Aboriginal IssuesNews

Centenary march for Coloured Diggers

REDFERN: In the year that marks the centenary of the end of World War One the Prime Minister was represented for the first time at this year’s Coloured Diggers March by Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Warrant Officer Class One Colin Watego OAM Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery Defence, who gave the Ode. Photo: Ashley Asphodel
Warrant Officer Class One Colin Watego OAM Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery Defence, who gave the Ode. Photo: Ashley Asphodel

For each of the 12 years the march has been held on Anzac Day to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who served in the defence services, the NSW Governor and the local members at all levels of government have attended. For the last couple of years the Coloured Diggers March has also been a truly Anzac occasion in also acknowledging the service of Maori people.

Pastor Ray Minniecon and members of Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group organised a relaxed morning gathering at the Redfern Community Centre. Old comrades had plenty of time to catch up with each other and view an exhibition of photos by Barbara McGrady and James Brierley of past marches and veterans. The Green Hand Band and the Glen Dancers provided entertainment.

His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of NSW. Photo: Ashley Asphodel

His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of NSW. Photo: Ashley Asphodel

From The Block people then marched to the cenotaph in Redfern Park, where wreaths were laid by VIP guests including representatives from both the US and New Zealand consulates and representatives of the community. John Paul Young sang a rendition of “The Coloured Digger” poem written by Sapper Bert Beros, a non-Aboriginal soldier in World War Two, in honour of an Aboriginal soldier, Private West.

Tanya Plibersek addresses the gathering at Redfern Park. Photo: Ashley Asphodel

Tanya Plibersek addresses the gathering at Redfern Park. Photo: Ashley Asphodel

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