSW Service Record
SLEEWEE Thomas Q24823 Cairns Qld Cairns Qld Service Record
SMITH Edward James 2225 Qld Dubbo NSW Service Record
SMITH Harold William N/A (Depot) Albany WA Collie WA Service Record
SMITH Joseph 2474 (alias of Henry George Stafford) Gunnedah NSW Liverpool NSW Service Record
STENNER Charles Leslie N/A* N/A [address Goulburn NSW]  N/A Not Digitised
SULLIVAN John 7566 Deniliquin NSW Seymour VIC Service Record
SULLIVAN N/A* (first enlistment of John Sullivan 7566) Deniliquin NSW N/A Not Digitised
TEMPLETON Virgil Charles 5032 (alias Robert Taylor) Ipswich Qld Brisbane Qld Service Record
TIEDEMAN Otto Arthur 3693 West Maitland NSW Holsworthy NSW Service Record
WENBERG John William Clarence N/A* Grafton NSW Grafton NSW Record
WHARTON Ernest Oswald 4400 Walgett NSW Moree NSW Service Record
WHARTON Frederick Stanley 6530 Walgett NSW Charters Towers Qld Service Record
WHARTON Herbert John 2398 Narrabri NSW Moree NSW Service Record
WHATMAN William John 5199 Bowral NSW Liverpool NSW Service Record
WHATMAN William John 212 Moss Vale NSW Armidale NSW Service Record
WILLIAMS William 2672 Auckland NZ [Emmaville NSW] Sydney NSW Service Record
WILLIAMS William Henry N/A* Newcastle NSW N/A Not Digitised
WOOLLEY William James 2272 Echuca Vic Bendigo Vic Service Record

 NOTE
The details in this list are based on National Archives of Australia record descriptions from NAA series B2455 and series MT1486/1.  Volunteers named in MT1486/1 are indicated by an asterisk:  the symbol *.  Descriptions of records in these series are available online at www.naa.gov.au.  All records in series B2455 have been digitised but only a small proportion of those in MT1486/1.  (Where a record has not been digitised, a digital copy can be ordered on the NAA website.)

Service numbers are based on an examination of the entire contents of a service record.  Where a service number named here differs from the number named in an NAA record description, the NAA number is shown in brackets.  Place names are spelled in the conventional manner.  Where this differs from the record description, the latter also appears in brackets – for example Maloga and (Malaga).  In some cases a place of birth or enlistment is not included in the service record, or has been found to be spelled incorrectly or simply to be incorrect.  Where it is known, the correct information is provided in square brackets – for example Auckland NZ [Emmaville NSW].

Philippa Scarlett and Christine Cramer

5 October 2019

 

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Author & Publisher of Australian history, art and culture.
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